December 27, 2005

Not Sure What Software to Use? Ask Diana

If you are considering which Autodesk Building Solutions Division product is right for your firm, you can now "talk" to Diana. You can hook up with Diana here. Diana does all of the talking - you will need speakers or headphones to get anything out of this site - you click or type in responses. Diana will ask you a series of questions, which varies based on your responses, then she will come up with a recommendation of the best software for your situation.

I spent enough time this afternoon chatting with Diana to make my wife jealous; fortunately she has been out of the house most of the day and she only reads this blog if I show her an article. I certainly did not try all of the possible responses to Diana's inquiries - for example, I always chose architectural design, rather than structural design or MEP engineering, since that is what I do. I also indicated that I needed my software to do "all of the above" - design faster, evolve designs more efficiently and document more accurately. Most of the time I indicated I was using Architectural Desktop currently, although I did a few runs through saying I either used paper or a non-Autodesk software product.

Given the current heavy marketing push for Revit from Autodesk, it should come as no surprise that in the vast majority of run throughs I did, Revit Building was the product that was recommended. Size of firm, whether you share files with MEP engineers using Autodesk Building Systems or whether you have extensively customized AutoCAD using LISP or VBA seem to have little impact on the recommendation. I found the latter particularly remarkable, especially since Diana notes that maintaining the investment in customization would be an important factor.

The key questions appear to be whether you are currently using design software or paper and whether, if your firm were a teenager, you would
  1. Buy an iPod as soon as you saw one.
  2. Buy an iPod after your friends had done so.
  3. What's an iPod?
If you score high on the Luddite scale on those two questions - using paper and not knowing what an iPod is, you may be recommended ADT, particularly if you indicate that you share files with engineers using ABS.

If you currently use ADT, and you know what an iPod is, you may be asked a third critical question: "Are you interested in Building Information Modeling?" If you answer yes, then Revit Building will be recommended. Only if you answer no will Diana indicate that your current software is right for you.

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