Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Survey of A/E/C firms regarding "the future of print" (Part 2)

Yesterday (March 21st), I did a post on this blog to share with reprographers that I’m going to attempt to do a “survey” of A/E/C firms to elicit their perspectives on “the future of print.”

I explained in that post the reasons why I want to do this survey. (So, I won’t repeat the reasons in today’s “update” post.)

I e-mailed several repro industry-friends to elicit their “suggestions” for questions the survey should ask. While I’ve not yet received “suggested questions” from all who I contacted, I did want to share with you the responses I’ve received, so far.

It appears to me, and I’m not saying this facetiously, that “reprographers” do have a lot of questions they’d like A/E/C firms to respond to!

Joel here are a few thoughts. Not in any specific order. You got me early today so keep that in mind:

1.Knowing what reprographers have provided as services in the past (printing, copying scanning, storing and distributing documents) what services do you see reprographers providing in the future?

2. Do you feel reprographers are essential to the AEC project document workflow or has technology (internet and digital documents) diminished their value in the process?

3. Do you feel that you can trust (with confidence) outsourcing your Enterprise Content Management requirements to a local reprographics firm? For example, would you rely on your reprographer to archive all your critical project related business records on the cloud or in secure data centers as a service, becoming your company's primary archive solution provider?

4.Could you envision your reprographer offering BIM hosting services, where the reprographer offers to host the BIM model on secure servers allowing various project team members to update the model?

5.Do you see value and advantages of reprographers position themselves as being a local vs. virtual technology partners?

6.Could reprographers offer training to the AEC community, and if so, what types of training programs would you see them offering?

Joel, here are a couple thoughts:

1. Is it going to just architects? I would suggest sending it to architects, engineers, general contractors, and subcontractors. You may want to have different questions as they use the documents differently.

2. The challenge I've found with surveys is there is an inverse relationship between the number of questions you ask and the response rate. We had this debate at the IRgA, and I made the argument do you want more data points or more questions?

3. If you follow #2 there are some obvious questions you could avoid (i.e. do you see yourself printing less in the future. I think most would say yes.

4. Here are some things I'd be curious about:

- Are paper plans necessary for accuracy OR are you confident that plans can be accurately read on a computer screen?

- With the distribution of digital information are you MORE or LESS concerned about people having the most current contract documents?

- Does the use of BIM reduce or increase the number of documents TODAY? What about 12 months? 5 years?

- How confident are you with the systems in place today to manage the storage and distribution of contract documents and changes to them?

- What is your level of confidence that your reprographics firm understands your processes for managing and distributing project critical documents?

Joel, you've cut a broad slice of industry change in your pro log .... and it ain't over yet. (Many of these questions are self-serving but intended to expand the dialog and gain client perception.)

- Is the security of online FTP sites acceptable for your project documents.

- The effectiveness of online collaboration tools during the design development phase.

- The use of private chat rooms for project team members.

- How important are integrated account tools to project management.

- Is the collection and management of project documents through the construction cycle adequately handled by existing offerings ... what are the products of choice.

- Has litigation.... increased the level of importance to justify digital records archiving.

Joel, I have writers block on this one. Hmmm. I could probably come up with 100's more, but since you have time on your hands, I'll let you come up with others! Feel free to use any of my questions and reword them please!

1) What products or services would you prefer to get from your local repro office if you could and why?

2) What is the biggest challenge you face in your business today?

3) What is the single most important technological change that has happened to your business in the last 5 years?

4) Do you see a growing need for color printed plan sets? Why or why not? Would you use this service if it could be proven that by spending $1 in color printing, you could gain 2 to 4 times that amount in reduced construction errors?

5) When choosing a new software vendor, what are the most important factors to you? (i.e. features, ease of use, training, migration, cost)? As a follow up, would you find value in a local company supporting your software needs?

6) Have you heard of MPS? Would that interest you if one company would handle all of your print technology needs? Why or why not?

7) If you use an FTP site, do you have a way of tracking use of the site for liability and do you track internal costs to managing the site within your business?

8) Do you find it difficult in finding qualified repro companies in other locations/states/nations when needed for your projects?

9) Is managing the "BIM" model among project team members a concern for your company? Are there issues with sharing the model (ie. file transfer time, storage space, lack of collaboration tools)?

10) What are the biggest technology changes you see coming to your business in the next 2-5 years?

11) If there was one thing you would like to recommend to the reprographics industry, what would it be?

No comments:

Post a Comment