Friday, 4 May 2012

KS User Group - Summary

Thanks again to everyone who attended the KS user group meeting in London, last week.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable workshop and we covered a lot of ground, during the half day session.

Particular thanks to our hosts, Buro Happold, and our presenters for sharing their time and expertise with the group.

Nick Nisbet gave an excellent overview of why COBie is an essential part of the overall BIM process.

Chris Senior, from Content Studio, talked about an innovative solution for helping AEC firms to manage their Revit Family libraries.

Karen Fugle, from Evolve Consultancy, presented some cool training data, including the following stats from the Annual CAD & BIM Manager survey:
o In 2007 80% of firms had training budget
o In 2008 40% of firms had training budget
o In 2012 its STILL 40%

Paul Woddy, from White Frog, described their modular training content for Revit Architecture, MEP and Structure, plus the links to KnowledgeSmart. Paul also explained what's coming up later in the year, including Civil 3D, Navisworks, AutoCAD and 3ds Max.

We took a sneak peek at some exciting new technology coming later this year from the team at M-SIX. The product is called VEO.

We described in detail the new features in the latest KS system release:
  • New hierarchy of linked accounts
  • View and manage data across multiple accounts
  • Move users, results, library content
  • Apply settings changes across linked accounts
  • Draft content vs Published content
  • New Accounts area; set up new accounts and admins, assign OTS library content
  • New range of admin options and permissions
  • Sub-admin profile for logging into tests from a browser; user self-inviting option
  • New charting tools
  • Update to test invite usernames & passwords 
  • New admin help sheets and blog links

...We talked about what we are working on in the current release:
  • Move KS servers to a cloud-based environment
  • Improved Invites section / test progress reporting
  • Improved precision on ‘free text’ answers
  • New charting & reporting options
  • Auto-grouping of user & results data
  • User feedback options / Request training option
  • Update rich text editing tools
  • Capture additional user demographic data
  • Export question footprint data
  • Content management updates

...And we talked about what new features firms might want us to build over the coming year:
  • Additional reporting & charting options
  • More benchmark stats and user demographic data
  • Links to Intranet/LMS/HR d/base/Active Directory
  • Survey questions / new question types
  • User dashboards
  • Skills matrix 
  • Community content tools / Crowd sourcing
  • Coaching mode
  • Help-desk tools
  • Language translation of most popular test titles

We also discussed the KS library in detail.  Here is our current 'work in progress' list:
  • Navisworks Manage (c. June)
  • Existing Adesk library 2013 updates (c. June)
  • Revit Architecture advanced (c. July)
  • Bentley ProjectWise (c. July)
  • Revit Structure advanced (c. August)
  • Revit for occasional users (c. August)
  • KS Community – Business of BIM
  • Inventor
  • COBie 
  • Codebook

We've also been in direct discussion with a number of vendors this year, following introductions from customers. These include:
  • Codebook (Codebook)
  • Graphisoft Australia (ArchiCAD)
  • Savoy Computing (AutoTrack)
  • Tekla (Tekla Structures)
  • IES (IES VE)
  • Synchro (Synchro)

Last, we took notes on requests for new KS library material.  Here is a list of the most popular requests:
  • Workflows between Autodesk applications
  • Point clouds
  • More ‘process’ oriented tests
  • IFC 
  • BS 1192
  • Project management skills
  • Robot Structural Analysis
  • AutoCAD P&ID
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
  • Oracle Primavera

We wrapped up the day with a discussion of how industry and academia can work more closely together. More to follow shortly on our 'Adopt a College' idea.

Once again, thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to an engaging and enjoyable day.


North America Progress

We saw another KnowledgeSmart first this week... our first ever review on respected industry news site,  Senior McGraw Hill Construction Editor, Tom Sawyer, saw our recent press release about the Club Revit skills contest and got in touch. A number of customers agreed to speak to Tom on our behalf, for which we are extremely grateful, and the resulting article went live this week.

Click here to read Tom's article in full.

It's good timing, as expanding our customer numbers in the US and Canada remains our number one export priority.  Although still early days, we have doubled our customer numbers and revenues over the past year and expect to double again in the year ahead.  Relative to our home market in the UK, we estimate the North America market to be approximately nine times bigger, in terms of the number of target AEC firms.  So we're really just getting started on our NA journey!

It did make me smile when Tom explained that he contacted a couple of well placed contacts at Autodesk and Bentley Systems respectively, to ask their opinion of the service. To which both replied, 'KnowledgeSmart-who?!'.

We already have a small base in Clearwater, FL.  Part of our plan to expand our reach in the US and Canada, is to engage with partners, who are already involved in selling training and BIM consultancy services across the territory.

This week, I'm delighted to report that we signed our first US partner, Kelar Pacific, based in California.  We are looking forward to working with Ed, Lia and the rest of the KP team, to spread the word about skills assessments across the sunny West Coast!

When speaking with Tom at ENR, he was amused to hear the British colloquialism, 'Use a sprat to catch a mackerel'. (In this instance, KS being the proverbial 'sprat'!).  What I meant is that the KS system can act as an enabler for training businesses to sell more of their own learning and development or consulting services. Because our data is independent - and we don't offer training ourselves - firms can be confident that the skills gaps highlighted are genuine.  Further, they can benefit from sharing their results data with training professionals, to map out a cohesive plan for improving performance.

We'll keep you updated, as our journey West of the Atlantic continues..