2006-11-30

AU2006 Keys to Successful CAFM Implementation

Alright, Brian Haines made a crack at the end of the class, asking if I could have my notes posted before the show tonight, and I don't think he believes that I can, so here I am...

The title of this post is the name of a class/panel discussion I had the honor of attending. There were no handouts, so I took copius notes, as I knew the panel members (and some members of the audience) had VALUABLE information to share... the panelists were:

Denise Cahill from Cahill & Co.
Shaun Bryant from CAD/FM Consultants Ltd
Aaron Bukowitz from Avatech
Matt Davoren from CADD Microsystems
David Jordani from Jordani Consulting Group
and was mediated by Mark Evans from Autodesk BSD

(thanks for humoring my blogging and posing for this photo, panelists!)

Mark introduced the panelists and gave some background for each of them. They are very experienced; ranging from large to small projects.

The audience was a mix of backgrounds (space planners, engineers, in house facilities and software developers/service providers) and experiences (for-profit, institutions/not for profit, educational and government).

The first question was a good one... each panelist was asked to give their top two items, the two things they believe played vital parts in successful implementations. I've got 6 items here instead of 10 because everyone agreed on the same subjects.

1. Buy-in from all players (at least those who could affect things)
2. Breaking down/phasing implementation to manageable bites so you're not overwhelmed
3. Consistency (having trustworthy information)
4. Education and Training
5. Have goals and objectives laid out up front to prevent rework or unneccessary efforts
6. Resources (I believe this meant competent people in-house who could keep things going)

"software, implementation, upkeep" <- key points

I haven't credited the originators of the previous or following answers and I apologize, but, things moved fast enough that would have been difficult to keep up with the conversation, and I had a really small piece of paper on which to take notes.

Some bulletpoints:

First Step is defining your final needs
New technologies are a mental catalyst for employees
You don't know what you don't know (see previous statement)
Manage expectations to avoid unreasonable disappointments
Make the CAFM System central to your processes to avoid forgetting about it or taking it for granted
Add 'Data Management' (upkeep) to someone's job description
The software is only 20% of the success factor, the rest is processes and implementers
Keep up with training
There needs to be someone in-house with the skillset to manage the system and take personal responsibility/ownership once it is set up
Quantify the benefits (roi? continuing justification for participation/compliance?)

CAFM is undergoing a change in awareness these days. People are realizing how important proper management of an operating facility is. Years ago, noone talked about CAD Standards... it wasn't needed, files weren't being shared, consistency/continuity worked differently before.

Some steps to implementation:
Discovery/data gathering/cleanup/a pilot/implementation/training/turnover

How long might discovery take? A couple/few weeks to go onsite and interview/assess resources, hammer down goals/expectations/deliver proposal

Ah, yes... there were two perspectives present at the talk...
the CAFM consultants... referring to the deep and mysterious processes of implementation... and the 'starry-eyed technologist point of view' (Steve Segarra's words, but, I liked them) that sees nothing but good things with the current resources.

The most important thing is to discuss things with your peers... your questions are not going to be unique, don't reinvent the wheel.

This year at AU, there were 11 FM specific courses with a 71% signup increase over last year. More than 500 individuals registered for the various courses (which I'll speak more about when I've got more time to write).

I've heard through the grapevine ~shifty eyes~ that if there are enough good course proposals, that next year there could be a full Facilities Management Track (16 courses). I've got my fingers crossed.

There ya go, Brian, that's what you get for challenging me. ;)

Edit: I have edited this post since I got home, adding the photo the panelists were kind enough to pose for prior to the class session, as well as hyperlinks to assist readers in finding out more about the consultants who shared the preceding information.

I really did enjoy the company of all of the FM people that I met throughout the week. Not only were they experienced and brilliant, but, they were also all really nice. I'm still young, I'm always curious, and I'm sure I ask stupid questions sometimes, but, someone (whether Autodesk employee or fellow FM'ers), was always kind enough to share their thoughts with me. I also note that we just had A LOT of fun throughout the week. We're all excited about what we do and where we see our industry going, and it's fantastic to get a chance to hang out with like-minded individuals.

My public thanks to everyone I met this past week, you made my Autodesk University experience this year SO valuable and personally enjoyable.

2006-11-27

Pre-AU 2006: Grand Canyon/Arrival/Registration

After my last post, we had a lovely breakfast at our hotel, then reentered the park to take in the gorgeous scenery in the full (WARM) daylight. It was awe-inspiring. I took many, many photos. :)

It was fantastic, but, soon it was time to leave. We got into our rental and came back toward 'civilization'. The drive was a little over four hours... but, we did take about an hour to get back past Hoover Dam. Wow did traffic slow to a crawl there!!!

We didn't stop for lunch on the way back, we just wanted to get here, check into our rooms and do AU registration, then hit one of the buffets.

Getting into the right traffic lane at the Venetian garage and/or dropoff was tons of fun (rolling eyes), but, we managed at last. The Dodge Durango we ended up driving had remarkably good turning radius for a vehicle that size (there were four of us on a long drive with a lot of luggage, you need lots of room to be comfortable and that thing wasn't bad at all).

We ran into Donnia in the dropoff zone when unloading our luggage, which was good, because she'd accidentally deleted a message and the number for our Raster Design Queen, Jane Smith (she teaches for the AUGI Training program if you're interested in learning); so I gave her Jane's digits so they could chat.

We checked in to our rooms and left Bill and Karen to return the car.



















We decided to do our Autodesk University registration then as well. The Venetian is HUGE. The conference center is just massive. We finally got to the end and the registration hall. Right up front to the right is a place with comfy chairs to just chill at (hopefully with good wi-fi access because, honestly, what I'm getting in the room here is pretty spotty, I couldn't even stay on for more than two seconds last night. There were four open WiFi networks showing for me, but, nothing would stick. This morning is a bit better, although I keep seeing a message pop up saying I've lost my connection to blogger.com, but, it keeps coming back, thank goodness.), and straight ahead was the Subscription registration. Oh, and I know the 'Red Carpet' thing was sounding impressive... it's more like Reddish area rugs, so the signage was actually more eye-catching.

I was through registration in about two seconds. As part of our registration we received a fleece vest, a shoulder bag (NOT girly-looking at all, very nice actually), and subscription members received a t-shirt and a bracelet. I've still got to read up on what the bracelet is for. You do have to walk around a corner past the non-subscription registration to pick up your bag, and the guy who registered Mike didn't tell him about the bag, so I told him and showed him where it was.

Each industry 'campus' is embroidered on their respective bags. I'm 'Building' and dear hubby doesn't remember choosing a campus, he was like 'oh, I guess I'm "general design"', so, there ya go.

We dropped off the car and the guys at Payless car rental were nice enough to give us a ride back up here to the hotel. It was great and very nice of them. Everyone else gets back on their free shuttle to go to the airport, we assumed we could easily catch a taxi, but, there weren't any places nearby to do so, we would have had to call for one.

The rooms here in the Venetian are pretty posh. They're actually all suites (don't touch the mini-bar, it charges you for wiggling it or something). I'm down in the lower part of the room right now at the table overlooking the still-dark Strip, while Mike is snoring away up in the cushy King-sized bed. There is a desk (fax machine included, nice touch), but, it faces the wall and not the strip, so I opted for the table. Not to mention, my laptop might be a bit crowded for that desk, I don't think I'd have enough room for my mouse.

They don't have in-room coffee machines, you can rent one for $20. blah. Jane actually walked down to a WalGreen's and bought her own for about the same price. Go girl.

All of the staff (Venetian and AU2006 Registration) have been great. Very courteous and helpful.

After we returned from the car rental, we met back up with Bill and Karen and saw some of the other AUGI Board members in a restaurant with Scott MacFarlane and another gentleman whose name escapes me right now, he seemed nice and knew a bit about my work, so I look forward to speaking with him again.

We also ran into Jane as she was leaving registration and she came along with us. Bill registered and got Karen's guest pass in about two minutes time... and we went in search of food. Rather than joining those back in the restaurant, we decided that we just had our heart's set on a buffet. We went for the one at the Bellagio ('Dishes'). It was fantastic. GREAT sushi, crab legs, shrimp, chinese area, italian area, salad bar (gourmet), barbeque, pizza bar and a FANTASTIC dessert area and espresso/cappucino maker past the ice cream area. The local guidebook said $20, but, it was actually $26. I'm not complaining, the food was fantastic, I'm THRILLED with the sushi, the meat was very good quality.

After that, Mike and I just came to bed. It was a long day yesterday, and today will be another long one. Mike starts AUGI stuff at 8am and doesn't finish until nearly 9pm. I don't start till around 2 or 2:30, I've got to check with Bill or my notes or the AU website to see the exact time and location of the Local Chapter Leaders seminar. I'm looking forward to some great conversations with all of the folks running Local Chapters around the world.

I suppose this is it for now, I hope to keep up the blogging throughout the week, we'll see how that goes.

I think the sun is just starting to come up now, the sky off to the east is starting to turn lovely colors, I think I might have some more room on my camera's memory card for another sunrise.

2006-11-26

Pre-AU 2006: Grand Canyon Sunrise


SPECTACULAR (ly cold). We got up to a good lookout right before sunrise and watched everything slowly getting brighter. It was absolutely gorgeous. I've got a couple hundred photos and a dozen short videos over about an hour, I guess. I just picked one out at random, I'll post some more on yahoo or flikr later.

We came back here for breakfast, but, will go see some more now. :)

Pre-AU 2006: The Hoover Dam


Friday morning, Mike and I left the Gateway City and flew to Las Vegas, where we met up with another AUGI Board Member, Bill Adams and his lovely wife, Karen. We rented a car and drove out to Boulder City to stay the night. We were in a cute historical B&B and we sampled some local flavors... and some foreign drinks. We had a great time, and early this morning, after our continental breakfast, we drove out to visit the Hoover Dam.
It... was... awesome.

The scenery is just awe-inspiring. There is a bypass and bridge(s) under construction right now that are very impressive on just a huge scale. Going inside the dam in the elevator and seeing the massive generators, being inside one of the diversion tunnels which now feed water to the generators... the floor softly vibrating under your feet while you hear the drip of water in the tunnel... It's an unbelievable experience and I'm really happy we got a chance to check it out.

After we finished the tour (picture taken between two states/time zones, hehe), we drove on out here to the Grand Canyon. We were a little late for sunset, but, even in fading dusk, the canyon took my breath away. We're waking up early tomorrow to watch the sunrise over the canyon and, despite the fact that it will be FREEZING, I cannot WAIT! It is going to be awesome. My husband has seen it before and is really excited to see it again.

We had dinner here in our hotel tonight. I was delighted to see... following a banjo player and singer, some Navajo performing a few dances. A basket dance, and eagle dance, and a hoop dance. There was a musician/singer and two young men who did the dances. They were really awesome. The singer explained the significance of the objects (their shapes and colors) and about some of their ceremonies and traditions. I took some pictures, as well as some video. The light wasn't that good for the video, but, I'm happy to have been here to check these guys out. It's nice to see some traditions kept alive in a place and time where so many cultures have just sort of melded together.

I'm looking forward to the Grand Canyon tomorrow... BUT, I'm also pretty psyched about AU, and a writing job I've got to start on as soon as I get home. Busy time, but, really exciting.

Can't wait to see everyone at Autodesk University!

2006-11-22

Select Similar Revisited

A quick update... I got an email from a user, Marc from Germany, who has modified the lisp routine I posted from a fellow discussion group user Adam W.

Check out what he's done to it and let me know what you think.
now it identifies the Simliar-Objects not only by Entity-Type and Layernames.
It's a little bit more like the Original SelectSimliar Routine ;-)
Download at:
http://ww3.cad.de/foren/ubb/uploads/marc.scherer/selectSimliar.LSP.txt
or use code below.

Read all about it at:
http://ww3.cad.de/foren/ubb/Forum54/HTML/015389.shtml#000000
(it's German, you have to translate it with Google f.e.)

2006-11-21

Gateway AUG Members Attending AU

Hey there, lucky fellow students! I can't wait to see you at AU. Please find me early in the week to get your GAUG sticker.

Various groups identify themselves with stickers or ribbons on their badges (the 'badge' is a plastic sleeve carrying your schedule and identification which you wear on a lanyard around your neck, and you need to access classes, meals, special events and the exhibit hall), and we've got stickers again this year.


ALSO! Hey, great news on Shaan Hurley's blog...
DON MCMILLAN is going to either open or close for the Blue Man Group on Thursday. If anyone was at AU2004 you know who I'm talking about... the engineer turned standup comic who had people rolling on the floor with tears in their eyes.

So, let's review some tips...

#1 Wear comfortable shoes
#2 Travel light, there's a lot of walking
#3 highlighters are a good idea, bring a couple
#4 Business cards for networking and entering prize drawings
#5 Don't be shy... we're all nerds, and someone has to speak eventually, you'll make tons of friends by the end of the week
#6 LADIES... make friends as quickly as you can... safety in numbers... there are bound to be a few weirdo stalkers there and they will find you, so have a few trusty guys or gals you can run to when your wanna-be-beau gets too friendly (or heck, just pick a girl at random and pretend you know her, she's likely to understand just where you're coming from and help you beat a hasty powder-your-nose retreat
#7 Wear comfortable shoes
#8 If you're used to moister climates, be sure to carry water with you when you're walking around and stay hydrated
#9 Don't forget to fill out the Autodesk Survey near the end of the week... they get feedback, you get some sort of swag, it's a great trade
#10 Even if you're not an AUGI member, attend the AUGI Annual Meeting... wishlist, other good stuff, always some entertainment...
#11 AUGI Beer Bust... they do serve water and soda there, so don't feel excluded if you don't partake. This is after a long day, and everyone needs to unwind and socialize, this is also the first time the exhibit hall is opened, so take the chance to look around and check out the many vendors and the AUGI Booth... playpen, Top DAUG Competition, etc. Shaan Hurley and the beta team have a booth this year as well!!!
#12 Take time to participate in Usability Studies... the Director of Usability at Autodesk Labs and the rest are all working hard to gather opinions. There are usually details given out during registration as to when and where you can get in on some of these sessions
#13 Wear comfortable shoes

I'm sure there's more... but, quite frankly... I'm tired. I've got a LONG day at work tomorrow... my last day before this trip, in fact. :)

There are some great classes, industry receptions, and brilliant minds in this conference and I am so lucky that my company values what I bring back enough to send me back year after year (however, our blogging policy to protect our company's reputation, is such that I can't identify here who it is that I work for... ;-p so, anonymous props to them, but, props to them nonetheless).

2006-11-14

The Numbers are In!

~collapsing into chair~ Alright! The numbers are in! I've just turned over the initial Salary Survey Results to the AUGIWorld Staff! The data is now in their capable hands. I won't go into details, but, I will tell you that you can expect something TOTALLY DIFFERENT from this year's AUGIWorld spread in the January/February 2007 issue. All the same great info as before... and then some.

Remember to check out the website afterwards to download all of the data/information that wouldn't fit in the magazine. (I'm
sure you did this for 2005 right?)

I'm sure many of you have noticed Robert Green's CAD Manager Survey initial results on CADalyst. Since we all love to do our research and confirm our findings, I'm sure you're curious to know if the AUGI Survey reports the same average annual salary for CAD Managers as Robert's Survey...

Well well well, I guess you'll just have read your AUGIWorld magazine, now won't you? ;)

Seriously, all participation is appreciated, members turned out in record numbers to report this year. That's just fantastic. I hope once you see what AUGI has in store for you, you will spread the word and add to it next year.


Now, I won't be back to forum-hopping and blog-posting as normal just yet. I've got some more work to do before the Leadership Seminar, for Local Chapter leaders, at Autodesk University. I'm swamped at the office and trying to put out fires before I leave the Midwest for eight glorious days! I cannot wait for some of my Facilities Management practices and FM Desktop classes at AU, as well as the course on using Revit for FM. Wow, a really great lineup! Some more icing on the cake, Joseph Wurcher informs us that AU handouts will be distributed on DVD AT AU!

2006-11-12

My eyes are crossing

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, I promise!

I've just spent the past twelve days totally immersed in Salary Survey data! Well... except for those four days I was deathly ill... then I just slept and went on a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. ~sniffles~

I do still have a list of great tips that Mike Perry of AUGI and Brian Myers of Seiler Instrument gave at the last Gateway AUG meeting, as well as notes and pictures on the AWESOME CAD Camp that AUGI and Hagerman sponsored at the end of October, and I also wanted ot mention the Advisory Panel meeting I participated in out at Vatterott Technical College last week.

BUT! alas, I have to have the results of the Salary Survey into the AUGIWorld staff before AU so they can be ready for publication, so you, faithful reader, will have to bear with me, please.

Also there is the Thanksgiving Holiday, and my family always comes to my house (don't tell my Mom and Sister, but, they know it's because I'm the best cook! ;) ), so I need to go out and buy a bird and all the trimmings before too much more time passes.

As for Autodesk University... more Facilities Management classes (practice-based, as well as some FMDesktop courses! woohoo! well rounded curriculum for sure)... the LUG Leadership seminar beforehand... Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam trip for some as well...

Did you know that the Gateway Autodesk User's Group of the St. Louis Metro Area will have at least FOURTEEN people in attendance? SLAMSUG (the local Autodesk Mechanical/Mfg user group) will also have at least one person (the president Mark Roberts) in attendance, probably more.
It speaks well for our local industries that many people will be sent and come back with information to share with their companies.
There were, I believe, about 150 people in attendance at the CAD Camp on October 24th at SLU (over half were members of GAUG), and I have heard rumour there will be another next year, and I'm sure the numbers will increase when the attendees return to their offices and tell what a fantastic experience it was.

Well, it's late and I'm babbling... my spreadsheets await!

Hope to see some of you at AU.