Thursday, October 25, 2012

Misnomer Department: “File in Newforma”

It’s common to employ a phrase that misstates the way our software works. We at Newforma are as guilty as anyone.

File folders in colorsWhen you use Newforma software to file email  with other documents on your servers, you probably say, “I filed it in Newforma.”

The problem with “filing in Newforma” is that that phrasing suggests Newforma software is a database repository. Not so.

Newforma software does not change the way you store your documents. You file (or misfile) documents on your network, as always.

As for email, it may appear that you’re filing “in Newforma,” but in truth, you’re simply handing the email to Newforma to be filed on your network. It would be more accurate to say you are “filing it through Newforma,” “using Newforma” or “via Newforma.”

Regardless, the Newforma server indexes the contents of your network, just as Google indexes the World Wide Web, so that everything is easy to find.

So now you know the distinction. If you like, file it away for future reference.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Punch List Pictures – Old and New

Punch list detail - old wayA customer submitted this demonstration of the way they would point out problems in punch list items before they started using our Punch List tablet app.

Contrast that labor-intensive approach to the way we do it with the app, using built-in markup tools.

Newforma_Punch_List-iPad-fire_extinguisherGranted, the Newforma method is not as sociable. The person doing the walk-through can do it alone, without a companion. But aside from that minor drawback (and I’m kidding, of course), I suspect most people would rather use the markup tools.

Newforma Punch List tablet app - marked-up photo

The app’s integration with our enterprise software saves time managing the captured items, too. As Array HFS’s Jolene Worobetz tweeted, she was able to punch a job yesterday and issue the list to the contractor this morning!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Project Information Management Systems at Cross-Purposes

Newforma is reconciling two approaches to PIM. Consider:

Suboptimized PIM diagramThe purple, horizontal bar shows project information managed across the enterprise. This is a preferred method for design firms. Among other benefits, it permits you to tailor your processes to your organization.

By contrast, the green, vertical bar shows how project information managed across the project provides one PIM platform for the entire project team. This is a preferred method for construction companies. Its costs can be borne as part of the project.

How can you get these two approaches to work together?

Optimized PIM diagramThe Newforma solution is simple: Offer both systems, and allow the two systems to talk to each other. Newforma-to-Newforma connectivity is how we do it.

(Newforma to Newforma also permits multiple enterprise customers to share files as if the different companies were on the same network!)

For more information, read our Newforma to Newforma tech brief.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Newforma Project Cloud Webinar, October 12th

If you're interested in learning more about the latest addition to the Newforma product family, Newforma Project Cloud, you'll definitely want to check out our next live webinar being held on Friday, October 12th at 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (-4 UTC).

Scott Baldermann, LEED AP, Director of Cloud Solutions, will show you how every workflow related to construction administration, document approval, PDF markup and general communication can be automated to increase efficiency and improve collaboration.

Topics we'll cover in the webinar include:
  • Automate administration by removing manual processes
  • Reduce document redundancy
  • Eliminate need to download/upload documents for reviewing
  • Markup central documents via the web
  • Weekly email reminders for reviewers
  • Pre-define email distribution based on trades and disciplines

Event Date:  Friday, October 12 @12:00 PM EDT

Sign Up Online:  Click Here to Register

We look forward to seeing you at the webinar!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How the Action Items activity center tames email, keeps me current and prevents tasks from slipping through cracks

I wonder if your brain operates like mine?

1. Because my memory is poor, I make notes of what I need to do.

Sticky note man2. Because email is essentially a series of notes, I save them to recall what needs to be done.

3. To recall where I’ve saved emails, I put them in places designated for those purposes. (By whatever odd tweak of neurochemistry, I can remember places and spaces.)

Ergo, to know what needs to be done, I go to the places where I save things.

Why I love the Newforma Action Items activity center

The Action Items activity center provides me with an organized, convenient place to organize notes, emails and documents related to a given task.

Filing emails is easy. I click “Send and File in Project” to place emails in whichever Action Item is appropriate. Or I just drag them from Outlook and drop them in the activity center.

For example, I’m working on a new brochure for the Newforma Design Suite of products. Like most projects, it has proceeded in fits and starts. To see where I left off, all I need do is skim the most recent emails.

Never got a reply from my last request? Just send that email again, schedule a meeting, or phone to follow up.

Action Items markup

Everything related to the action item shows up in one place. Documents are filed where they belong, but they appear here!

Like the old days, only better

In the days of paper, I would file my notes and project information in folders. When I switched to Microsoft Office Outlook email, I took to making notes and copying emails in Outlook Tasks created for each project.

Newforma Action Items allow me to organize work the same way, only more easily.

And that’s how I’ve come to be such a good manager.  Winking smile