Posts Tagged Bids

Exchange BIM : Bid and Win : Autodesk giving it away : Adword model coming to BIM?

Okay so this might be premature but read today under Autodesk Broadens its Reach in the Wall Street Journal about how Autodesk is creating and marketing consumer products, where it currently holds no cache.  Mention Autodesk to people outside of the AEC industry and they look at you much like a dog who’s heard a high pitch whistle.  Autodesk created Sketchbook for the ipad and iphone.  They also released Homestyler, which is free.  The most expensive version of Sketchbook goes for $7.99.   Now if you are not selling stuff to make money, how else can you do it?  Let’s look at the popular models –  you are a lead generation tool, allow advertising or create a marketplace and you take the vig on the transaction.  If I am one, if not the biggest purveyor of 2D CAD and 3D Modeling Software I have an opportunity, an opportunity to hook into software that was not available when it was just 2D lines, but 3D objects, let’s think about it.  One of the D’s, ‘Cost’, how is that driven through the system, well, mostly by quantity take offs, and creating a liquid marketplace that allows the quantity take offs, or actual fabrication to be bid on creates transparency/liquidity.  Allowing for brand name components to be swapped into a building model, making it more of a building information model, allows it to be spec’d during the design phase, what’s that worth as a vendor?  Even Microsoft is getting in on this with their release of Microsoft Hohm, energy data based on location, tax, records, etc.  When looking at specific retrofits there is a frame with ‘local professionals.’  Cannot be long until they are offering branded insulation, (owens corning) , and Energy Star appliances.

The building model becomes the grocery store and there are slotting fees, fees to put your product on the end cap, fees to put it on a particular shelf, etc.  So fees, hmmn, to have a certain level of prominence in the marketplace, sound familiar? Google’s Adwords.  Understand that the supermarkets were there first and are most excellent at retail, and the companies involved in selling through supermarkets, are also most excellent in, well, marketing, think P&G.  Homestyler, allows you to choose between “20,000+ generic and branded items”, cue branded items, and right from the web site:

Autodesk Homestyler automatically compiles a list of the products in your new home design, including information such as brand name, model, color, and more. It tallies approximate quantities for counter-tops, flooring, baseboards, and paint, so you’ll know exactly the amount of materials to buy. Simply print your list and bring it with you when you head out to shop.

Dupont (counter-tops), Sherwin Williams (Paint), Dacor (Appliances) , FLOR (Carpeting) are already prominently featured.

Now this seems awfully like the tip of the spear, before Autodesk partners with a major shopping site, Sears? / Amazon? for fulfillment and to get appliances etc.  into your house.  And if you were Sears what would you pay to be the partner or get slotted to be top dog in this universe.  Autodesk has stated that they want to get over 50 million customers in 2 years, if you are essentially giving away the software, what’s the point?  Well, guess what, besides having a kid, the #1 reason for you to go on a spending binge is buying a new house, or conversely redesigning your existing one and for the marketing savvy folks being first in is a big deal as they can shape and form your opinions.  Start thinking of the Autodesk Seek Website as the market or Google’s 3D Warehouse.

While we can argue the big brotherly approach of all this, in truth, if you have gone to the trouble of designing your own kitchen, this integration of design/shop/fulfillment can be a blessing instead of plugging in a generic cook top, wondering if the dimensions are right, wondering what the warranty info is, you could have right there, good right?  Scary that the whole world knows you own 6 Burner Jenn Air Cook Top?  Well you can decide for yourself.  But this type of integration is coming and with it, standard marketing practices that have been around for a long time, tracking purchases? who do you think was there first with loyalty cards, most likely your local grocery store, and don’t think they did not turn around and sell that information.  Just know it exists and enjoy the abundance of free software that’s around that can make your life easier, also know that someone somewhere is paying for it.


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Squirelly Times Call for BIM: #BIM

Yeah I called them squirelly.   I have  to say Q4 2009 has been better than the rest of them bit I am finding, and getting anecdotes from others in the industry that it is the squirelliest of times, and I’ll try and stop using that.  What do I mean?  I’ve put together more proposals this quarter but am finding that clients are cost conscious to the extreme, and no matter the relationships and reputation you have built up it’s more what have you done for me lately.   Now while its tough environment when someone is out there ready to cut you off at the knees on a bid just to keep busy on an unfortunate race to the bottom what can we do to keep business, get new business and offer our clients more of an incentive to stay with us and or pick up new ones.  In most cases, a BIM enabled firm will be able to offer more services and accurate bids.  A recent article in Construction Week outlined Better Bidding Through Bim. Better bids, better scheduling, projects on time and on budget, proven ROI all make a more persuasive argument.

While economists may argue that this resetting of the market is an efficient allocation of resources and our new reality, it’s time then to efficiently allocate our own.



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