AEC Tech News (#311)

15 Mar, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

Employee Buy-In Is Key to a Successful BIM Transition

A productive, positive workforce of new Revit users starts with communication, training, and a dose of reassurance.

By Lynn Allen

Making the move to building information modeling is usually decided by those in a position of authority, yet those most affected by it are typically the users in the trenches. I have seen several situations where the communication to those on the front lines of the change has been less than effective. Instead of an explanation or discussion, it's usually an unsympathetic declaration: "We are moving to BIM and you will like it."

After working with many large firms that have made the move to BIM, I firmly believe that the key to a successful BIM implementation is buy-in from your users. The more employees you get on board with this move, the higher the success rate, plain and simple. And getting those users on board takes more than just a blunt announcement; it requires good communication, proper training, and an understanding of their concerns.

A Whole New World — of Software

Making the move to BIM requires many changes, from workflow adjustments to hardware upgrades to increased collaboration among project stakeholders. But it's the migration to a new software platform that can pose the biggest hurdle in the process. In my experience at Autodesk, this typically involves moving CAD drafters and designers from AutoCAD to Autodesk Revit. These users are likely to feel anxiety about the move and wonder if there will be a place for AutoCAD and their AutoCAD skills in the company. Yes, of course there will, because AutoCAD is usually still part of the BIM process. But most AutoCAD users will need to embrace the BIM software that will be central to the new workflow.

I have heard many complaints from stellar AutoCAD users who are unhappy about being forced to move to a different software product. That said, I'm certain that in a couple of years, most of these same people will have embraced Revit thoroughly and be thrilled that they made the move. Well-versed Revit users rarely (and I do mean rarely) want to return to their AutoCAD roots. Read more »

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Lynn Allen, Autodesk Technical Evangelist, has written Cadalyst's "Circles and Lines" column since 1993 and is the creator of Cadalyst's popular AutoCAD video tips.


Bentley Systems Reports 10% Growth for 2011

Rebounding AEC market and heavy infrastructure investments in China contribute to $523 million total revenue.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Bentley Systems last week hosted its Annual Corporate Update conference call for members of the media. The privately held company introduced the idea last year, in an effort to be more open about its financial standing. Greg Bentley, CEO and brother of the four Bentleys who founded the company in 1991, led attendees through a 2011 financial report and a general look at the infrastructure market.

Based in Exton, Pennsylvania, Bentley Systems describes itself as the world's largest developer of software for infrastructure — that is, "everything that is built to improve our planet," Bentley said. It has a foothold in the AEC, civil engineering, and geospatial technology markets. In terms of market share, Bentley said, the company is "a very strong No. 2 behind Autodesk," which has similar product offerings in these markets in addition to the manufacturing, media and entertainment, and now consumer technology markets.

In 2011, the company had $523 million in revenue, Bentley reported, or 10% growth over 2010. Its software is in use in 50 countries, with the hottest geographic region being Asia (accounting for 19% of total revenue), and China in particular, where infrastructure spending is heavy. Revenue from China had been doubling every two years but is tripling every two years as of 2011, Bentley said, and that country is poised to become Bentley Systems' largest market.

With all its business in the infrastructure market, Bentley Systems was hard-hit by the economic recession. However, Bentley said, "Our resilient subscription revenue has helped us recover from the economic downturn faster than our competitors. ... For Bentley Systems overall, the economic recovery will continue." Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Customer Success with Enterprise PDM
March 20, 2012
9 a.m. CT
This event is one a monthly series; in each webinar, Fisher/Unitech will feature a successful EPDM (enterprise product data management) customer implementation. Read more »

SmartGeometry 2012
March 23–24, 2012
Troy, New York
This conference from Bentley will focus on computational and parametric design tools, technologies, and methodologies. Read more »

Fiatech 2012
April 2–4, 2012
Miami, Florida
This year, the theme for Fiatech's Annual Technology Conference and Showcase is Fiatech Heat: Innovation that Builds the World. Read more »

San Antonio BIMForum
April 25–26, 2012
San Antonio, Texas
The spring BIMForum will focus on how virtual design and construction deliverables are used to solve specific problems, save a project time or money, enable better decisions, and enhance quality. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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Cast Your Vote in Cadalyst's New Poll
Do you wonder how much time your CAD peers spend working in 3D? Simply scroll to the bottom of the Cadalyst home page and vote in the latest Cadalyst poll to find out! You can even bookmark the results page and come back later, to see how the results change as more voters weigh in.

CADspeed Blog Post:
Mobile CAD: Discover Three Cool New Features of AutoCAD WS v1.4

Every time we put out a new version of the AutoCAD WS application, the first meeting we have after the release is about what we are going to add to the next release. Read more »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Prioritize Your CAD Crises
Which workplace crises are giving you the most grief? Here's an easy way to focus your problem-solving efforts. Read more »

A Mobile CAD Reality Check, Part 2
Phones and tablets won't take the place of your workstation, but they can make field operations more efficient. Read more »

Circles and Lines Tutorial: 2D Views Now Linked to 3D Models
New AutoCAD 2012 tools make documentation easy. Read more »

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