Friday, 4 June 2010

Coming up in KS..

Just back from a very enjoyable few days in Philadelphia, attending an excellent Bentley conference, Be Together. The keynotes were thought-provoking, the seminars plentiful, the after-hours activities stimulating and the live zone format worked a treat. Slightly earlier promotion of the event next time, coupled with a bit more time between sessions, and it's a winner.

Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is to shed some light on what's coming up on the KS dev side over the summer period. Our technical roadmap has always been, I think it's fair to say, a somewhat fluid affair. We regularly receive tremendously bright feedback from our user-base, which has a direct impact on our delivery schedules. (Especially the really good ideas, when I ask the team, 'Why didn't we think of that!?' ;) ).

So, here's what we're working on over the next 2-3 months, in rough priority order;

System architecture

- Options for admins to deploy test files locally.
- More searching fields in the results look-up area of the dashboard.
- Additional charting options and export of results feature.
- Individual dashboard login for users to track their own test history and results, training recommendations and coaching notes.
- Improved content management tools, for accounts with large question libraries.
Additional benchmark data and statistics for OTS (off-the-shelf) tests.

We're currently working on the following test modules, which will be going live between June and September;

Test Libraries

- MicroStation v8i 2D for occasional users
- AutoCAD 2D for occasional users
- MicroStation v8i 3D fundamentals
- Design Review
- Bentley View
- 3ds Max 2011 (4 modules; Fundamentals, Rendering, Modeling and Maps & Materials)
- Revit MEP (1st of 3 modules)
- Bentley GEOPAK (1st of 4 modules)
- Bentley InRoads (1st of 4 modules)
- Rhino
- Adobe Photoshop
- Google Sketchup
- Bentley ProjectWise
- Bentley Navigator (1st of 2 modules)
- Bentley Structural Modeler
- Civil 3D (1st of 4 modules)

Towards the end of the year, we'll be turning our attention to analysis tools, including; Navisworks Manage, Ecotect, GBS, Hevacomp and IES VE. Bentley RAM and Bentley Map are also coming up more in conversation, so we'll endeavour to squeeze those two in somewhere as well!

As with all technical wish-lists, it's a constant juggle of time and money. With respect to our content libraries, I fear we might have a job for life in attempting to deliver quality test material across such a broad product base! Our challenge is principally that of, 'do we go wide or deep?' i.e. do we attempt to add a wide number of test topics with relatively small question libraries, or do we offer less topics, with greater numbers of questions for each? In truth, there is no right or wrong answer, hence the perpetual juggling act. As in all things we do, the answer ultimately lies with our customers; 'What do they want us to do?', is the question which shapes our ultimate roadmap.

As anyone who develops software or learning material will attest, the job is never truly finished. There will always be a new product update, or a change in technology, or a change in industry direction, or a change in vendor strategy, or yet another acquisition, the list goes on.

Whilst we're pleased with the progress we've made in the arena of CAD, BIM & engineering software skills testing, over the past 7 years or so, I sometimes feel that we're just getting started! The industry has changed rapidly over the past couple of years, impacted in considerable fashion by the twin effects of BIM adoption and economic hardship. And so, inevitably, the technology roadmap for AEC firms has been impacted.

As always, if you have any suggestions, ideas, requests for test content or general feedback, we'd love to hear them. Our own roadmap is, after all, in your hands! :)


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