Newforma Blog
Blog / Industry Trends

Connecting Construction Industry Workflows

September 15, 2022
By Peg Landry

Mike Cisar, Director of Marketing from Ryvit, talks about how Ryvit and Newforma are addressing AECO industry software integration challenges. Ryvit developed the first iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service). This platform enables external teams to share project information securely and immediately.

The partnership between Ryvit and Newforma has resulted in several integrations. Newforma’s Connector for Procore is a leading example of how submittal and RFI workflows are automated.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Mike – how, when, and why did Newforma and Ryvit decide to team up to develop workflow connectors?

Let’s turn the clock back to the inception of the Construction Progress Coalition (CPC). This organization exists to create efficiencies for some of construction’s most painfully wasteful processes. The first process to gain attention was the process of submittals and RFIs. In early talks, representatives from Newforma, Procore, Ryvit, several architects, and GCs teamed up to discuss the problem. We outlined the processes, defined the problem(s), and theorized about a solution. It was those talks that evolved into a partnership between Newforma, Ryvit, and Procore. The three teams then set out to deliver a truly seamless experience between the systems and project stakeholders. You can read the CPC’s most recent report on this evolution here.

There was just one tiny hurdle standing in the way of getting the project off the ground. Newforma hadn’t yet developed an API that could present data externally on a project-by-project basis. Moreover, neither team had ever built this first-of-its-kind integration where each project stakeholder could leverage project-related information within their preferred systems. Ryvit’s iPaaS and tech team proved capable of building such an integration. Newforma committed to investing in their API, and Ryvit committed to building the integration. This laid the plans for the world’s first-ever Construction Data Exchange (CDX) integration.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges or barriers that project teams face when sharing information across platforms?

#1 Not all Data Fields are Created Equal

Digital tools are all created by unique teams. As such, the nuances of each data field within each system can vary significantly. For example, System A might calculate the tax to the 4th decimal, while System B only calculates out to the 3rd. This can create massive differences in rounding when dealing with millions of dollars in ACV. With CDX, these differences are all accounted for automatically. Each project stakeholder is working with only pertinent information in their preferred systems.

#2 – Too Much Time Wasted on Data Entry

The thought of manually entering data into more than one system should send shivers down the spine of any CIO/CTO/CFO. Not only does double entry create extra risk regarding data errors, but it also costs the company wasted time. There is powerful peace of mind when each project stakeholder remains in their preferred system and trusts that the important information is automatically synced to the right data fields on the other side.

#3 Old Processes Are Holding Us Back

Old processes are the product of limited technological capabilities. Prior to the integration between Newforma and Procore, the process involved 5 manual administrative steps. Now, the workflow has been simplified significantly cutting the steps from 5 to 1 for the designer (and they get to stay in Newforma!). This process simplification leads to more accurate work at a higher output for improved turnaround times on RFIs and submittals. The overall project time savings and profitability improvements are massive.

What impact do you think these challenges are having on construction, architectural, and engineering firms?

Globally, the Construction industry is lagging behind other mature sectors such as Education, Finance, and Healthcare, by approximately 3.5% annually. Project management, accounting, and labor management are core to our success. We are allowing our industry to fall short of our potential by $1.6 Trillion each year by not leveraging technology to improve these processes. In the United States alone, nearly a third of all infrastructure projects do not start on time because of all the delays accumulating on projects in motion.

How does the partnership between Newforma and Ryvit address these challenges?

Anytime you can truncate a process, reduce the turnaround time, improve profitability, and enable higher output, you’ve made a positive step in fighting this very big battle. By tackling the submittals & RFI process, design teams and GCs report significant time savings, less headache over red tape and processes, and faster decisions are made more confidently.

What role do you think standards will play in connecting mainstream workflows such as construction administration (CDX discussion)?

Standardization is the foundation by which scalable processes, stakeholder education, and accelerated tech adoption can flourish. But the process by which those standards are created matters. That’s why we’re so heavily involved with the CPC. Their annual AEC iSummit curates the right mix of experts to collaborate on solutions that consider the shared pains of each stakeholder in the process. We hit a home run with the group that tackled the RFI & Submittals process.

How is Ryvit involved with standards development in managing project data?

As the iPaaS, it’s our job to understand what the preferred user experience might be for each project stakeholder. This includes what information they receive, how/when they receive that information, and what they are expected to do with that information. As a result, we play a highly consultative role between each technology team to ensure data flow processes, UX, and data validation is all optimized for scale and adoption throughout the industry.

Do you believe there are any major paradigm shifts that need to occur in the construction industry in order to advance the industry by sharing information across project team stakeholders?

Actually… no. I think the paradigm shift has happened. The desire to leverage technology to achieve optimal project efficiency is here. Now, we simply need to turn that potential into a reality. There are a ton of great people in the industry that are natural-born collaborators connecting the dots between problems and solutions.

But at the same time, I do think we have a lot of work ahead of us. We need to educate the industry about how to leverage technology to achieve our collective goals. Not only had technology already unlocked so much opportunity, but it continues to evolve and become increasingly affordable to deploy. We’ve pioneered quite a bit lately in the way of building new technological capabilities. Now, it’s time to see that technology in action so that we can double down on solutions that work and make adjustments to solutions that need to yield more fruit.

Where do you see the construction industry going in the next 3 to 5 years with regard to sharing project information?

Project data will be accessible to every project stakeholder. This access will be governed by a set of permissions and realized by a set of data flows that are established by decision-makers from each entity involved with completing the project. Each stakeholder will leverage that data within their preferred set of digital tools to help them get their work done at a higher output than ever before. It wouldn’t shock me if AI is commonly assisting in creating data and developing new pathways for data to flow. I also wouldn’t be shocked if projects begin leveraging blockchain to keep a full account of project progress for unprecedented accountability.

Learn more about Newforma’s and Ryvit’s partnership.