AEC Cloud Enterprise Hosting? Three Questions Answered

I was up last night thinking about our business and the services it offers. I realized that some of you out there might not fully understand what it is that we do and how we are different for other "Cloud Hosting" companies out there. In this post, I will answer four basic questions about AEC Cloud that hopefully helps clarify who we are and how we can help your business transition to the next level of IT infrastructure and operations.

As always, we are here to help you and answer any questions you might have.

Who is AEC Cloud?

AEC Cloud is a full service, enterprise, cloud hosting company, focused on servicing the AEC Industry (Architecture, Engineering and Construction). 

Our roots in the business started back in 1999, working in IT on construction projects with Turner Construction. We immediately saw that there was a huge gap between traditional IT, and the IT needs of a construction company and their projects. Everything from the software used, to the approach that construction companies take in assessing projects and understanding billing was different.

From those humble beginnings, AEC Cloud has become the leading enterprise cloud hosting company for the AEC Industry for over 16 years. We have literally seen it all, and leading construction firms leverage our knowledge base to help them make the correct decisions for their upcoming IT needs.

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What is AEC Cloud Enterprise Hosting?

AEC Cloud Enterprise Hosting is a business that is focused on the AEC Industry and its specific unique needs. Not every cloud hosting company understands or has ever heard of hosting the software you use everyday in the office and on the job site.

Software such as:

Just to name a few.

And then there is integration of these software suites to leverage the job site data you have into information you can use in real time. Combining information from various software and coming up with new ways to see that data to solve problems and maintain a positive bottom line.

Here at AEC Cloud, we have been working closely with the AEC Industry for over 16 years and know any possible issues, before they become and issue.

Why choose AEC Cloud to participate in your IT requirements?

With over 16 years, solely focused on the AEC Industry's IT needs, we have a deep knowledge base of how to put together seamless projects. Out customers are happy and understand the value of bringing an expert on-board to help guide them through the murky and confusing waters of cloud hosting and technology.

We are NOT a new start-up, that has no history or experience. 

And then there is the overall cost savings and flexibility that AEC Cloud brings to the table.

The following are the other compelling reasons as to why it makes business sense to move your Enterprise Applications to a cloud hosted environment.

  • Staying focused on your core competency vs. IT headaches.
  • Redirecting capital to core business expenses vs upfront costs.
  • Receiving higher quality at a lower cost.
  • Leveraging knowledge and resources from experienced professionals with over 16 years of experience.
  • Production application hosting for all of your software programs.
  • Disaster recovery sites managed.

 

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 16 Years

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300AEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 16 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 16 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 866 417-7230

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

Integration at the Next Level in AEC

Integration. In a word, it’s the promise of a more complete and clear picture of success across the AEC landscape. But as this industry grows increasingly complex, with data coming in from more sources than ever, we must be looking beyond what we typically know about integrated solutions in order to hit the next level of success. Of course, integration is nothing new. It’s part of that age-old dilemma of trying to merge business data together across multiple systems into one easily manageable and universally understandable platform. For AEC, integration is rooted in the idea that if we can, for example, get our project management database to easily translate to our accounting database then we reduce errors and complexity across the business. And that leads to better projects, higher profit margins and repeat business.

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Attempts at integration over the years have come in the form of middleware, code schema, adapters, and industry-wide standards.

But this is a complicated industry. Simply merging data from two or three disparate systems is no longer enough. Just look at the proliferation of new data flowing in from things like building information modeling, mobile apps, cloud-based programs and more.

Integration means new things in the AEC space. And that means looking beyond the AEC space in order to view a model of success.

Lessons from Healthcare I look to a case study from Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH,) a two-site community hospital with leading diagnostic services and clinical programs. The need for integration at MSH looked a bit complicated at the outset:

  • The need to support the healthcare data standard HL7, along with other industry requirements
  • The ability to process hundreds of thousands of messages daily
  • Maintaining near-perfect uptime

Sound familiar? Like a business in AEC, MSH needed to meet a high level of industry requirements for data, while also being able to ensure uptime was never compromised. For a solution, MSH turned to Microsoft BizTalk. BizTalk provides out-of-the box, cloud to on-premises and line-of-business application integration. It allows user to connect with any HTTP, FTP, SFTP, or REST data source

In the case of MSH, BizTalk Server was able to provide a platform that made it easy to modify and create interfaces to support the complex enterprise integration requirements for applications both within the hospital and for external partners. Complicated healthcare-related components had an integration path. And industry-specific components tailored how messages were processed for various healthcare applications. In all, BizTalk Server provided tools to help integrate a complex world like healthcare.

(Biz)Talk of Integration in AEC Microsoft-BizTalk-ServerThe Microsoft BizTalk integration platform is available in a PaaS or Stand Alone deployment model, which means that right off the bat the product is already speaking the language of AEC Cloud.

For AEC Cloud, our solutions help companies that need simplified, secure access to many applications from multiple vendors via one secure, server based solution. This is why our systems are based on a multi-tier configuration that include a dedicated enterprise storage layer, database layer, web services layer, client-server application layer, and collaborative web application layer—all integrated under a Unified Application Management Portal.

So when you look at Microsoft BizTalk, much of the same structure to integration applies. BizTalk will use Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the common data exchange language application integration on the Internet. And the true power, in my opinion, exists within the adapters.

According Microsoft, it will be providing a set of Adapters that connect BizTalk Orchestrations with such applications as Google Apps, QuickBooks, Salesforce.com, SharePoint, and others in a very simple manner. What that ultimately means is the ability to integrate BizTalk Server with all the emerging applications, databases and services that are rapidly becoming a part of the AEC world.

But perhaps more important is the fact that this it will also integrate with all those tried-and-true applications that run your AEC business, like Prolog, Sage, Primavera, Viewpoint, CMiC and others.

In the coming months, I will be taking a deeper look at the topic of integration, and of the Microsoft BizTalk tool in general in the context of the AEC space to see if it truly the tool that can take integration to the next level.

 

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

AEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 212-505-0381

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_167

Case Study: Torcon Increases Productivity with AEC Cloud Hosting

Case Study: Torcon Increases Productivity with AEC Cloud Hosting

The Problem: A Need for Reliable Reporting Capabilities Torcon is a builder that provides construction management and general contracting services to leading corporations and private institutions.

With 175 employees and clients across the country and in Puerto Rico, the company needs to ensure that its employees are connected and can access reports and other information they need.

“We typically have 20 clients, and between 30 and 40 different projects running concurrently,” said Rich Zavali, Engineering Application Manager at Torcon. “We need our staff to have access to database files and other project-related documents, whether they’re at a construction site or working in the office.”

 

The Solution: AEC Cloud’s Hosting Solution Torcon started working with AEC Cloud in 2006.

Before working with AEC Cloud, we had security concerns and our database access was limited,” Zavali said. “AEC Cloud gave us reporting access from different locations, and allowed us to run global reports across different databases.”

Over the years, AEC Cloud worked with Torcon to introduce new applications. Today, their custom solution gives Torcon’s employees access to an integrated package of virtual desktop, document management, financial, and project management tools.

The software package includes:

  • Meridian System’s Prolog Suite,
  • Prolog Converge,
  • and Prolog Connect

AEC Cloud also recently began hosting CMIC, Torcon’s financial software system for the last seven years. Employees can access these tools from a job site, or any of the company’s three offices in New Jersey, Philadelphia, or Puerto Rico.

This increases their productivity and helps them provide better service to clients.

Torcon recognizes the importance of partnering with a company that understands the construction industry and can support the software it uses on a daily basis.

“AEC Cloud understands the products we use and has proven expertise in the Architecture Engineering and Construction industry,” Zavali said. “This allows us to focus on our core business of managing our customers’ projects, and not worry about the technical issues.”

Torcon also appreciates the reliable technical support that AEC Cloud provides. “They provide excellent customer service,” Zavali said. “If there’s a problem, we know we can call a qualified person to help us.

We don’t need separate people to keep our IT systems running, which also enhances our productivity and helps keep operating costs down.”

AEC Cloud is also an expert in ensuring document security. “We’ve had excellent document security and stability over the years,” Zavali explained. “Even though our employees are working at various locations, we never worry about security.

It’s comforting to us and reassuring to our clients.”

Torcon plans to continue working with AEC Cloud for its IT hosting needs. “Partnering with AEC Cloud allows us to focus on our clients and continue providing excellent customer service,” Zavali said. "We’ve increased our efficiency and productivity, which helps us compete more effectively with other companies in our industry."

"AEC Cloud really cares about your business, and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

AEC Cloud understands the products we use and has proven expertise in the Architecture Engineering and Construction industry. This allows us to focus on our core business of managing our customers’ projects, and not worry about the technical issues. Rich Zavali, Engineering Application Manager at Torcon

 

 

 


About The Cram Group & AEC Cloud Since 2001, The Cram Group is a leading Consulting, Hosting, and Development services provider focused on the AEC Industry. Core offerings include education about Cloud Computing and Solutions based on the NIST Cloud Definition; Software for Unified Application Management and Role Specific Applications; and Services from Advisory to Maintenance which are available direct and through a nationwide Certified Partner Network. For more information, call 212-505-0381, or email us sales@aeccloud.com

************ About Torcon Torcon is a builder that provides construction management and general contracting services to leading corporations and private institutions. Headquartered in New Jersey, Torcon is one of the largest, most active builders in the Mid-Atlantic States, as well as the premier construction management company in Puerto Rico. Torcon is ranked among the nation’s 80 largest at-risk construction management companies according to ENR, the industry’s leading publication, and was named ENR-New York’s Contractor of the Year in 2013. For more information, visit www.torcon.com

 

CMFA 2014 Las Vegas: Wesley Smith Presentation (Powerpoint with Audio)

CMFA 2014 Las Vegas Powerpoint presentation by Wesley Smith, with audio discussing cloud hosting for the AEC industry, NIST cloud definition, Public cloud, Hybrid cloud, Private Cloud, Hensel Phelps, Unified Application Management. Learn more about hosting your data and software on servers located outside the physical office, increasing productivity, mobility and lowering cost.

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

 

 

OBA: Daily Work Journal, Sub Form

77677_TOS_9017_DailyWorkJournal_SubForm_Thumbnail v1_0The Daily Work Journal, Sub Form, OBA is an Excel-based form that enables users to create, read, update and delete the details of records in Prolog Manager depending on Prolog Security settings. Installation Requirements

  • Operating System:
    • Windows 7 (64 bit) / Windows 8.1 (64bit)
  • Microsoft Office:
    • Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2013 (64 bit)
  • Prolog Connect:
    • Prolog Connect Version 1.01.0128
  • Other Softwares:
    • Microsoft .Net 4.0 Framework or higher

 

You can learn more about this OBA by viewing the PDF file here

 

Office Business Applications

(OBAs) built on the Microsoft Office Business Application framework, are a great way to extend your Line of Business (LOB) applications so you can capture critical information that lives in spreadsheets and work offline without missing a beat.

Would you like to…

  • Use Excel with Prolog and other AEC Industry applications?
  • Utilize standard forms everyone already understands?
  • Update information in minutes vs. hours?
  • Work online or offline from anywhere anytime?
  • Stop mapping fields and supporting import/export issues?

A common example of using OBAs in the AEC Industry is with Prolog (a construction project management application).  Users can work in Microsoft Excel to manage information related to submittals, punch list, and most other feature.  Using an OBA based on Excel, you can use our standard forms or base them on yours.  While OBAs work great with Prolog, OBAs can be used with any application that has web services.

The OBA Store is the online source for Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBAs).  We have standard OBAs for most features supported by Prolog and are always looking to build them for other Line of Business applications based on client demand and Vendors opening up their web service technologies.  Get a free account to access and browse to the largest catalog of OBAs for the AEC Industry!

Sign Up Here or Login Here if you already have an account.

The OBA Cloud is the online source for hosting Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBAs).  When combined with The OBA Store there’s simply no better way to buy, manage, and deploy your OBAs.
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Catalog #: 77677

Constructech Technology Day 2013 | Cloud Exhibit, Expert Discussions & More

We are looking forward to Constructech Technology Day 2013.

Event Activities:

We will be exhibiting in the vendor showcase so come by and visit us.  As always, we will have experienced staff on site prepared to talk about real, in depth, end to end cloud solutions and issues facing the AEC Industry.

Jeremy Sibert, Director of IT, Hensel Phelps and Wes Smith, Cloud Executive Officer, The Cram Group, are speaking, October 4th @ 2:25 PM.  The topic is Big Data and Business Intelligence.

AEC Industry Competencies:

If you are not familiar with us, we are one of the longest running, innovative providers of cohesive solutions including hosting, software, and services for the AEC Industry.  We have been responsible for or part of teams that have implemented large and small scale solutions from a range of companies from owners like The New York Times, to North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System and The Pentagon Renovation Program to a range of global and regional builders like Hensel Phelps, Turner, Torcon and The J Companies.

Why is this important?  This means in addition to our unique understanding of the AEC Industry and related end to end IT management , we get the nuances of managing the software, platform and infrastructure IT layers required to run the products both individually and as part(s) of a cohesive system.

Connect with Us:

If you are interested in learning more, a demo or discussing options around solutions for the AEC Industry, please visit us at the conference or contact us using the options below.

Contact Info: The Cram Group Contact Info

Web Form: AECCloud Information Request

Twitter: AECCloudCom

Unified Cloud Solutions Presentation

We recently spoke @ Viewpoint Collaborate 2013 on Unified Cloud Solutions.  We covered a range of solutions topics including Unified Application Management, Business Intelligence, Integration and Interoperability.  To illustrate these solutions, we used examples from our work at the Pentagon, New York Times, and other clients as well as a range of AEC vendor offerings. Based on a range of feedback, our demystification of Cloud and our vision of the future is a great framework for getting non technical and technical teams on a level playing field for communication.

Click Here to Request a Copy!

Viewpoint Collaborate 2013 | Cloud Exhibit, Expert Discussions & More

We are looking forward to Viewpoint Collaborate 2013.

Event Activities:

We will be exhibiting in the vendor showcase so come by and visit us in booth #5.  As always, we will have experienced staff on site prepared to talk about real, in depth, end to end cloud solutions vs. sales and marketing fluff.

Our President and Cloud Executive Officer Wes Smith is speaking at Collaborate 2013 on Wednesday, September 18th, 10:30AM.  The topic is Unified Cloud Solutions for Efficiency and Productivity.   Wes has been a guest speaker at 4 past Viewpoint events as well as numerous events for ENR and Constructech Magazines.

We also have a group of runners that are planning to meet a few mornings to get to know each other a bit better and burn off some of that great food from the famous Portland gourmet food trucks.

Viewpoint Competencies:

We are a Viewpoint Development partner and our competencies around Viewpoint products include Application Hosting, Unified Application Management Software, Mobile Software, and advanced technical services for V6, Content Manager and other products.

AEC Industry Competencies:

If you are not familiar with us, we are one of the longest running, innovative providers of cohesive solutions including hosting, software, and services for the AEC Industry.  We have been responsible for or part of teams that have implemented large and small scale solutions from a range of companies from owners like The New York Times, to North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System and The Pentagon Renovation Program to a range of global and regional builders like Hensel Phelps, Turner, Torcon and The J Companies.

Why is this important?  This means in addition to our unique understanding of the AEC Industry and related end to end IT management , we get the nuances of managing the software, platform and infrastructure IT layers required to run the products both individually and as part(s) of a cohesive system.

Connect with Us:

If you are interested in learning more, a demo or discussing options on Viewpoint products as part of a Unified Cloud Solution, please contact us [Click Here] and we can schedule an appointment at Viewpoint Collaborate 2013 or any time that is convenient for you.

Contact Info: The Cram Group Contact Info

Web Form: AECCloud Information Request

Twitter: AECCloudCom

AGC IT Forum 2013 | TCG & Hensel Phelps Speaking on Unified Cloud Based Solutions for Efficiency and Productivity

Please join us in Chicago on Wednesday, August 14 and Thursday, August 15, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for the 5th annual AGC IT Forum Conference where great peer-to-peer collaboration and networking are central! This year the theme is Strong IT Knowledge Driving Excellent Business Decisions.  [Official Event Site].  There are a number of great speakers covering Interoperability, Integration, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, and Mobility including industry colleagues of ours from  COSA & Burger Consulting. Our session is Thursday, August 15th, Details are below:

CONFERENCE SESSION:  Unified Cloud Based Solutions for Efficiency and Productivity

Jeremy Sibert, Director of Technology,  Hensel Phelps Construction Co. Wes Smith, President, The Cram Group

No single shoe fits all sizes, likewise no isolated application can address all of a companies needs.  Jeremy Sibert (Hensel Phelps Construction Co.) and Wes Smith (The Cram Group) will discuss the benefits of harnessing a range of applications and their vision for unified, interoperable solutions for the AEC Industry.  Topics such as the NIST Cloud definition, unified application management, business intelligence, integration and agcXML standards will be included.  Several examples will be demonstrated.

 

The 2nd Annual Construction Technology Integration Report

JB Knowledge, one of our colleagues via COSA and the AEC Industry Technology provider landscape, is conducting the 2nd Annual Construction Technology Integration Survey.  If you’re a construction professional and have five minutes to spare, they would greatly appreciate you completing their survey. Last year, over 450 builders completed the survey, answering questions about the technology they employ and how they are integrating data across stages of construction. This year, they are investigating how cloud solution adoption among construction professionals has changed over the last year. In addition, the survey aims to reveal how fears of security in the cloud conflict with builders’ needs for customization, integration, mobilization and collaboration.  For completing the five minute survey, they will send you a complimentary copy of the results and full report after they are presented in August at the AGC IT Forum.  You can find the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VHHFS3L

The Business of Intelligence in the AEC Industry

Pardon my play on words...let's dive into the deep pool of Business Intelligence (BI).  BI is often confused with reporting since the end result is well, a report, or looks like one.  But BI goes far beyond typical reporting.  A good BI strategy is meant to provide information that enables better decision making far beyond single projects, PCOs or RFI logs. An example for the AEC Industry would be correlating square footage to cost of construction.  This in turn might help correlate cost per patient room or bed in a hospital.  That might be useful to look at revenue and profit per unit as well.  Clearly this can apply to any space type, but I like this example because it's easy to see how data from Accounting, Project Management, Scheduling and Building Information Models could be used.  I also have a fair amount of experience with this from prior work with North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System (NSLIJ).

If your interested in more on the general concept of BI, I've included a couple sources for you that are reasonably applicable to any industry.

Like my example and the few references indicate, optimally you would leverage information from many sources allowing business people to perform analytics and have a more clear picture of indicators (typically called KPI's) for making business decisions.  BI could also come from one source like Accounting or Project Management which may be of value but does usually not give the complete picture.  This is in part why there was a case for "all in ones" in the early/mid 2000's.  At that time technology was limited in being able to connect many disparate systems whether it was the same vendor or multiple vendors products.  That was ok when all you had was Accounting and Project Management but now that we have 10 or more relevant sources, how do we deal with that?

Enter the Cloud Computing era and Essential NIST Characteristics like On Demand Self Service coupled with underlying technologies like Web Services and interoperable integration APIs that have proliferated to make BI easier.  If you digested this so far without glazing over, stay tuned for a a dive into more on how to connect to all these sources, possibly aggregate them, and a few ways that is done in the modern, cloud based world.

Cloud Interoperability, Open Standards & Integration for the AEC Industry

So you want to work toward more interoperable, integrated, user friendly solutions? That's a mouthful so let's break this down a bit. When we talk interoperability, we are looking at getting several different information silos to "talk" to each other in a seamless manner. Common AEC Industry examples might be Accounting or BIM software talking to Project Management software. Another common example is getting Project Management information out to the field and various mobile devices. The reason we want to do this is to reduce double entry and deliver more real time information, thus creating more high value time for users to focus on the business of building. This article is focused on interoperability and open standards. For more information on the process of integration and the cloud based technology utilized, see previous articles on Integration [Read More] and Web Services [Read More].

When we talk open standards, we mean a standard for interoperability, that is common among all similar types of software. For example, an open standard for Requests for Information (RFI's) would allow all software that relies on RFI's to exchange that information seamlessly. If an interoperable solution was also based on open standards, then not only would you be able to integrate your current software applications, but in theory you could change one of them in the future and have a more seamless transition to a product better suited to your needs at that time. Some reasons for this might be growth, downsizing, or simply a vendor has come up with a much better user experience or price. So in the perfect world the AEC Industry would benefit the most from interoperable solutions based on open standards.

But what if my vendor says they already offer an interoperable solution? Some software vendors advertise that their solutions are interoperable off the shelf. This may be true, however it does not mean they are built on open standards. The solution could simply be a proprietary vendor solution where two products are owned by the same vendor and they have built a proprietary standard for integration between only those products. While this may initially seem like a bad idea (typically categorized as vendor lock in), many times these proprietary standards can become open standards. When you are doing diligence to buy, if the options for both interoperable and open solutions are limited, then going with a proprietary interoperable solution from a dominant vendor may likely become the open standard. Let's move past the Vendors and on to what's best for the AEC Industry.

Regardless of the type of interoperability and standards, integration itself can mean many different things to different people. Integrations may also be based on many different technologies. Generally, when discussing information technology, there are at least two broad areas of processes that companies are looking to integrate.

IT Processes; for example functions that handle single sign on (SSO), Authentication, Authorization, or lower level tasks like database or project provisioning. All of these can result in a simpler user experience and a "self provisioning" layer or wrapper around applications and information. These are typically suited to the management of IT in general, not just the AEC Industry.

Business Process; for example integration of data between Line of Business (LOB) applications like Financials, Project Management, Design, etc… Integrating financial data between Sage 100, 200 or 300 and Primavera Contract Management or Meridian Systems Prolog Manager is a common request in the is category. Another example is integration of LOB applications and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) applications like Construction Imaging, ProjectWise or SharePoint to improve collaboration, systems of record and reduce storage.

Both the IT and Business process note above can result in more high value time for end users. Still being very broad, with some basic knowledge of interoperability and open standards, you can have a good premise to logically work from. Whether you are a business analyst looking to buy products based on open standards or you are a vendor looking to incorporate open standards, these are at least a good jump off point to the deep landscape of information on the interwebs.

Standards Organizations like ISO, ITIL, and NIST generally act as non profit organizations making sense out of the worlds issues and attempting to put forth guidelines that blend between government and commercial interests on behalf of consumers. These groups generally spawn sub organizations that adapt for specific needs of vertical issues for example like the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry would have.

There is a general consensus in the AEC industry that Building Information Models (BIM) are at least the starting point for all the information that goes into the plan, build operate, or design, build, operate life cycle of any facility. There are however other construction phase office or project management process related information like contracts, field reports, RFI's and submittals which generally do not wholly fit into BIMs. It is important however that this range of informations is fundamentally compatible, and so standards are a good idea.

Within the AEC Industry, various bodies exist that are working to facilitate the standards for interoperability I've pointed out a few organizations and standards below in alphabetical order. Descriptions are from their websites.

agcXML Project: The agcXML project will result in a set of XML schemas that will enable design and construction professionals to reliably exchange project information among dissimilar and proprietary software applications, without requiring the re-engineering or redesign of those applications.

http://agcxml.org

BuildingSMART: Developers and curators of the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), buildingSMART International is a neutral, international and unique non for profit organization supporting open BIM through the life cycle. We have regional chapters in Europe, North America, Australia, Asia and Middle East.

http://www.buildingsmart.org/standards/

bulidingSMARTAlliance: The Industry's One-Stop Source for Information on BIM & the Built Environment. The buildingSMART alliance™ is a unique organization helping to make the North American real property industry more efficient by leading the creation of tools and standards that allow projects to be built electronically before they are built physically using Building Information Modeling.

http://www.buildingsmartalliance.org/index.php/standards/

Construction Open Software Alliance (COSA): The Construction Open Software Alliance is a community of software developers and providers who support an open standard in construction software applications, in order to provide the most useful, integrated solutions to the end-user.

http://constructionosa.org

National BIM Standard: The National BIM Standard-United States™ (NBIMS-US™) provides consensus based standards through referencing existing standards, documenting information exchanges and delivering best business practices for the entire built environment. With open BIM standards we can build detailed models then deliver accurate products that can be used during commissioning and operation to ensure facility functionality throughout the life of the facility and to deliver high performance, carbon neutral, and net zero energy based facilities.

http://www.nationalbimstandard.org/nbims-us-v2/pdf/pdf_index.php

For non-technical or technical readers its a good idea to simply know these entities exist and at a minimum you can reference them in understanding where the technologies you work with fit in your interoperable solution strategy. Perhaps becoming members of a few would benefit you and the organizations to further promote adoption of standards.

TCG announces AECCloud Suite 2013 for the AEC Industry

New Press release out today.  The Cram Group announces AECCloud Suite 2013 for the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Industry.  Next level cloud service delivers business driven transparency for industry specific IT solutions. [View Press Release]