Saturday, March 8, 2014

Data Management

Data management is something we struggle with constantly, and the more we collaborate across the globe and beyond the walls that contain a single office, the more complex it becomes.

I don’t typically post advertisements here, so I’ll keep it short and add my commentary (what, you thought I wouldn’t have anything else to say?!). Imaginit have made a free video available about this topic, demonstrating how Autodesk Vault could address multiple workflows. The first 15.5 minutes of this video are dedicated to an AutoCad workflow, whereas the rest address a hybrid workflow which also includes Revit Server and their related product, Clarity.


To be honest, Vault has never really struck a chord with me because it was built primarily to manage a multitude of files that need to be accessed by one user at a time. This issue goes completely out the window with Revit projects, where the only useable component becomes linked file control. We can already do this in a multitude of ways (ex: Newforma InfoExchange transfers) and Vault just seems like too much complication for in-house collaboration. The only thing that could have some promise is family management and the ability to reference “published” files (as opposed to “live” files) between office locations. For example HOK offices collaborate a lot amongst each other and we utilize a series of techniques, depending on team setup. A simple method entails server to server nightly file copies to be used for linking purposes. This simply automates the transfer of linked files between offices, whereas with external consultants, teams initiate file transfers on a weekly basis via InfoExchange. Vault appears to have some potential to achieve this as well, but just seems like too much technology to manage. Why complicate when you have something that is quite simple and works already?

In the last few minutes of the video, we see a glimpse of Clarity. I think the software has a lot of potential and nice features, such as the Room Data Sheet reporting functionality which is all interlinked with other reports, but unfortunately I believe Imaginit has slammed the doors shut for most companies thanks to the (excessive) price point. I think the enhanced security features that can be added to a Revit Server infrastructure are quite powerful, such as limiting external team access to certain projects. However it is much, MUCH cheaper to simply install a couple of additional virtual servers to host a dedicated Revit Server infrastructure to handle confidential projects.

Imaginit also have a nice e-learning portal called ProductivityNOW. They make some resources available free of charge such as white papers, seminars, tips & tricks, etc., while others are restricted to paid members. So go ahead and check it out, you might find something useful there too!



Beau Turner said...

Hi David, thanks for the post. Let me add one item to give the latest (at the time of this response) information. Clarity comes in three versions; Clarity, Clarity Connect and Clarity Connect LT to suit the needs of different firms. Clarity (the base product, formerly Clarity Workshare) provides a very low and fiscally sensitive price point while solving immediate pain points and a quick ROI within a firm (Reports, Data Sheets, Project Map, Automated generation of deliverables; PDF, DWF, DWG, IFC, NWC and many more. Additional pricing options were also added in the 2014 release for Annual and Term to help keep the price low and in-line with what firms need to get started quickly and easily without breaking the bank (one customer got an ROI within 6 weeks just from automated tasks alone).

For working with outside firms and multiple locations, Clarity Connect and Clarity Connect LT provide all the same features in Clarity (formerly Clarity Workshare) and includes secure multi-office and multi-firm project collaboration and can bring other locations online in as little as 10 minutes to work with the rest of the project team.

A lot has changed over the last three years of development of Clarity, making it a mature and robust product for daily Revit users looking for time saving automation on up to solving large firm needs and access to information that used to take months to generate for a project now as simple as running a task and its done. :) If you need more details and a discussion on how this may/not be a solution for your project or firm needs please let me know.


Disclosure: I am the Clarity Product Manager. :) Feedback and suggestions on the products we make is always appreciated.

Dave Baldacchino said...

Thanks Beau! I will probably get in touch at some point to discuss a specific need related to segregating project access on the same Revit Server.

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