Conduct a CAD Management Audit8 May, 2013 By: Robert Green
Are you like an overworked logger, too busy felling trees to sharpen your ax? Take the time to stop and think critically about what you're doing — and how you're doing it.
We've all been there — working so feverishly that we don't have time to fix the problems and bad processes that we know are undermining our productivity. Talk about a vicious circle! In this issue of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'd like to make a case for ending this cycle of inefficiency.
Take a breather from the chaos to perform a CAD management audit. I promise that your investment in this effort will pay off many times over in increased productivity and effectiveness. The more carefully you think about what you do, examine the systems you use, and evaluate the methodologies you apply to perform CAD management, the better your performance will be. In fact, I think you should self-audit your CAD management plan at least a couple of times each year to make sure you stay on the right track.
What to Audit?
First of all, I'm not talking about a painful tax audit; I'm talking about auditing your own CAD management processes. Think of an audit as a chance to understand the various factors affecting how you operate, so you can get better at what you do.
So what should you audit? In a word: Everything! But to get the conversation rolling, let's agree on at least the following major areas of CAD management responsibility:
- Software use and licensing
Seems intimidating when you think about everything you have to do, doesn't it? All the more reason to examine what you're doing, think about how you're tackling the job, and learn how to become more efficient at it. The audit you'll perform will enable you to accomplish these goals.
Now I'll break the audit down into pieces, provide diagnostic questions for each, and give you some action item suggestions.
Software use and licensing. Do you know how many licenses you have, how fully they are utilized, and how your needs might change next year? If you have too many licenses of one product, can you afford to let their subscriptions lapse, or should you switch to another product? Could network or remote access licensing allow you to own fewer copies of expensive analytical or rendering software? Are there cloud options for software rental that could save your company money in the long run?
Your responses to these questions will help you to truly understand your software costs for at least the next year. Because CAD software has a wide variety of licensing options, it is likely that your purchasing or IT department hasn't done the research needed to fully understand all the variables.
- If your audit finds savings, write up your findings and make your management aware — they'll love you for being thrifty!
- If your audit foresees changes in software use that will cost the company more in the future, make sure management knows so it won't be a surprise next year.
Standards. Are your standards up to date? Have you been putting off adopting BIM standards? Do your users know what your standards are? Do senior managers support your standards?
Your responses to these questions will indicate how well developed, communicated, and supported your standards program is. If you answered Yes to all these questions, you are in great shape. But if you answered No, you are in deep trouble! A mixture of Yes and No responses indicates some issues that need to be resolved.
- If your management doesn't support you in your standards quest, make sure to approach them about doing so. Otherwise, you won't have all the authority required to enforce standards.