Sensible guidance for adopting Autodesk Construction Cloud
New technology adoption presents some unique challenges, especially when it comes to actual implementation. In recent years, especially due to the pandemic, the construction industry has more readily embraced innovation. In many cases, business models have been quietly shifting because of it.
However, any time you change the way someone has been working for years (or even decades), overcoming related obstacles is par for the course. That’s why it’s important to understand common implementation challenges and best practices when deploying new technology or construction software.
During a great industry talk at Autodesk University this year, Ivana Tudja, BIM and Digital Engineering Lead (Senior BIM Manager) at Mace, shared common blindspots and lessons learned for making new technology implementation a success. Ivana is a 40 Under 40 Champion of Construction (2020), and we’ve compiled some of the best tips from her session Implementing Autodesk Construction Cloud Across a £1.8billion Business. You’ll hear about the drive for change within Mace, the journey and processes her team followed to roll out Autodesk Construction Cloud, and how they improved on-site coordination and efficiency.
1. Start with a vision for implementation of construction software
What do you want to achieve by implementing Autodesk Construction Cloud? What pain points are you trying to solve?
Push yourself to explore possibilities outside the status quo. Go beyond the way things have always been done. Ivana explains, “You’re not going to change the industry without thinking out of the box. So try thinking about how you want your teams to operate in the future. And please, don’t limit yourself with what’s happening just right now.” By removing self-prescribed limitations, you’ll find strategic navigation flows much more naturally in the exploratory stages of implementation.
Know that as you push for changes and challenge limitations, you’ll be driving a cultural change.
Next, do research and explore the market as much as possible. As the market is ever-changing, it’s important to understand the latest technology available. Being knowledgeable of progressive industry innovations is a great first step to building a vision. Then when you keep up with the industry, and really stay at the forefront of the future-friendly technology, you’ll give your firm a competitive edge over others.
As you explore potential construction management software options, always test your products and get hands-on experience. “I wouldn’t just rely on what you read about the product because that can be really misleading. Nothing can replace hands-on experience, and that’s why it’s important to have it, even if you’re not someone who is using the product on a day-to-day basis yourself,” shares Ivana.
Know that as you push for changes and challenge limitations, you’ll be driving a cultural change. That’s why Ivana emphasizes the importance of winning people over. You’ll be questioning your team and pushing them to go further. So establish connections, build relationships, and understand their needs so you can support them along the way. Do this with your team on-site as well. That way if they have any issues, they’ll know who to call.
Finally, be a rebel. As Ivana puts it, “How else are you going to change [an] industry that hasn’t changed for so long? Sometimes, you really need to make bold decisions if you want to make a real impact.” Realize you may hear “no” over and over again. However, don’t let those “no’s” serve as permission to give up. Keep going and look for ways to build common ground.
2. Pinpoint top use cases for Autodesk Construction Cloud
Mace decided to implement Autodesk Construction Cloud and Assemble due to internal and external pushes toward modernization. The firm needed to meet the BIM Level 2 mandatory requirements as well as complex project requirements from advanced, highly technical, and educated clients. Ivana and her team wanted to build higher levels of consistency into Mace and be able to compare projects as well as analyze data to make better business decisions. They turned to Autodesk Construction Cloud, specifically BIM 360 Next Generation and Assemble to meet those objectives.
Mace uses BIM 360 for a variety of purposes, including document management, effective design management, and coordination as well as managing quality assurance and quality control on-site. Using this unified platform has improved the quality of data analytics for Mace significantly. Ivana notes, “Data analytics was a big driver behind the implementation of the platform. And we are now able to get easy access to all the information via Insights, Construction IQ, and Power BI integrations.”
“One of our commercial managers [sic] recently told me that this is the best BIM tool he’s ever used. Believe me, commercial managers are normally the hardest ones to convert.” —Ivana Tudja, BIM & Digital Engineering Lead, Mace
The team recently added Assemble to their portfolio for information-sharing and to break down silos. Before Assemble, BIM managers acted as the go-between for users and project and platform. Every time a project needed data, they would have to request that it be exported by the BIM manager.
With Assemble, the project teams now have direct access to data, which has been favorably received. “One of our commercial managers [sic] recently told me that this is the best BIM tool he’s ever used. Believe me, commercial managers are normally the hardest ones to convert,” explains Ivana.
By knowing their top uses for Autodesk Construction Cloud and Assemble, Ivana was able to score early wins and further drive adoption across the firm.
3. Prioritize on-site coordination and efficiency
Mace currently runs over 100 projects on Autodesk Construction Cloud and has over 2,500 users using the platform. Understandably, complexity is always present and the risk for inefficiency is always there. To drive greater design management and coordination, Mace has leaned on BIM 360 to simplify the clash detection process. This process takes place in the cloud and offers automatic grouping of clashes. “For those who are not aware, it’s really important to mention that model coordination now includes tolerances, which was a really long-awaited feature,” emphasizes Ivana. “We’ve established workflows which also help us to manage and analyze project risks through BIM 360 Docs and Power BI.”
As an open platform, BIM 360 can cover every single project activity through integrations. Mace regularly connects the platform to over key tools during projects. As for Assemble, the tool has been beneficial in pre-construction for progress tracking or a tagging and track system. The data fits right into Mace’s objectives to gather more insights from analytics: “The platform enables us to do asset data checks and ensure that we are meeting client requirements at the right stage. We can also provide data from models to our sustainability specialists to support them with achieving our net-zero carbon goals.”
4. Deliver the right training to your users
Once you’ve planned for implementation and identified your top use cases, take time to understand training requirements. You can succeed at every other phase in this journey, but won’t be able to move forward unless your end-users know how to use the software. Ivana recommends creating a company-wide survey to assess and evaluate your staff in terms of their digital skillset. This survey can serve as your starting point for customized training.
Mace’s Digital Training Academy is a critical aspect of bringing every stakeholder into its digital construction journey. To customize the training, offerings vary for leadership, direct end-users, roles, and external consultants. However, training doesn’t end once users complete the academy. As Ivana shares, “If I had to choose one thing that’s a key for success, that would be continuous support. Don’t just assume that you can provide training and leave. There are always questions that will arise when users start using the product. It’s critical that you provide them with support when that happens.”
Charting a path to construction technology adoption
Adopting new technology is about more than leveraging great features. It’s about pushing a cultural change forward and helping others succeed in their roles through innovative, intuitive solutions they want to use. As Ivana has shared, implementing construction software effectively requires a strong vision, proper planning, careful research, empathy with users, and a robust training program.
If you’re considering implementing a new construction software solution at your firm, we’d love to show you exactly how Autodesk Construction Cloud can help with a free demo.