Digital Builder
Digital Builder

Episode 20 · 3 months ago

Uncovering Actionable Insights from Construction Data with a Platform

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

A true platform is more than just a list of APIs connected to a SaaS solution. It provides a single experience where designers, engineers, and builders can harness the data and tools they need whenever and wherever they need them.

So, how can you ensure you’re getting a true platform experience?

Jim Lynch, Senior Vice President & General Manager, and Sid Haksar, Head of Construction Strategy, both with Autodesk, join the show to answer that question. Plus, they share pivotal moments from Autodesk University and their thoughts on where construction is heading.

Topics covered:

  • Highlights from Autodesk University
  • The definition and benefits of a true platform approach
  • Which questions to ask while evaluating platforms and construction technology
  • Big themes surfacing about the future of construction

Resources mentioned during the podcast:

Digital Builder is hosted by Eric Thomas of Autodesk.

Hear more episodes like this one by subscribing to Digital Builder on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Can’t see the links? Just search for Digital Builder in your favorite podcast player.

Hello everyone. You're listening todigital builder. A podcast brought to you by autodesk. Made for constructionprofessionals who want to hear from those on the forefront of constructiontechnology. If you're looking for conversation centered around where theindustry is going. This podcast is for you. Each episode will feature aconversation with a construction industry leader. Together we'll dig inon themes related to connected construction and discuss where thefuture of the construction industry is headed. Now. Let's get started. Yeah.Hello everyone and welcome to episode 20 of Digital builder. I'm your host,ERic thomas. This week will be recapping some big moments fromAutodesk University which wrapped up last week, will also discuss theconcept of a platform and what it really means for construction teams,followed by a glimpse into the future of construction technology to help metell the story. I'm joined by Sid hacks are head of strategy with autodeskconstruction solutions and Jim lynch, senior vice president and generalmanager of autodesk Construction solutions. Sid leads the autodeskconstruction strategy team and is responsible for driving the company'spoint of view on the future of construction. He also closely monitorsthe industry's technology landscape, Leads the strategic planning processand regularly evaluates potential opportunities for expanding thebusiness and Jim has been a driving force for construction at autodesk forover 20 years. His legacy is closely tied to the company's successfulscaling of rabbit. The establishment of Bim is an industry standard and mostrecently the explosive growth of autodesk's instruction cloud and forthose that have been listening since the show began, you'll know that Jim isour first repeat guest, which is a really exciting milestone for us.Thanks for joining me on the show today, gentlemen, thank you eric, thanks forhaving us. Thank you. Eric Yeah, pleasure to be here for the first time.Looking forward to it. Yeah, it's going to be a fun conversation, but before wedive into the episode, I heard at one point during the years you've beenworking together, there was a challenge made for a boxing match and I have toknow more about what that was all about. Okay, so, jim, do you want me to gofirst with my version? I think you should go first with your version. Allright. It usually is a little bit more entertaining. Yes, I'll tell you So, Ilove boxing and actually prior to the pandemic was working out with a trainerand I know Jim is an avid athlete and I'm sure he can talk to you about that.So I asked him to come to the gym with me and Spar, which then led to mysuggesting rather than doing something behind closed doors, let's box forcharity. And unfortunately the pandemic scuttle those those plans though, Jimthinks he will heal easily, knock me out in the first round while while I'mpretty confident that my conditioning my speed and defensive skills will keepme out of trouble and get the job done. So there you go. Well, I'll just saythat, you know, I've had a lot of employees over the years asked me someinteresting questions, but I don't recall any of them ever asking me tospot in a boxing ring and you know, uh once it said it, I I just playingstraight out sets it, I think that's a really bad idea. I mean I can't go andhurt one of my employees. I I value the work that delivers, you know, and uhbut I did have to remind him, you know, I grew up in boston, I still play icehockey today, I just don't think you want to get in a boxing ring with me.So luckily the pandemic because you know, prevented this charity boxingmatch to happen because I'm also really competitive. So, you know, once I'm inthat ring, I, you know, I I can't take responsibility for what might happen.So that's the story eric I like it and hopefully we'll never hear. Apartbeyond this, I can't say I've ever challenged my manager or boss to afight before. So I said, I, I admire the bold choice there and hopefullyonce the pandemic subsides, we can reignite this conversation and seewhere that kind of spins up. But aside from the bar, I live in hope. Yeah, Ihope so as well, we'll see where we can get that cheddar, et part going. So forthose that they're listening that aren't familiar with AutodeskUniversity, which is one of the topics we're going to cover today. This year'sglobal digital event included over 300 sessions with industry leaders, 80construction sessions, industry talks, demos, keynotes, news and a whole bunchmore. And this podcast actually launched alongside a you exactly a yearago. So I'm really excited that we're still out here bringing great contentto the industry and it's a ton of fun. But kicking off our post a you recap, Ireally want to hear each of your favorite parts of this year's eventsaid, could you kick us off and share a couple of your personal au highlights?Sure, thanks eric. So I've been adopted as now for over seven years andAutodesk University is really my favorite event amongst a host of eventsthat we we have over the course of the and the reason for that really isthreefold one. It's, it's truly...

...inspiring to hear how customers arepositively impacting our built environment, utilizing our technology.Second, the opportunity to interact directly with our customers is franklypriceless and I really look forward to those conversations. And then finallythird, really just getting to walk the exhibit halls and meeting withconstruction tech companies and see how they're pushing the envelope aroundinnovation and helping advance the industry forward. It's almost like mebeing a little child in a candy store. So it's really, really fun time.Obviously, unfortunately the past two years have been virtual for obviousreasons, but I'll say that the silver lining has been the ability for moreindividuals to really participate given that we made a you a free event toattend. So I think that's been great in terms of favorite parts for this year'sevent. I really love the live meetups and how they brought together differentstakeholders across our industry to share business challenges and howthey're using technology to mitigate those challenges. And a couple ofsessions that I really liked was the life of pipe, which I thought the namewas ingenious for those of you who have seen the movie life of pi which reallyhighlighted the various workflows from pipe design through fabrication toinstallation. I think another timely sessions was field tech and roll outagain as the name suggests, it's all about scaling tech in the field andmanaging the change that comes with it and then last but not least one of theother sessions that I really did enjoy was your api integrations for today'sconstruction cloud. We obviously announced our integration with stage300 we will continue to be adding additional integrations based on ourcustomer needs. But one final point I think it's worth calling out, which iswe believe we have the industry leading cost management offering and that wemake it available at no extra cost and pun intended as part of autodesk buildand it's great really to see our customers validating this as theydeployed across their projects and also integrate with the arab systems Au isso exciting every year for so many of the reasons that you just shared. Andeven though we're in this digital world for the time being, I do reallyappreciate the inclusiveness that we're able to offer in this new format thatwe're currently supporting. So it's just great to make sure that the entireindustry, regardless of where they're able to connect or attend from, is ableto jump in and learn a lot from their peers jim How about you? What's yourfavorite takeaways from this year's Au? So, first of all eric, happyanniversary, It's amazing that it's been a year since the digital builderpodcast was kicked off and you have had some amazing amazing shows. Socongratulations. And I look forward to another several years of digitalbuilder. So, regarding a you listen, you know, I think sit hit on a lot ofthe things that I love about a you and you know, unfortunately because of thepandemic, we've had to go digital, the good news about that as it suggested iswe've opened it up to more customers. We don't charge for our customers tocome to autodesk University, like some others may charge to go to their usergroup meetings. So, but in particular the things that I that really stand outfor me first and foremost, you know, autodesk really came out and shared ourvision and plans to become a platform company. You heard our ceo talk aboutit, you heard our CTO talk about it, You heard myself and my peers talkabout it and you know this is uh this is more than just talk, this is a realcommitment to becoming a platform company now for autodesk construction.Of course we had many exciting announcements and all of them leaningon the enhancements that we've made to autodesk construction cloud. We alsoannounced the fact that we're bringing pipe into construction cloud whereunifying pipe to be part of autodesk construction cloud. And don't forget,we also announced a new technology called bridge. Now for those of you whoaren't familiar, bridge really creates a way to share key project data beforebetween teams without having to share the entire project. So that means thegeneral contractor can share only the required sheets and provide updatesthroughout the project with each subcontractor. This really opens up awhole new era of collaboration for construction. So I think that was agreat announcement. So some great product announcements, you know, justmore news about autodesk construction cloud, the breadth and the depth andhow we continue to really advance that in the industry. Yeah, I miss a you inperson, just because I I really like walking the expo floor and seeing allof the different vendors and people who are just excited to support thisindustry and I think our pivot to digital here but still creating anavenue where people can consume content is really tied back to the resiliencyof the construction industry specifically, like everybody's socollaborative and working through problems on the job site daily thatwe've we just jumped into this new...

...environment and we're still gettingwork done sometimes more than before, depending on the circumstance, butoutside of the, you know, the joys of in person when we do return to that, Ido think the point about autodesk being a platform company is worth digginginto a little further before we get too far into the details. Jim can youexplain what we mean by platform? It feels like everyone offers some type ofplatform these days and I think those out there listening would reallybenefit from hearing autodesk's definition. Yeah, I think it's a greatquestion eric because you're absolutely right, everybody talks about platformand there are many out there that seemed to think because they have a P.S. They have a platform. Well, the fact of the matter is that every SAs almostevery SAAS product today has a piece that lets you exchange data with otherapplications, but a true platform really plays a more active role incoordinating how products work together. Right? It's really a single experiencewhere designers, engineers, builders, they can all harness the data and thetools they need when they need them, no matter what industry, they're inanytime, anywhere on any device that's a true platform, Right? It's a it'sabout providing that information, making sure that data flows seamlesslybi directionally across all the capabilities in that platform. Ofcourse the autodesk platform is forged. Autodesk construction cloud is built onforge Autodesk construction cloud as a platform delivers, you know, connecteddata, right? It connects data, it connects teams, it connects workflowsand it really provides an environment that feels like a single environmentand Oh yes, we also have all the A. P. S. As well. So you're absolutely right.There's a lot of different definitions of platform out there, but a trueplatform just plays a much more active role in coordinating the informationand the data and a true platform like we're building at autodesk isn'tlimited to a single industry. So the autodesk platform will seamlesslyconnect not only autodesk construction, cloud capabilities but our designcapabilities in a Ec and in fact our manufacturing capabilities as well asour media and entertainment capabilities. So as you think aboutthings like industrialist construction, the convergence of design andconstruction or of construction and manufacturing, you know, the fact thata platform can move information between those two industries is going to beextremely, extremely critical and exciting. And if I may just add to whatjim said there, which was completely spot on, I think it will also make theexperiences of our customer is really more seamless and powerful and as wecontinue to deliver on our goal of what jim frames has connected constructionto enabling really high fidelity connections across teams, workflows indata? We feel really excited about helping really drive that positivechange not only for the industry as a whole, but specifically for ourcustomers businesses. I think you're both spot on and I really appreciatethe robust explanation of what we think about as far as platform goes becauseit's worth really considering and the emphasis on the experience is whatreally resonated for me too. Anybody who listens to the show is no strangerto me, talking about data silos and disconnects and portability and many ofthe guests that I've had on speak at length about those topics, but we're ata moment now where I think the industry needs to go one step further and howthey consume technology to ensure that it's not just oh I have an integrationthat forces my data from this thing into this thing, but that overallexperience is actually a whole lot more meaningful because it means that youcan focus on just getting the job done instead of worrying about futzing withthe bits and bobs that connect all the different tools you're working with.100%. You know, this idea that you know, I have to spend time learning thesefive different point solutions that's eliminated as you move towards a realplatform environment. I'm really glad that you're on the quality because I'vegot a strategy question tied to your focus on seeking opportunities forexpanding our business, can you take a moment to tell us about the vision forthe recent investments in my office and space sick and how it relates toAutodesk's previous investments and acquisitions. So before I speak to arecent investment in space like my office, I think it's helpful to callout that Autodesk is an outward looking company and and by that, I mean, youknow, we're always looking at what solutions are loved by the industry andhow that really plays into our built by partner strategy going forward. Andthis approach frankly led to our acquisitions of plan, grid, building,connected, assemble systems and more...

...recently pipe each of which were reallyleading solutions across the project lifecycle of our customers. However, Ithink we understand and appreciate the solutions need to be integrated so thatthey can truly deliver the most optimal experience of of our customers and tothat end, I think Autodesk construction cloud has been a response in thatregard. And as I say, I'll keep repeating this. I mean I'm extremelyexcited about our future in that regard. Right. And also it's worth calling out,not so well known fact is that Autodesk is the most active strategic investorin construction tech and we're always looking to play our role in supportingentrepreneurs as they innovate across our industry. So I think with that said,you know, in terms of a CSR Autodesk construction solutions and our viewtowards, you know Emina and investments as a company. Once I'll come back toyou on the space I Q. I office question uh there are motivation really behindour investment is to really leverage of building design and construction alongwith the operational data to optimize facility performance and as we thinkthrough the building life cycle from design through build and ultimatelyoperate. Beitar work with autodesk tandem and now space like you in myoffice will really enable our owner customers to utilize the operationaldata to ultimately make better informed design and construction choices in thefuture. So in summary, I think we're really excited about this investment inpartnership and they will be obviously more to come in the future. I feel likeyou've been listening to recent episodes of digital builder becausewe've been talking about digital twins and we've had a couple owners join usto talk about that future focused, I guess style and expectation that ownersare starting to adopt when they're building new projects or renovatingothers. So I appreciate your look into, you know why the strategy team operatesthe way they do and why they bring all these tools in. And also thank yousince that's how I ended up joining the autodesk family when playing great, gotacquired a few years ago, so and so it's been a ton of fun to just see theevolution of our technology and our tools in the last few years and it'sjust been a real privilege to work with so many people. So I want to come backto the point of how there are so many construction tools that loudly declaretheir own status as a platform and I like to help our listeners cut throughthe noise a little bit. So I'm interested to hear what questionsshould they be asking to ensure that the tools that they're evaluating are agood fit for their team and actually do meet the criteria of a platform jimcould you kick this one off for us? Yeah, sure. Happy to eric, it's a goodquestion and it's an important question as you said, everybody has theirplatform flavor of the day. I think there's a handful of questions and I'mgoing to ask you to to dive in here as well because this is something we talkabout a great deal at my staff but I think, you know, first and foremost askhim about the data, it's you know, I think data is such an important, it'sthe key component of a platform, right? You know, having a single source oftruth is paramount and it's it is a core pillar in the strategy of reallycreating ways for companies to work from the same documents whilerespecting the data ownership aspects of it. Right? So ask those that areselling you a platform, who has access to the data because some solutionslimit access to the data, they only allow the license holder, you know, tohave complete control and ownership of that data. So that's a key question. Ithink you have to ask how they define the life cycle of a constructionproject and when it is complete because you know, a true platform supports thelife cycle from design through preconstruction out to the job site,out to operations and maintenance and if it's a project that is using, youknow, or connecting to manufacturing systems, for example, for prefabrication, that platform also should connect you into that world. I think alot of quote unquote platform providers define a construction project startingat, you know, when they start on the project site and and when they push itto operations and maintenance. That's not really a platform, that's, that's apoint solution I think you should ask about their training and their customersupport. Right. Do they have the skill set? Do they have the teams necessaryto really help you adopt, embrace and in fact at the most from yourtechnology investment, not just get the most from one point solution, butreally get the most to really help you take advantage of and collaboratebetter with the design team with the team on the job site, we with the preconstruction office and ultimately with the owner of the project. Those are acouple of the questions I would start...

...with sid I know you have some ideashere too. So why don't you throw in a few Sure and I think jim you nailed thefirst few that you called the spot on and so true. In terms of the way Iwould add to what jim just said, I think the two additional questions thatI would ask the listeners to consider, I think the first is really understandthe depth of your or the partner ecosystem right that the platformclaims to offer having partner logos on a website does not really mean much ifthose integrations are weak and limit customers ability to utilize theirexisting solutions in an efficient and seamless manner. And what I mean bythat is without true data interoperability, double entry of dataand manual processes can all ultimately lead to greater risk on a project. Andin that context, I think one of the exciting pieces of news that weannounced that a you really was that we now have over 200 plus integrationsleveraging both ford and partner cards. We also have a CC connect which reallyenables customers to build over their own custom integrations over 100workflows that we offer in really a low code no court environment. I thinkanother really exciting development was the release of our new app gallery thatreally allows teams the ability to access and incorporate integrationsoffered on the autodesk construction cloud platform with the existing orplanned workflows and I think I'll use an analogy there to say it's almostlike it is like Roku for integration. So we're really bringing this northstar of pervasive simplicity that are are and the organization is alwaystalking about to really bear on our customers. The second aspect I wouldcall out is that being a platform comes with a lot of responsibility andresponsibility to customers. We are essentially asking companies tostandardize their core processes on one platform. And to that end, listenersneed to ask if these platforms with air quotes really offer flexibility in howthey can purchase software rather than deploying a one size fits all approachand if that and if they have price certainty without having to deal withuncomfortable surprises during the terms of their contract for us as acompany in listening to the industry and our customers, we offer multipleways for for our customers to consumer offerings, whether it's user base oraccount based, but we also strive to offer price certainty and really be apartner to them. So I think those are some of the things that I would callout from a platform standpoint. These are some of my favorite parts of doingthis show because it's an opportunity to really help whoever out there islistening make actionable decisions and choices about how they consume, youknow, whatever type of technology they're evaluating and I think the coolthing about all the questions that you suggest that they ask their vendors isthis doesn't necessarily only apply to evaluating platforms, It could alsoapply to evaluating any type of technology that somebody could berolling out at their company or on the project site at the same time. So it'sit's just really great to step back and intentionally ask questions that getyou a couple layers deeper to sidestep some of the fluff that you get thatlargely ends up being marketing speak and doesn't really apply when you'reout on the job site. So it's it's just a really deliberate dance that you haveto do when you're choosing such impactful software. Just going to say,I think that's really well said eric, I think, you know, you asked a questionin the context of a platform, but those questions can take it beyond that and Ithink you nailed it. Well, I appreciate that my goal with every one of theseconversations is at the end of it, you have something actionable that you cando, you can sit down and go, okay, I've learned more about a new technology,whether it's machine learning or a I or site scanning or whatever it might beand decide intentionally how you can start consuming it. But back to theplatform conversation, All of this really does come back to data for mewhich brings me to an industry report that our team recently brought tomarket called harnessing the data advantage and construction. And thereason that I bring up this report is because across four people we surveyedwith me, we learned that the majority of construction teams don't actuallyhave a formal data strategy in place, which is a little bit alarming. And wealso found that many out there don't trust the data that they have availableto them right now, especially when in the past they've had poor outcomes thatresulted from a decision they made using data that was inaccurate. And sothe commonly shared struggle of not knowing where to begin when improvingtheir data management. I'm interested in hearing both of your thoughts abouthow the platform approach helps you with some of these problems and thosethat are out there struggling with data management right now, by the way, it'sa really great study, the harnessing the data study with me And I hope ourreaders get a chance to take a look at...

...it. I was having a conversation earliertoday with one of our customers, one of our strategic customers and you know,we were talking about the fact that over 90% of all data from aconstruction project, both engineering and construction goes unused. And youknow, again, this is where the platform play comes because platforms enable youto collect data to capture data across the life cycle of the project, whetherit's from early design. Well when you're just starting the estimating andtake off process. So when you're out on the job site and you're trying to getthings done and you find issues that you need to, you need to deal with. Andso the idea of capturing all that information in one place and then beingable to apply things like machine learning and ai to that data reallyhelps you turn that data into something that is helpful to your business todrive better decision making, to capture and catch issues before theytake place. So everything you said about the data pieces so accurate andyou know, this really does resonate with customers and they are reallypaying much closer attention to how they can tap into their project data todrive better outcomes and with that I'll hand it over to sit. One of thethings for us, which is really fascinating is that every project isreally bespoke in nature without the ability to leverage insights from, fromprojects all with the goal of driving favorable outcomes. And I'll keep goingback to what jim has said, you know, around this notion of connectedconstruction, it is so critical because getting access to the data isexceedingly challenging and it's really a prerequisite in order for companiesto start driving actionable insights from that information. And so I wouldsay standardizing on an open and integration platform, integratedplatform enables that first part of the journey in capturing data in one placeand then subsequent to that Israeli the ability to surface that information inreally what I'll call a highly consumable manner for the customer sothat they can make appropriate business decisions. Our customers do not havedata, scientists on staff, right if you think about even the smaller companies,the smaller construction companies, they're really looking for self servetools and that is where our portfolio, our platform enables that to happen.But again I'll go back to the first part which is you need to bestandardizing on integrated and open platform to begin that data journey. Ilove both of you has shared here and jim the 90% of data going unused Ithink is such an important thing to identify right now because so much hashappened in the last five years we've had this massive digitization journey,we've had the ability to capture more data than we've ever had historicallyin the past and we haven't really is an industry had a moment to step back andgo how should we be using this? And so we're capturing it, we're capturing andrecapturing it and that's important. Please please keep doing that. Don'tstop capturing data but the word that I keep using on the show which I I needto put a swear jar in front of me is intentionality in how you capture it.So we're starting to get to a point now where we're looking at the future stateof what we want to do and now we get to make choices about how we capture it,how we standardize it, how we consume it, which brings us from the currentmodel, which is often project level decisions made in the moment withlimited access to data or possibly inaccurate data and we get to make thisbig industry swing where we go, okay now are project level decisions aremore accurate because the data that we're using is accurate and the peopletrust it, but now we can take that one click back, we go okay organizationally,like what are we learning from this information, What do we look to in thefuture and how do we make those choices? And if you're building that on data andyou can be confident that your data is correct and it's all there the ease ofthose self service platforms, especially for the customers that don'thave so many resources to have a team focused on this. It's an entirelydifferent conversation and you can tell I'm passionate about this and I'm gonnahave J. Bowman from FM I on the show very soon with another guest, which I'mexcited about because we spent a great deal of time bringing that report tomarket and there's so much to uncover as far as, you know, how we can improvedata strategies across the board and the er why associated with that andthere's I'm not going to give up the ghost too quickly. So everybody outthere listening, if you find this interesting look for a couple episodesdown the line, because we're gonna talk all about it, but I want to pivot tothe future. Now. We've we've talked a lot at length about the takeaways and Ithink we captured what was up at a you and really uncovered the importance ofour platform support, platform approach for our peers out in construction. ButI'd like to highlight a moment during...

Andrews Keynote last week where he saidit's been like a decade of change all crammed into 18 months and I think it'san accurate observation about the world today, especially for our friends outin construction. And with that in mind, I think our listeners would appreciatehearing some of the themes that come up, when you know, each of you speak toindustry leaders about the past 18 months and how they feel about how itwill impact the future of construction. Said, could you kick this one off? Soobviously the construction industry has, you know, it's been massive challengesthat they faced over the past 18 months if there is. That silver lining to thepandemic has really been the increase in clouded option as companies haveadjusted their work processes to really account for remote collaboration due towork from home mandates or job side restrictions that said and fastforwarding to today as we look out into the future and in our conversationswith customers, they fundamentally believe that they would be verydifferent in both forms and how they operate compared to how they are today.And so in from hearing what they tell us, I think, you know, and in our inour view as well, we see a couple of things first we see companiesincreasingly being data driven jim talked about, you know, 90 plus percentof the data that just goes not used in the engineering construction phase. Sowe would expect to see increased focus and scrutiny on unlocking the value oftheir data to drive better decision making, both at the project level, asyou said erIC but also at the at the firm level. Second, there's just thismassive Ongoing labor shortage that's driving the need for increasedautomation to augment, what I'll say is human processes, both in the office andon the job site. So we expect to see that happening more over the nextseveral years. 3rd I think we expect to see companies explore alternativebusiness models, things like, you know, vertical integration offsiteconstruction amongst others. As they really look to uncover scale economies,I'll even add frankly, you know, things like tandem, which allows them tomanage facilities post handover, that's a whole new business model forconstruction companies and they're looking at that because they don't wantto be at the winds and fancies of, you know, project based revenue. And thenI'll say the fourth one last but not least is given that our industrygenerates a significant amount of waste compared to any other industry. We'llexpect to see a renewed focus on sustainability and whether that isbeing net zero carbon and Jim has a lot of ports around that or use ofsustainable building materials. Are conversations with customers continueto validate that hypothesis in that thinking said you captured Everything Italk about on this show with our wonderful guests in four very on pointand bold statements and I really appreciate it because I know everybodyis is a little fatigued with pandemic focused talk. So I don't like to focuson it a ton because everybody's a little bit tired if we're being honest.But I also think it's really important specifically for the constructionindustry because this was such a unexpected lever of change. Like itjust was a catalyst where we're digitizing, we're figuring out how tobe remote in an industry that was never remote historically before. So there'sso many changes so I I appreciate the perspective that you can share whenyou're speaking to industry leaders all the time. Jim Sid may have stole theshow on that one. Do you have anything else to add for our listeners out there?Well, well, you're right, SIDS answer was spot on and it's funny I, as Imentioned earlier, I was speaking, I was on a call with one of our customersearlier today and we were talking about these things and they were talkingabout their business challenges. I did have a chuckle eric because you saidyou know you finished the data the discussion and you said okay now let'stalk about the future and I'm thinking to myself well wait a second then we'regoing to go right back to data because data is the future and it is I mean Sidsaid listen the things that come up in every conversation I have with industryleaders, every conversation it came up today was the day to peace. How can wenow that we're capturing more and more data? How can we get value from itsustainability. Their clients are really, really you know driving them todeliver better results, better sustainable results whether that's youknow around embodied carbon, you know their their their their carbonfootprint. That is a major topic and then you know as they look to thefuture it's like okay how can we do more things in a controlled environment,making it more predictable, making it safer for our teams and you know itdoesn't have to be full blown modular, it can just be a better approach to prefabrication. So those are the themes that come up and I you know I have tosay I Andrew's statement is really a good statement, the fact that it's beenlike a decade of change crammed into 18 months and I think you're right erICthat's no it's truer in construction,...

...more true in construction I think thananywhere else. And I you know, I think this industry was moving at a fast paceto embrace and adopt technology and I think that pandemic has actually causedthem to go even faster down that journey. Now. I was saying somethingthat's controversial, I could be controversial to the customer, I wasspeaking to today and I was talking about back in the rev it days, you know,after the revenue acquisition, you know, we were on a journey to really get theindustry, get the design community to embrace building information modelingand embrace rabbit and it was, it was hard work and it took time fast forwardto where we are today with construction. You know, construction used to get thisbad rap of being slow at adopting technology. I can tell you the pace atwhich they are adopting technology today is incredibly impressive and Ithink faster than what we saw, you know, with them, with the design community, Iagree with you completely jim like the old boring trope of construction notbeing innovative anymore. That needs to get parked because there's so muchhappening in the industry right now, although at the same time, I think it'simportant that people out there listening go back to the questions thatyou both suggested, people ask as they consume technology because At thatmoment there's so much to consider that whether it's you're looking at sitetechnology or if you're just thinking about how the heck do I deal with thismassive amount of data that I now have that I didn't have 18 months ago. Youhave to be intentional. And I'd like to go back to the fact that a lot ofpeople have that decision paralysis feeling right now. We discovered thatin the research we did and I'm going to talk about it with J. Bowman in acouple of weeks, but that's a shared pain. That's that's not unique to anyparticular type, size or geography as far as being overwhelmed with theamount of data that you have and I encourage you to go down to the report,we'll put a link to it in the show notes for this one too, because it doesgive some of the actionable steps to getting out of that decision paralysisa whole and making really intentional choices about how you you know, improveyour data capture and management kind of move forward from there. But jimI've got one more question for you and you touched on it a couple times today,but I know you're passionate about it. So I want to I want to bring it up andreally dig in here. So with all of this digitization, the changes with howconstruction work that we have talked to talked about at length here in thepast few minutes, has this had any clear impacts, how design andmanufacturing are converging with industrialist construction either todayor in the future, Like what's the trajectory compared to when we lastspoke eight or nine months ago about this topic. Listen, I think interest inthis concept of industrialist construction or the convergence ofconstruction and manufacturing, where construction looks to manufacturingprocesses to drive better outcomes, to drive more predictable outcomes todrive more safety. I think there is more interest today than there's everbeen. And I, you know, customers, the industry is asking how is the best wayto get there? And there are multiple answers. It can be better prefabrication, it can be building assemblies and bringing them to the jobsite. It can be full blown modular. I mean there are multiple angles to takecare. I think there are a lot of questions to answer. How do you makethat shift in your business? And you know, we've got some expertise atautodesk that are helping our customers make those choices, but I think you'regoing to just see more and more momentum if you will around the conceptof industrialist construction. And I, you know, I think you're going to seesome interesting the startups around the idea of industrialist constructionas well, which I think will be a welcome sight. So yeah, I'm morepassionate than I've ever been about it because it's gaining momentum and it'sonly going to continue. We've had an interesting moment where the lens hasbeen pointed at I c and pre fabrication in a way that it hadn't beenhistorically. So also for out there those out there listening go back anepisode or two because we actually talked at length about pre fabricationand there's some really great tips on how to get started with that technologythere too. So worth checking out. So do you have any thoughts on that prefabicy world that like to add to the conversation? Yeah I'll just add acouple of things. One is you know a lot of our subcontractor customers havealready been doing pre fabrication that is inherent in their business processes.I think what also jim has been talking about is we're seeing a lot of ourgeneral contractor customers that are moving more towards our wanting to movetowards more of a self performed basis. Right? And part of that really drivesaround this notion of pre fabrication.

And part of it can be also being drivenby the fact is we talked about labor shortages when you win jobs now. How doyou end up executing on that? So it may make sense to vertically integrate veryselectively. And so I think they're seeing this the value add obviously theability to construct in a controlled environment which was indicated duringthe pandemic while other job sites shut down. I think those that wereprefabricated continued to work is all tying into this notion of prefabrication. So this is a trend that we expect to continue on. And it'sdefinitely in conversations that jim and I have with customers. They aretalking about this. Yeah, I hear it come up a great deal now myself and Ido appreciate one point you mentioned there to like pre fabrication and inindustrialized construction is not a new topic like this is not somethingthat was born during the pandemic. But we just had this new light come in andpeople are re evaluating the viability and the impact of it. And honestly Ithink my favorite one that comes out of it isn't necessarily tied to efficiencyor streamlining. Its just more control over site conditions and the safetyimprovements that you get from that too because you have that controlledenvironment and since safety is so paramount in this industry, it's thefirst thing we talk about a project site the second you step foot, it's thelast thing you talk about when you go home at the end of the day. Like I justI like to laser in on that one because it's it's so, so important. So I've gotone more question about the future of construction and some of thistechnology and two of my favorite ones and jim you actually mentioned them aminute ago. So I'm glad you planted the seed But I'm interested to see how thisongoing advancement and digitization impacts the adoption of tools likemachine learning, specifically an artificial intelligence. And we had anepisode about that one episode to go as well. So if you're interested in thistopic check it out. But I love your thoughts on this one. Jim. Yeah I meanyou know our solution strategy our technology strategy has three keypillars right digitization or automation integration and optimization.And You know those three pillars are connected and uh there for a reason itreally starts with digitization. The more project teams apply or embracedigital technology to capture project information from early on in theproject through to hand over and operations. You know you start amassinga significant amount of digital information and then when you're ableto actually integrate the systems around that information whether it'syour project management systems, your financial systems you're building up onthat pool of information that pool of data which leads then to when you getto the optimization stage. The idea of actually using technologies likemachine learning to really be able to look back at that information, extractkey insights, extract key learnings to help our customers drive betteroutcomes on future projects. I mean we're seeing customers are embracingour construction I. Q. Technology today. Doing exactly that. But it does startwith digitization. You've got to start capturing that digital informationearly in the process and with the work that we're doing. Sorry to go back toplatform again. But you know you capture that digital information on thejob site because of our platform because of the true nature of aplatform. We're connecting that project information back not only to thepreconstruction planning office but all the way back to the design team. Whenyou pull all that data together, you put yourself in a position to really beable to learn from your previous project data to just drive betterpredictability, better outcomes on future projects and I'll stop there butI could keep going. It's such an important topic and said you made twopoints that I'd like to highlight earlier and I'll kick it back over toyou so you can share some more thoughts but one is the labor shortage and thenthe second one is augmentation and I think those two points are superimportant for everybody to keep in mind as we talk about these technologiesbecause a lot of times people are a little bit afraid of the technologybecause they're fearful of how it will impact their job. But if we keep thelabor shortage in mind and the phrase augmentation, it really emphasizes thatthese texts are here to help and improve people. People's ability to gettheir work done. It's not here to take away their jobs and so people stillwill be here doing the things that they do well and will continue to do so. ButAi or machine learning can for example evaluate 10,000 photographs for sitesafety in a site superintendent. Just can't do that at that scale. So it'sit's building, it's improving, it's making things better with thetechnology and the data that we have. It's not a scary technology that'srooted in sci fi and human replacement...

...down the line. So anyway, so I hope Ididn't steal your thunder there. But I think it's such an important point tomake and we talk about these technologies because they're here now.They're not future, they're just getting better. Yeah, I'll just say thesame thing as Jim is going back to talking about platform. I'll just goand go back to the same point I'm raising, which is really to harness thepower of Melania. It really goes back to the notion of connected constructionthat we spoke about earlier really, only then you can benefit and in myopinion from these technologies at scale and so for us, we are investingsignificantly in our ai ml efforts across the road to this constructioncloud, be it through construction, inc, which helps mitigate risk on the jobsite or even with things like automated simple detection that helps speed upthe takeoff process. So again, you'll see manual automation, you know, thatthat theme resonating another example I'll call out is, which is exciting forus is our acquisition of pipe and pipes, auto specs solution, which reallyapplies Ml technologies to extract the middles from spec books, you know, thisis a very laborious process and using this technology that's machine learningtechnology significantly reduces time and risk for downstream constructionworkflows. So these are examples of how we are using technology to really helpmake the lives of our customers easier. I think it's all just improvement inexisting processes and it's so nice to see everything at scale. And thetakeoff one is always a great example. I remember when I was still working forG. C. S I would watch are estimating and pre con team just laboriously goingthrough and doing takeoffs and it looked painful and to be able to justspeed that up and allow people to focus on more important tasks. Not moreimportant that's the wrong phrase. But you know tests that are better servedwith human focus it's just a great improvement. So we're running to theend of our show today and for everybody that's listening and jim you rememberthis part as well to close out each episode. I've got a final question thatI ask each guest and it's what is one tool that you will always carry in yourtoolbox no matter what type of project you're working on said can you kickthis one off for us today? Sure. So on a serious note I could have given you afunny answer but on a serious note I'll say the one toolbox important for us isreally empathy. I think that is something that I have learned over thepandemic we all think about. We always claimed to have empathy but it reallycomes into practice and it's come to the forefront during the pandemicempathy with respect to your, your family, your friends, your colleaguesand your customers. It is so important to really put yourself in their shoesand really understand the challenges they're facing and it just makes you abetter human being at the end of the day. I know it sounds like a pithy, butyou know, it's it's frankly really, really important and it's enabled us towalk away from this every day. You know, your on demand, always on type oflifestyle where there's very limited personal engagement to really go backto what really matters. So I think that is something I will keep in my toolboxfor the rest of my life said, I appreciate that. And especially in thelast year and a half, the empathy conversation has changed a lot toobecause everybody's lived experiences, We've navigated the challenges in thelast 18 months has been very different in the moments that cause stress andthe circumstances that every person is experiencing, whether there, you knowout in the front lines are on a job site or working at a grocery store orsitting at my desk in my house in the woods by myself, making my existencevery apparent here. But it's it's all different and the empathy that youbring to the table to understand that the stressors that are drivingeverybody in a particular moment can be wildly different and taking the time tounderstand them is huge. So thank you for bringing that up. That's excellentgym. That's a, that's a heavy one to follow. I'm interested to hear whatyour tool is this time around. Yeah, by the way, I, you know, I thought SIDSanswer was was phenomenal. I thought it was really well said, you know, my onetool that I, that I'll speak of, it really goes hand in hand in what it wassaying and the one tool in my toolbox is my ears and that's listening right?You know, I've always believed in seek first to understand than to beunderstood. You know, we all need to listen more today to each other and Ithink, you know, we spent a great deal of time speaking with and listening toour customers and so it is the one tool think that I carry the other one ofcourse is gratitude, but we'll save that for another episode. That will benumber three, I appreciate that. But you're on point there and especiallythe strange world of zoom focused conversations to active listening ishas changed a lot now where you're not just in a room looking each other inthe face, You could be scrolling through reddit while sitting on thisphone call and I wouldn't know. So your present, but you're not reallylistening. So that's an important skill to have and you've led our team througha CS. I've appreciated it when you've displayed it as well. So thank you forbringing that to the table. But if...

...anybody out there has any questions foryou, what would be the best way for them to connect to you Jim Can you kickthis one off? Yeah, linked in would be the best way to get a hold of me.Perfect sid How about you? Is your linkedin presence heavy or peoplelooking for other avenues to connect with you? I think Lincoln is a greatway to connect and you know, looking forward to those dialogues from theirperfect for those out there. Still listening. Thanks for taking the timeto join us on this episode of digital builder. If you have any questions forme or want to appear on a future episode, you can find me on, linked inmuch like everybody else on these calls or via twitter at builder underscoredigital and if you're enjoying our podcast, please rate the show, an applepodcasts or your favorite podcast player. All you have to do is open theapp, find digital builder and select the number of stars that you think wedeserve it really is that easy and it makes a real difference for our team.And of course you can always like subscribe to or share this specificepisode if you enjoyed it. And on that final note, goodbye, you've beenlistening to digital builder to ensure that you never miss an episode.Subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listeningwith Apple podcast, we'd love for you to give a quick rating of the show,simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves and thenyou're done. Thank you so much for listening until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (26)