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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Everyone's model of work is a job- BIM in real life

Another Seth Godin clip about workflow, process and technoloBgy. You've been brainwashed to stick with status quo. Meanwhile, I've been preaching the opposite.
I've come up with some executive job titles for those with their head in the sand.
The first is CE-Uh Oh. The second is CEOhNo. These are the kings of status quo, job security and denial.

I had an experience over the past two weeks that I'll share with you. I had a problem with my cellphone. There was an intermittent short that sometimes I couldn't hear the caller. I'd have to press on the face of the phone in order to get the earpiece to work. I went to two different Sprint stores. Although the problem was happening a minute before I walked into the store, each time I walked in and handed it to a tech, it worked fine. When I had my computer consulting business, my walking into to a client had the same effect, so I now understand their frustration. My phone also had a crack on the side. It's a known problem for older batches of the phone and when the tech looked at the phone at the second Sprint store, she handed me the replacement insurance card and said it was an insurance issue, not warranty. It didn't matter that the earpiece didn't work, they were told to send it through insurance.

Well, this brings up two topics and this involves all of you. In all of my involvement with Sprint, the same two things kept popping up that made me angry. "Policies and procedures" & "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish". Sprint's policies and procedures prevent their sales and technical staff to make a decision. While talking to their district manager on Friday, she told me that the polices and procedures are 'guidelines' for the staff. On the other hand, they're also trying to make sure to cut costs and place the burden of any problem on the customer, wear and tear, abuse, water damage and anything else that takes the burden off of them to pay for replacement phones. As an employee, an individual right now during the recession, wants to make sure they keep their job. That means adhering strictly to the policies and procedures and to cut costs whenever possible. What does this all mean? Well, that the staff can't make a decision. More that they won't make a decision that may result in their losing their job because they cost the company money. What does this mean to you and me? Well, that we get pissed off at the system and say that we're going to another carrier.

This ties in directly to you, me and Autodesk. As an example, here's an email we received last week from a customer:

LOOKS LIKE WHEN SALES GO DOWN, THE PRICES GO UP TO KEEP PROFITS. MAKES SENSE? I WILL BE GOING TO ANOTHER PROGRAM OR KEEP WHAT I HAVE
First of all, the prices haven't gone up. The customer has a copy of AutoCAD 2006. On 12/1/07, I sent him a quote to crossgrade his AutoCAD 2006 to Revit Arch Suite for $1295. Last March, his software was retired and it's now $4195 to do the same thing. He was on subscription and decided to stop renewing in 2005. It would have been much cheaper for him to have stayed on subscription than to now have to pay for a Legacy upgrade. For the second part of going to another program or keep what he has, well, it's not Autodesk forcing you to use their software, it's owners, government bidding requirments, RFP requirements, consultants and others. Can he keep what he has? Sure. But, will others work with him if he doesn't use software that has a file format more compatible with others who hire him? Less and less as time goes on. The fantasy of "going to another program" is stupid. Do you think other software companies don't charge for software, subscription, training and support? WTF? Sure, I could threaten Sprint with going to Verizon, but I'd still have to pay for a new phone and pay monthly for cellular service. Do I live in the fantasy world that threatening them to leave will lead me to a free phone and free phone service? Don't you think Verizon's customers are doing the same thing and going over to Sprint? At the end of the day, it's a wash. But, I'd have the burden of transferring all of my contacts to a new phone, potentially learning a new phone operating system, figuring out their customer service system and I don't know what areas have weak coverage.

That brings me to Penny Wise and Pound foolish. From the vendor's side, does Sprint not replacing my phone hurt me or hurt them? If I left them, it would hurt them. My company has over 30 phone lines with Sprint. That would hurt them in losing our account because they wouldn't replace my phone. But, we'd have to move to a different provider, get all new phones, get new chargers, extra batteries, transfer data and that would cost my company lost time and money. The lack of decision making by their staff and holding firm to the policy of stating that the phone was cracked by my abuse, would have saved them a few dollars but cost them more in the long run.

Well, my story has a happy ending. From one of my favorite websites, Consumerist.com, I sent an EECB, better known as an Executive Email Carpet Bomb. I sent an email to all of the top executives at Sprint that I found on Consumerist.com Sprint posts. I got a response from their Customer Experience Executive and 10 minutes later a call from their South Florida District Manager. Within 30 minutes from that call, I received a call from a store manager telling me that they had a new phone waiting for me to replace my broken one. I had found two people who were capable of making decisions, keeping a customer happy and I can now tell you that I still love Sprint, their phones, coverage and especially their cellular data coverage and pricing. Am I suggesting you do this with Autodesk in regard to the customer I wrote about above? Well, let me give you a little more information. First, I'm literally one of the very first Sprint customers in Florida. I've been a loyal customer for 13 years. Also, my company spends over $30,000 a year for service with them. An Autodesk customer who hasn't updated their software in 4 years, doesn't invest in subscription or training, doesn't have the leverage to complain about the prices going up and that they have to upgrade every year. The reality is, the software really hasn't gone up in price. Even with the new simplified pricing plan that starts 3/16/10, if you upgrade AutoCAD every 3 years, that's $1800. Under the new plan, it's $2000. We're talking $200, not a huge sum.

Let's break this down a little more. If subscription for AutoCAD is $450/year and there are 2080 work hours per year, that 22 cents per hour. If you're billing at $55, $85 or $125 per hour, what's 22 cents in the scheme of things? Revit subscription works out to 35 cents an hour over a year. Even an AutoCAD upgrade works out to 29 cents/hour. For the AIA West Palm Beach convention the other night, I had a chart for people to see the cost per hour to crossgrade to Revit, including training, support and implementation for a firm. From AutoCAD 2010, for a firm of 10 people, it would cost $1.48/hour/person over a 3 year time period to be fully transitioned to BIM.

I'll finish up with this. Let's take 3 people at that firm working on a 6 month design project. 3 people * $1.48 * 1000 hours equals $4440. That's your invested cost for BIM. If you used CAD, had discrepancies or an issue that caused one $5,000 change order for the client, what would they say about your paying $4400 or them having to shell out $5000. We know from history that many projects end up being 5 to 10% over budget. So we take a $5,000,000 project, and 5% in change orders adds up to $250,000. Take your $4,400 that you didn't want to spend and compare that to the $250,000 that the owner ended up paying.

Now you know why the current system is broken. It's why owners and contractors are demanding BIM. It's why I write this blog and they way too long posts. You're crying about spending a few pennies and costs your clients millions of dollars. Think about your policies and procedures, workflow and process, being penny wise and pound foolish. Read Seth Godin's blog daily (sethgodin.typepad.com). Be vocal in your own firms. Tell your principals about the benefits of BIM. Engage Autodesk and your reseller (me) in your conversation. If you think you can keep not paying for software or subscription, maintain the status quo, continue to be brainwashed into thinking that drawing lines, circles and arcs all day, then please don't change a thing. There are a million others who are, so they'll get the higher fees and more work.

Now, Seth's blog post that created the thought for the rant above:

Source: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/02/everyones-model-of-work-is-a-job.htm

The reason you feel most comfortable with a job (unless, like me, you're in the minority--a job would destroy my psyche) is that you've been brainwashed by many years of school, socialization and practice. I pick the word brainwashed carefully, because it's more than training or acclimation. It's something that's been taught to you by people who needed you to believe it was the way things are supposed to be.
If you're a boss, you need applicants, lots of them, to keep the wages you have to pay nice and low. And so the more people who believe they need a job, the better it is for you.
I don't believe that everyone should be an entrepreneur or a freelancer, that everyone should quit their job and go work for themselves. I do believe this:
The less a project or task or opportunity at work feels like the sort of thing you would do if this is just a job, the more you should do it.
Source: Everyone's model of work is a job

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