BIM 360 Ops - First Look

For the past five years, I have been absorbed in the world of ARCHIBUS. So, while I definitely made use of AutoCAD and Revit in conjunction, I sort of lost touch with the direction of some other Autodesk offerings.

Just prior to AU this year, one of my local friends and colleagues, Bill Carney, was discussing a class he was helping to put on. BLD226490 - Lessons Learned While Uploading Data to BIM 360 Ops. I have since logged on to the Autodesk University website and I can see that this year and last year, there are quite a few classes on different topics surrounding the Ops (short for building operations, aka post-construction, post-occupancy).

So, I was reminded that I should take another look at this platform (previously called Autodesk Building Ops) and it's current capabilities. From the Autodesk Website:

Autodesk BIM 360 Ops is a mobile-first asset and maintenance management solution that enables general contractors and building owners to realize the value of BIM in building operations. General contractors transform the handover process by connecting BIM asset data created during building design and construction to building operations. Owners begin operations on day one, with a mobile-first solution and the information they need.

The first CAFM system I was involved with was FMDesktop and a mobile component was not really on our radar at that point. Then, when my employer at the time was looking at migrating from our sunset CMMS, and we were transitioning to Maximo, our primary consideration with mobile was attempting to get wifi coverage in our working spaces (equipment floors, equipment rooms in basements and working spaces on the roofs) and ensuring all spaces and items were bar-coded and could be easily looked up, but, realized how vital it was to save man-hours in transit back to the facilities offices.

In my last role, working for an ARCHIBUS business partner, many of our clients were using the ARCHIBUS mobile apps. This is a trusted application nearly as old as I am, so the transition to mobile access has been very data focused. Each iteration of their mobile application (and Web Central) does improve the user interface and therefore usability, but, I think the Ops offering from Autodesk does have an advantage in instinctive use by starting with the mobile and working from there.

The main function of any CMMS (see this past article on my peeves about all the new acronyms to describe this phase of building lifecycle management - TLAs/FLAs for FIM/IWMS) is to be able to retrieve data and report problems. A mobile app puts that data with you in the field, rather than back at your desk. There are other features, easy prioritization, work order updates and flags sent up for missed items.

Now, you do not NEED CAD files or models to manage a facility. The facility is all about the data. That said, the more data is connected to it's source (.dwg/.rvt), the better, and the graphics of a floor plan can help end users and maintenance workers alike. So, my only criticism of BIM 360 Ops is the BIM in the name might make a lot of potential users ignore the product entirely (~coughs~ guilty), but, let's face it, Autodesk will just rename the offering in a year or two anyway.

But, I am happy for their renewed focus on the post-occupancy data and the full building lifecycle, and the user interface looks very intuitive. Easy adoption is the single most important thing in a successful technology implementation, in my opinion.

I encourage everyone to sign up for an AU Online account and search for the course handouts, which will touch on both highlighted implementations and specific tasks (like importing and exporting data).