Reseller helps leading structural design firm develop best practice.
Price & Myers is a forward-looking and innovative company. However, sometimes even successful firms can unintentionally overlook license housekeeping. Employees get tied up with projects and are too busy to organise upgrades and implementations.
That was the situation that Koal Bhogal discovered when he joined consulting engineering company Price & Myers as senior CAD technician three years ago. The companyÝs position regarding an upgrade strategy was, in his words: ýin need of a total rethink¯.
Working with Autodesk Premier Solutions Provider CADline, Mr Bhogal has ÙmodernisedÝ Price & MyersÝ subscriptions and software licences policy. Now, fully under control its CAD technicians have access to the latest versions on release ± a particularly important element of the companyÝs pioneering work with Revit Structure.
ýFrom my experience, if companies donÝt keep up with the latest software versions, when they do need to upgrade, thereÝs a huge learning curve for everyone ± the whole organisation suffers and thereÝs a noticeable drop in production,¯ says Mr Bhogal.
ýNow thereÝs no worry of having to find a huge lump sum in, say, three years time to bring the firm up-to-date,¯ he says.
Hands-on support needed
Price & Myers is responsible for the structural design of approximately ú500 million of construction annually. Its work covers an unusually wide range, both in size and type and projects vary from minor alterations and extensions to major new buildings and refurbishment projects.
ItÝs the type of company where an informal, ideas-focused atmosphere encourages innovation. As a result, its multi-disciplinary team is able to make a positive contribution to projects at an early stage when engineering input can often help to achieve an elegant and cost-effective solution.
With so much going on, it is no wonder that something had to give. Bhogal discovered when he joined the company that he was responsible for solving that ÙsomethingÝ ± the licence question.
ýWhen I began here we had a complete range of different CAD software ± and particularly Autodesk CAD software. We had AutoCAD LT and different versions of AutoCAD from release 14 onwards. We had 20 seats of AutoCAD 2005 ± but even though we had copies of 2006, they hadnÝt been installed. It needed someone to take a step back and evaluate what we had and then make best use of the existing licenses.¯
Mr Bhogal had worked with CADline in his previous job. ýI like their hands-on attitude. They offer a personal service rather than a call centre ± and a dedicated account manager. TheyÝre far more than a Ùboxes off the shelfÝ-type reseller and can always resolve a problem. ýFirst, they did a lot of research for us, finding out which licences could be upgraded or made live again.
ýThen I realised I would need to sell the idea of subscriptions to the partners and set about putting together spreadsheets and developing a long-term strategy. With CADlineÝs input, I was able to show that subscriptions made budgeting so much easier. If all our software was on subscription we would be on top of it all and not have to worry about being hit by a huge bill when upgrades became essential.¯
Flexibility in upgrade choice was a key driver. ýJust because a new version of software is available, you donÝt necessarily have to install it immediately ± you can test it and decide when to implement. So, you still have freedom of choice,¯ Mr Bhogal says.
ýHowever, itÝs great that every time thereÝs a new release we can start taking advantage of it straight away, if we need to. Consequently, I donÝt have to present the case for investment which, however valid it may be, always takes time and energy.
ýObviously at certain times there are other budget priorities and you could get into a situation where mentioning a CAD upgrade became a taboo subject, however badly it was needed. However, it is no longer a case of balancing needs.¯
With CADlineÝs help, Mr Bhogal is playing a key role alongside Revit technician Jack Walshe in Price & MyersÝ roll-out of Autodesk Revit Structure. ýItÝs gradually being distributed across the company and the feedback is good, with engineers and technicians reporting that it solves many of the problems that dog other solutions.¯
Price and Myers is now at the forefront of Revit implementation in the UK, with close to 30 Revit seats across the organisation.
Recognising that the implementation of the software and the gradual move towards building information modelling (BIM) needs to be carefully managed, Mr Bhogal has created a CAD Development Group with representatives from each department.
This team is responsible for maintaining standards and deciding when new versions of Revit and AutoCAD are implemented. ýSwitching to Revit has had its teething problems, but weÝre ironing out the Ùtransition problemsÝ as we go along and are now seeing the benefits.¯
As a result, Mr Bhogal believes he is able to keep the firmÝs CAD cost of ownership at a very favourable level. ýOn average, each CAD station is now costing around ú38 per person per month, which, when you consider what you get for that, is very reasonable.
ýWeÝre gradually developing best practices ± and the good thing is, itÝs actually motivating staff. They are really glad to be learning something new and keeping up their skills,¯ he concludes.