Partnering with Our Customers to Improve Construction: Highlights from the Virtual Customer Workshop 2020 

emea customer workshop autodesk

It has always been inspiring to work with businesses in the construction industry.  

But recently, construction firms have been achieving particularly incredible things – coping with the disruption of COVID-19, transforming rapidly to meet new needs and continuing to deliver essential construction services, in the most difficult circumstances. 

Right now, it’s more important than ever for our team at Autodesk to understand the experiences of construction businesses, to use their insights to develop technology that will keep the industry advancing. 

That’s why in June we hosted our EMEA Customer Workshop for 2020. Since 2013, we’ve been hosting workshops in locations from Zurich to Farnborough – but this year, for the first time, we welcomed 100 customers from 25 countries virtually. 

The sessions were an opportunity for attendees to share their experiences of this unprecedented environment and discuss the role of technology in responding to change. 

We also shared details about what’s new in the Autodesk Construction Cloud – our group of tools spanning design, plan, build and operate workflows, so that businesses can realise the value of digital across the whole building lifecycle. 

Read on for highlights from the workshop. 

Technology in Action: KEO and Skanska 

One of the highlights from the first day of the conference was hearing how businesses have been using technology, particularly in response to the pandemic. 

For KEO International Consultants, the focus was establishing a common data environment (CDE)

Juan Tena Florez, Regional Digital Design Manager, discussed how KEO now uses BIM 360 as a CDE across their international offices.  

“By using BIM 360, our in-house or extended teams delivering to clients have had the ability to collaborate on projects from different office locations, across organisations, and this includes the remote workforce. We source the best talent for our clients, and right now we have contributors from as far afield as New Zealand, across Europe and over to the West Coast of the USA. Digitalisation is the only way to achieve this, and we are constantly deploying new online capabilities to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of our deliverables,” Juan outlines. 

This single source of truth has enabled the business to improve collaboration and realise time saving of 89%. 

Additionally, the cloud technology helped their international teams to stay productive while working remotely during the Covid-19 disruption.  

Meanwhile, for Skanska, digital technology has helped to improve collaboration on complex infrastructure projects in the utilities sector. 

Rob Hicks, Digital Lead at Skanska UK, outlined how BIM 360 has supported @OneAlliance in the delivery of clean water and recycling of dirty water.  

“We can see exactly what stage every document is at as the project progresses, pulling up lists of incomplete reviews as needed,” explained Rob. “It gives everyone in the alliance better visibility, which helps to cement the great relationships that we already have between stakeholders.”  

Using BIM 360 has eliminated document management tasks, and the weekly time saved is 7.8 hours, equivalent to 20% of a 37.5-hour week. 

On both of these projects, the Autodesk team worked in close partnership with the companies. And now, we’re using their experiences to power further product developments. 

The Evolving Autodesk Construction Cloud  

Another key part of the workshop was sharing details on the newly expanded Autodesk Construction Cloud, our group of tools which now includes Assemble, BuildingConnected and PlanGrid in addition to BIM 360. 

In recent months, we’ve released a number of features designed to support firms across the whole construction lifecycle, with deep integrations between each platform. 

One session focused on the power of digital preconstruction, with details of the design and preconstruction toolset that enhance decision-making and communication from the earliest stages of the product: 

  • Design: 360 design collaboration, model coordination and design tool integration. 
  • Assemble: A recent addition to the Autodesk Construction Cloud that empowers project teams to condition and leverage model data across the construction lifecycle. 
  • BuildingConnected: Delegates were given a sneak peek of BuildingConnected, a crowd-sourced, real-time tender management solution to support contractors and owners with the bidding process. This powerful tool will be available in the UK and Ireland later in 2020.  

On-site construction was the focus of other sessions, exploring the new features in BIM 360 and PlanGrid. Tools are available to support project management, cost control, field collaboration, insights and life cycle management. 

The workshops were also designed to gather our customers’ views on the developments that would benefit them the most. Our attendees had an opportunity to provide ‘hands on’ feedback to help shape product development – and we’ll share details of what’s coming at a later date. 

Truly Connected Construction 

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the whole workshop was connecting with people in construction throughout EMEA. 

We repeatedly heard about how the close links between the Autodesk team and our customers have led to outstanding outcomes, as construction firms continually improve how they work. 

“It was really valuable to share time with our customers and discuss their experience and requirements. The interaction in the breakout sessions was extremely helpful to build stronger relationships and support product development of the Autodesk Construction Cloud.  We were encouraged by the positive feedback from delegates on the insight and benefits they gained from the workshop. They also appreciated the opportunity to network over the three days, albeit virtually!” Matt Keen, senior industry strategist ACS. 

It was also incredibly valuable to hear about what businesses need from their technology going forward – and we’ll use this insight to power our plans. 

As well as discussing best practice throughout construction, we aimed to support wellbeing in the industry. For every response to our pre-workshop survey, ACS donated £25 to Mates in Mind. The charity provides valuable support to address mental health within the workplace across industries focusing on construction.  

We’re constantly inspired by what our customers achieve – and hearing the views of construction firms enables us to keep improving our technology, to deliver what you need. 

Thanks to everyone who came along. We’ll continue to host customer workshops going forward – whether virtually or in person!  

Ilai Rotbaein

Ilai Rotbaein, Senior Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions