Why We Made Autodesk BIM 360 Ops

April 6, 2016 ACS Uberflip User

In the beginning, there were two of us. After years working together on complex desktop software, as part of large teams, we were looking for a new challenge. We also wanted to create a sandbox in which we could test assertions about enterprise software with which we’d been toying for years.

Enterprise software should, like all great tools, make you smile. Unfortunately, most of the enterprise tools we use don’t make us smile - they make us sad.

Great tools help you to achieve your goals by augmenting your strengths. Do the enterprise software tools you use do this? Do endless arrays of dropdown list overflowing with opaque options augment your strengths? The ones we use don’t make us feel strong — they irritate us and make us feel weak.

Great tools help you to achieve your goals by augmenting your strengths.

Important work matters, which means it makes a large difference in the lives of a large number of people. We’re part of a company that helps you, imagine, design, and create a better world. That’s a high bar. We had to find something with a potentially huge impact to even move the needle.

So, we wanted to make something that matters, that doesn’t irritate people, and makes them happy. Oh, and we mostly know a whole lot about the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.

Then early one morning Gail walks by our desk. Gail is part of our facilities team. She gets to work before most of us get up, never mind show up, and walks from room to room throughout our building with a clipboard in hand. Looking for something to say, we ask, “What are you doing?” and then “Why?” and “Tell us more?”. It turns out that in our high-tech company that is helping people to imagine, design, and create a better world, Gail fills out paper forms to identify issues that need to be addressed, only to type the same in a spreadsheet, to then dispatch the same by email. Wow. Does everyone do this? It turns out a lot of people do.

Between 50% and 70% of owners don’t have a software solution for building operations. Whether it is 50% or 70% depends on whether or not we consider a spreadsheet to be a software solution for building operations. Let’s be generous and say it is; that's still half of all owners who are opting not to use software to assist in the operations of their buildings[1]

Why do so few owners take advantage of the software solutions available today? Fire up your favorite search engine and enter Computerized Maintenance Management System or CMMS. There is certainly no shortage of options. The market is well supplied. However, most that exist share three significant shortcomings.

  • They are expensive to purchase
  • They are expensive and time consuming to deploy
  • They serve the wrong people

Most CMMS solutions are modular. Buyers pay for each module they should need. They often use less. Few are inexpensive. Then users spend months or years setting up the system. 18-24 months is not uncommon. This time is spent entering and validating data; data that owners may have but can rarely access. Then the systems are deployed, in browsers on a few networked terminals in a workroom, far from the point of work where access to the information entered and validated would be most useful. Meanwhile, technicians in the field who are competent picture takers, text messagers, and Facebook posters, use their smart phones to talk to each other. Yes, this is a simplification of a complex problem but it does highlight an opportunity.

What if there was a fairly priced, mobile-first,
asset and maintenance management solution?

What if there was a fairly priced, mobile-first, asset and maintenance management solution that put relevant information in the hands of those for whom there is the greatest benefit? What if it didn’t take months or years to setup. What if using it made people feel strong and smile? This is the challenge that the BIM 360 Ops team accepted and against which we are executing. We’ll post more here about our journey and that of our customers and partners over time.

BIM 360 Ops. Happy people, less FM friction.



[1] Approximately half of the OpEx respondents reported using a third-party facilities management product. Typically, this was an ad hoc system based on Microsoft Office or Google products, though some respondents reported using Commercial systems. Roughly one in five respondents used a manual or paper-driven process and approximately 10% had no formal process or system at all. (Ampirix Owner Segment Research, Sept. 2014)


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