We’ve heard time and time again that disparate systems are taking a toll on projects and teams. Systems that don’t communicate with one another create duplicate data entry and version-control issues, and they delay projects.

Data silosDisparate systems are not going away. How can we get them to work together?

A few months ago, we announced the Newforma Cloud Services Connector strategy to address the challenge of disconnected data sources. Today I presented a quick overview of that strategy at Autodesk University 2016. If you missed it, the key takeaway is that Connectors pull data from disparate systems into one place to put data in a project context.

The 2 viewpoints at war in most companies: application context versus project context

Most software and systems are made to do their jobs no matter which project you use them on. Your servers house data from many projects. Your emails concern many projects. You view plans on your tablet with an app that works for any project.

As a result of this application orientation, companies end up with information from different projects scattered across different systems and applications.

Projects, however, want to have their information organized by project. That is, the project record is best when it contains all the emails, all the markups, all the submittals for that one project.

At Newforma, we call that organization of work a project context. It’s the orientation toward information management we took when developing the industry’s first comprehensive solution for design and construction project information management.

Share-manage-collaborateCommon fixes

When you think about your project information management challenges, much of it results from having information scattered across disparate systems, as above. When you search for something, you have to look in many different places. Did we save that file, or is it attached to an email? If saved, where? Locally? In the cloud? On the network? Was it named correctly?

Often the email provides more information about its attachment, which is helpful for context. And those items may be related to a submittal or RFI that provides further context. But all those items may be scattered across multiple places.

If companies do not have the advantage of the Newforma solution, they may address these challenges by instituting rules and aggregating what information they can in one place, whether it’s an engineering content management system or a simple spreadsheet.

We developed our products to eliminate this scattered, disconnected, labor-intensive, error-prone style of information management.

Where Connectors come in

Newforma products aggregate data into a project context. With Newforma Connectors, individual team members can use whatever application they like for a specific task, but they’re spared from keying data into the Newforma platform.

Central data repositoryAs Connectors link more and more applications to the Newforma platform, we’ll solve the challenge of disconnected data sources. People will be able to spend more time doing real work and less time managing data.

At any given time, a company is working on multiple projects, with each project team working with a different construction company and different design partners and consultants. They all use their own systems. You may end up using their systems of choice. Our Connector strategy will help.

What do you think: Are you spending too much time trying to create a project context for data? Can you see how it might help? Leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going.

Marge Hart is the director of product management for Newforma.

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