Understanding the importance of single source of truth
Using the internet as a distribution mechanism is a great opportunity, but it also have a backside what manufacturers have to be aware of. A professional approach to a digital marketing and maintenance strategy is a must before manufacturers just place BIM objects on any web page for download!
BIM objects are at the end of the day, just that... files. Downloading any file from a web page or internet based cloud solution ends up in your local hard drive. The actual file in its current state, with all the functions and properties will be part of your local project file. From here on it all becomes more complicated.
If we would imagine a perfect world where these objects always stay as they are and don't evolve with any more features, product changes, modified values or any other change, it wouldn't be such a big problem. But reality is, changes are done all the time.
The digital replica of the real life products needs to be managed and controlled, so the version that is used is the most recent one.
This is why the BIM objects downloaded from the chaotic web, needs to come from one single source. One single source where it can be updated and maintained over time. These objects can still be visible in thousands of places on the web, without disturbing the single source approach. In a modern cloud based digital catalogue or content management solution like the BIMobject® Cloud, this is today a reality. A cloud based digital product in our solution can be linked, embedded or added to any web site and with the help of XML and private cloud solutions complete catalogues can be update and maintained automatically. It means you can add cloud based BIM objects to sites like Houzz, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and embed in other web based catalogues, link it to information brokers and build multiple variations of micro sites for different local market needs... still keeping the one single place from where to publish, maintain and update!
Any change in functionality, file version updates, geometry changes, added properties or modified values in the object will generate a version number increase in the cloud and automatically update every instance on the web where this digital product is available.
Unfortunately too many of the object catalogues and product portals including most manufacturers own web sites offer just a simple BIM file download, that does not resolve this issue. Duplicating the actual files between several web sites will create a massive uncontrolled maintenance monster, that no manufacturer can afford in the long run.
Version controlled BIM content with single source structure is just the beginning.
Next step a manufacturer has to take action upon, is the digital business intelligence and customer support. WHO have actually downloaded your digital products and HOW to ensure that the version they have in their BIM project is up to date and that it can be specified as it is. HOW can you contact the architects and engineers if one of your products are obsolete and no longer can be specified?
Many manufacturers are placing their BIM objects on their own web site without understanding the future implications on managing the product information and updating it accordingly. Will the manufacturers manually update hundreds of web sites where the product is downloadable (though manual download/upload)?
How will you do change and update management, when you as a manufacturer have no clue who actually have downloaded your content?
BIManalytics™ Pro is developed for this purpose and give the Architects and Engineers the customer support they require from a manufacturer in the digital age. The tool can manage thousands of files and handles communication with the BIM professionals in a easy to use and social media like way.
It’s really good BIM is taking off in the Building Product Manufacturing industry, but unfortunately there are so many “experts” that don't have the full overview of consequences it will have when they do it the wrong way and what mess they create in the longer run for themselves and the BIM users.
We have done these mistakes in other companies in the last 25 years and we paid the price back then...
We learned our lessons and today after thousands of man days of development, we have solutions for single source of truth, keeping versions and updates in a cloud based solution.
It will be a costly wake up call for Manufacturers that try publish BIM objects without this in mind.
SPEED UP and join the revolution
CEO and Founder of BIMobject®