Choose your Common Data Environment (CDE)

Die Wahl des richtigen CDEs ist ein entscheidender Schritt für die Implementierung von BIM in einem Projekt. Das Common Data Environment (auch CDE genannt) stellt einen der Schlüsselfaktoren für den Erfolg eines Bauprojekts dar, da sie einen direkten Einfluss auf das Projektmanagement hat. Es versteht sich von selbst, dass Sie bei der Auswahl Ihres CDE sehr vorsichtig sein müssen. Eine falsche Wahl kann schnell sehr schädlich für Ihre finanzielle Gesundheit werden und den Bau Ihres Projekts um mehrere Monate verzögern. Darüber hinaus ist die Zahl der CDEs in den letzten Jahren ziemlich stark gestiegen, und es wird immer schwieriger, das richtige auszuwählen. Aus diesem Grund haben wir eine kleine Checkliste erstellt, um Ihnen bei der Auswahl zu helfen, die perfekt zu Ihren Bedürfnissen passt. Wenn die Auswahl eines CDEs nicht einfach ist, ist ein Ausstieg während des Projektsnoch einmal ein ganzes Stück härter! Wenn Sie mehr über die CDEs wissen möchten, können Sie hierden Artikellesen, den wir zu diesem speziellen Thema geschrieben haben.

1. The functionalities

The functionalities will certainly be the first thing you will analyze. The technical specifications constitute the heart of your project, so you will have to assess minutely the different common data environment to find the perfect fit. Most of the CDEs have common basic functionalities and provide a similar offer, however, some of them can offer the extra feature that you desperately need. As a piece of first advice, list all the CDE you have identified and test them if they give you that opportunity. You will then have to answer the following questions to determine the right solution for your project:

  • Does the solution allow me to respect the BIM execution plan of my project?
  • Is it compatible with the file formats that my team will use, especially the IFC? Native files?
  • Can access rights be configured according to the responsibilities and missions of the different stakeholders?
  • Does it allow the implementation of workflows that my project requires?
  • Is the CDE accessible on every device (desktop, iOS, Android, tablet)?
  • Is the CDE accessible without a network connection?
  • Does the CDE offer interoperability between the software used in the project?
  • Does the CDE provide plugins (Revit, Archicad, Naviswork, Tekla, Solibri, etc.)?
  • Does the common data environment provide analytical dashboards to measure the efficiency of the different actions?

2. The ease of use

The user experience is definitely the most difficult category to analyze because it can be very subjective. We have listed some questions that can help you. Needless to say, that it is essential to test the different platforms to see the CDE that suits you best. If you do not have this possibility, try to get some feedback directly from users or have a look at websites such as Capterra or G2. These websites are comparing thousands of software and collect relevant feedback from verified users. Here are some questions that can help you define the user experience:

  • Is the CDE accessible online, via a simple browser, without installing third-party software?
  • Can it be used without intervention on my information system but also on the stakeholders' ones who will be involved in the project?
  • Is there any free trial period to test out the CDE?
  • Is the CDE easy to use? Can people with little knowledge of BIM manage the tool easily?
  • Does the CDE have a smooth user experience? Is it possible to handle the tool without external help?
  • Does it have great support such as video tutorials, user manuals, FAQs?

3. The pricing

The pricing is obviously a key element that will help you choose the right common data environment for your project. According to the features you need and the number of stakeholders involved in the project, the price may vary a lot. So, you should make sure to answer all these questions in order to avoid bad surprises during the execution phase of your project.

  • How much does it cost? Do you need to pay on a monthly basis or annually?
  • How many people will use the CDE?
  • What is the pricing model of the CDE (pay per user, pay per project, pay per size of the project, etc.)?
  • Will my CDE budget be under control if new stakeholders are added?
  • Is support provided in the plan?
  • Are training courses offered or do you have to pay extra costs for them?

4. The service

In this category, you can assess the additional services that a common data environment offers. These are not the first things you look at but they can definitely impact your decisions when it comes to select the right CDE. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself:

  • Where is the data stored?
  • Does the country or region where the data is stored a crucial point for you?
  • What is the SLA (Service-level agreement) provided by the CDE?
  • What kind of support does the CDE provide ( ticketing system, email, hotline, dedicated account manager)?
  • Is the support working 24/7?

This list is non-exhaustive and more criteria could be added later on. We have released a comprehensive framework that you can customize to help you choose the right common data environment for your project. You can download the CDE framework for free on this link.

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