IT versus BIM??? Does not compute.


I'm on YOUR side. It's HIM you gotta worry about.

A recommended article popped up on my LinkedIn list the other day. When I read the title; ”A CAD Manager’s Letter to IT”, I wondered how current it was. Turns out, it’s far too current for comfort (dated July 27, 2011):

In his letter (hypothetical or otherwise), Robert Green details frustrations between a CAD Manager and his/her IT Department. The points Robert raises are valid – many approaching “no brainer” status. And, I’ve spoken with more than one Conference Attendee who has expressed similar frustrations. It’s just disheartening to think that CAD/BIM and IT might be adversarial in this day and age. Especially under the current economy, when company unity is more important than ever.

My frame of reference is the small to mid-size A/E/C firm. In many such firms, as was initially my case, CAD and IT Management roles are performed by the same person. So, if an adversarial relationship were to break out, said Manager might be a candidate for counseling by a Professional well versed in Dissociative Identity Disorder.

As firm size and complexity of installation grows, asking one person to fulfill both roles becomes unreasonable. There is simply too much information to absorb and the requisite skillsets begin to diverge. I guess it’s only natural that, once more than one person is involved, more than one opinion might emerge. Still, I cannot fathom how CAD/BIM and IT can be at odds over major issues.

To my way of thinking, CAD/BIM is a part of IT. Sure, there are Discipline-specific deployments, but the underlying functions (customization, installation, maintenance, training, user support) are more similar to IT than to, say, Architecture. I’m open to opposing opinions, though.

Whatever the Org Chart might say, I cannot understand why IT would oppose CAD/BIM initiatives. Again, especially considering that most IT Departments have been told to stop all but emergency spending for the past two or three years. Watching the infrastructure rust is not the most rewarding part of a career in IT. CAD/BIM poses a compelling argument for new investment. Working together toward a common goal can be invigorating. Trust me.

This is a perfect opportunity to play “Good Cop / Bad Cop” (you wanna be Sipowicz this time?):

“Dang”, says the IT Manager; “I really hate to advocate spending money right now, but I’ve seen how much productivity we’re wasting trying to run the newest BIM Application on our existing machines. Maybe our BIM Manager is right (for once 😉 ).”.

Want to upgrade your Workstations? Blame it on BIM.

Want to virtualize your Servers and Storage? Blame it on BIM.

Want to roll out 64-bit Operating Systems? Blame it on BIM.

To the CAD/BIM and IT Managers reading this: This approach can be our little secret. I promise to support you on it.

To the Firm Leaders reading this: If your CAD/BIM and IT Management are at odds, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart chat with them. Many qualified Managers / Directors / V.P.’s have been displaced by the current economy. You shouldn’t have to put up with counterproductive conflicts.


About Dave Pluke

Dave Pluke served as "the man behind the curtain" (Principal and VP of Technology) of a successful Structural Engineering firm for over 2 decades. Overseeing the transition from two, stand-alone 80286 Personal Computers, through Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Design to a fully networked, Building Information Modeling (BIM) integrated environment has provided plenty of "life lessons" (sounds better than "battle scars", doesn't it?). This blog's purpose is to share those experiences and apply lessons learned to better assist meeting the challenges of the future.
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