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    I've never used Newforma, but it looks kind of interesting with the new Revit plug-in.

    Some links for those who are interested...

    My office just posted on our intranet blog that we are going to useing this for Revit.
    -Alex Cunningham


      We haven't started with the Revit integration, but we have been using it for 6 months now for project email archiving, FTP replacement, etc. There is also a nifty tool that will create an animated GIF given two images. PDFs of a sheet with revisions before and after, and an animation between the two, is a compelling way to get a contractor to admit "Yeah, there really isn't much change on that sheet."
      Looking forward to playing with some of the Revity stuff.

      Pragmatic Praxis


        Our office has worked with two other larger firms that use Newforma. Its been really great for limiting the use of paper and keeping track of submittals, RFIs, ASIs etc. Haven't seen that new plug-in in use yet (one of the firms we worked with was using ArchiCAD).
        Chad Koscinski | Architect


          We've been using Newforma for a couple years now and it is a great program. The ability to tie information of differing formats together is great. It's invaluable in construction and we are using the action items and search capabilites quite often.

          We had a conference call demo of the Revit plug in recently and it looks intriguing. I really don't know yet how the content is transferred between the two programs but the potential of being able to have PM's operating in Newforma without having to go into Revit and still be able to contribute to the embedded information in the project would be nice.

          The Newforma guys offered to let us do a test drive once they had a few more things ironed out, they were hoping for the middle of March.

          If/when we get to try it, I'll post some thoughts.


            For those with experience, curious also about the "program" itself - buggy, crashes, quirky, temperamental? I'm always a bit cautious about software that serves a "niche" market - the development dollars just aren't there a lot of the time.

            How about installation and networking? Are upgrades easy?

            Is Newforma pretty straightforward or is complicated? Is it an easy and painless app to use (we have some real "challenged" computer users here)? If that app creates more "work" in the short term, even if the end results would be better, I know it won't get used around here. I'm just looking for that "real world" feedback that doesn't seem to get conveyed in the "reviews".

            Thanks in advance for any further comments!


              A few things come to mind.

              1: It integrates heavily with Outlook. So you end up with upgrade dependencies that are no fun. Things like NewForma has a new feature or bug fix you want, but it is dependent on upgrading to Outlook 2010. But your VoIP phone system software doesn't work with Outlook 2010, and won't for another year. You have three vendors there, who's stuff has to integrate, and basically never does. I find that the NewForma folks are pretty good, Microsoft is typically passable but not great, and phone companies pat themselves on the back when they achieve borderline incompetence. Usually they are just worthless.
              2: It is a VERY different way to work. Staff tend to resent being forced to manage their information better. In a sense it is like implementing a plot logging system. They resent it, but the need is there because they couldn't be bothered tracking the plotting themselves, so an automated system has to be applied to the problem. Eventually they get over it. At least they do when management tells them "work this way, or get a new job". If management will allow people to not bother, yeah, then some people won't bother. In that sense it is a lot like Revit, with the impact more on PAs & PMs.
              3: It is another BIG database. With big processor/IO/Network requirements. We are a small office running it successfully on a VM, but it is a fair amount of IT effort to make it all happen. And it is a complexity added to the office infrastructure. We had issues like changes to a server config brought NewForma to it's knees for a day.

              There will be growing pains, like with a Revit transition, but in the long run, it will be worth it, IF people actually use it and use it right. Management buy-off is mandatory.

              On the bright side, things like File Transfer are much easier. No more walking some client or stone age consultant thru accessing an FTP site in IE 6 on Windows ME. So far, that part just basically works. And being able to track who downloaded or uploaded, and when, is great. When a consultant complains they didn't have time to address something and you can prove they downloaded the s a week before they claim to...

              And finally, an anecdote from my previous office. They had implemented NewForma, had the admin team help move all the appropriate project email into the system, and had some people trained. On person doing CA on a big job, who didn't know NewForma yet, asked another person on the job, who had been trained in NewForma, how to find a particular email. The second person said "You can spend all week looking manually and probably have your answer by Friday, or you can request NewForma on Monday, get the software installed on Tuesday, get training on Wednesday, and have your answer about 5 minutes after that." It isn't quite that easy, but that is one Architect candidly answering the question of another. Speaks volumes.

              Pragmatic Praxis


                I'd echo everything that Gordon said. We have people of all levels who only use Newforma for email archiving and file transfers, and they love it. Those who have explored the other functions find that there is a lot more to the program. It's just like Revit, sure you CAN use it for just the basic stuff but there is so much more to it that it can be a bit intimidating. That said, once you get the concept of where the commands and functions happen, it really is not hard to use.

                We've had some success with consultants using it well but really have only touched on the whole project team tools. Newforma is mostly an internal tool for us. My own experience on Tuesday was the principal in charge on another project spent about twenty minutes looking for a file while the PA was on vacation and asked me to help find it. Within 4 minutes we had the file and he was happy.

                The IT setup is definitely a big chore but in the end it's worth it.


                  Originally posted by kereed2 View Post
                  My own experience on Tuesday was the principal in charge on another project spent about twenty minutes looking for a file while the PA was on vacation and asked me to help find it. Within 4 minutes we had the file and he was happy.
                  This is exactly what happened yesterday and prompted me to follow up with my questions this morning... a PA, who refuses to organize things neatly in the job folder and seems to go out of his way to use his own naming and dating conventions, was out of town, and someone asked if I could dig up some drawings for the project... a total mess.

                  Now I gather that you can still refuse to organize things no matter what software is on your computer, but I was thinking that if something like Newforma made it a little easier and more convenient to organize things, there would be a little more chance of it actually happening.


                    In our office (like most others, I assume), email and attachments have always been a giant black hole in the project record. We have one PM that had more than 70,000 items in their mailbox. The exchange database is separate from the project files and archiving/record keeping has always been dodgy at best. PST files have not been proven reliable. If people use Newforma properly (BIG if), then this problem is alleviated since everything ends up in the project folder.
                    Exchange was never intended to be a record keeping platform. We implemented Newforma last year, and are now starting to clamp down on mailbox sizes to keep people on the path.
                    The email is just a small part of Newforma, but it was our first step. Since many GC and clients are requiring us to use their online systems for record keeping during CA, we use Newforma to maintain an internal record of all that correspondence - just in case a project goes in the ditch. Would you want someone else to have control of all that information?
                    The Revit plugin is intriguing, but not a deal maker for us.


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