Autodesk has recently acquired a product called Constructware, that is a collaboration tool which has been used in Facilities Management (and other fields, I know, but, anything FM-geared from Autodesk, like their recent acquisition of FM Desktop just tickles me pink).
I can't help feeling a bit like the red-headed step child of the AEC industry. Facility managers seem to be viewed as sort of a necessary evil. We're difficult to work with, either too demanding, or too passive. Our contractors can use vertical products to streamline their work, but, in order to work with everyone the facility manager has to stick pretty much with autocad.
I've received drawings done not only by vanilla autocad, but, also by microstation, land desktop, adt, revit, visio, photoshop, and, silliest of all... MS Excel. I currently use Autodesk MAP for it's cleanup tools (and other forgotten reasons that probably had to do with a long-term goal of implementing a mapguide site) that make my life just that little bit easier.
But, it's always a struggle to get usable data from contractors... and then get faced with complaints about no CAD documents during the next renovation.
But, every step that Autodesk takes that makes my job easier is comforting. The teasers at AU2004, the wider assortment of *real* FM classes at AU2005, and the FM:Desktop and Constructware deals.
Take a look at this post in the FM forum on Autodesk Discussion Groups for commentary from some deskers on where Desktop will fit in at Autodesk.
I also see the advent of products such as ABS and Revit Systems as a step in the right direction (discussions: Building Systems for FM, Anyone have clients interested in Revit Systems for FM, Revit for Facilities Management), but, assume it will be a few years down the road. I'm not an asset manager, but, a Facility Manager, and products that design more intelligent building models could only benefit me.
It promises to be an interested journey and I just wonder what Autodesk will come up with next
Oh, and for those who didn't know, Roopinder Tara of Tenlinks fame (a fantastic resource for the busy CADdie trying to keep up to date) has started a weblog, CAD Insider! I dig this post where we learn the varied things that CAD could stand for...