Building a Business Case for Bluebeam

Three industry influencers offer tips, suggestions and sound business advice to help you get Bluebeam Revu for your company.

Looking to roll out Revu? Wondering how to convince your company to purchase the software for your project delivery needs? Three industry influencers offer tips, suggestions and sound business advice to help you get Bluebeam Revu for your company.

A successful job can only be realized with the right tools. What if that tool is a software? Moreover, what if that software is not yet a company standard? Being ahead of the curve with technology means having to answer these questions and others, especially when decision-makers and executives are the ones asking. Simply put, if you can’t communicate the value of the software, these decision-makers won’t respond favorably, and you’ll miss the opportunity to improve your project delivery. Three industry influencers from major general contractors address standard concerns like cost, implementation difficulty and the old “we’ve always done it this way” excuse. They also offer up ways to start the conversation with the C-suite, PMs and IT decision-makers so you can help them understand how Bluebeam will ultimately provide higher quality and more efficiency for project delivery.

“Software implementation is best executed when you mitigate risks while also easing cultural and technological diversity within the company.” – Amrita Bajwa, VDC Director, Jacobs

The Influencers:

Amrita Bajwa – VDC Director

  • Technology strategist for Jacobs, a 77,000-employee firm with $10 billion in revenue

Shawn Phillips – BIM Director and Licensed Architect

  • Leads BIM/VDC efforts for F.H. Paschen, a leader in heavy civil, rail, education and healthcare construction in Chicago

Courtney Dvorak – Operational Excellence Manager

  • Strategy deployment, process excellence, and performance management for Boldt, a general contractor with more than 2,000 employees

Obstacles and Challenges

Qualitative data vs. quantitative data

Courtney Dvorak: “My role is to identify inefficiencies and just listening to the project managers and field engineers asking for Revu. The more people that started asking for it, the more we started thinking, ‘Well, what’s going on here and why are they asking for this?’ And once one person would get it onto a jobsite, you would see the rest of that job so quickly start to ask for it as well. And that’s kind of where it grew for us.”

Shawn Phillips: “My position is actually director of EDC, which ties in a lot with Bluebeam. The project teams weren’t as difficult to convince with the roadblock of understanding the value. You still have your adoption curves, so you still have those people at the tail end of the adoption curve that don’t necessarily buy in right away, but they’ll get there eventually.”

Amrita Bajwa: “I think one of the easiest things is that you don’t necessarily have to measure the processes as much; a quicker measurement is understanding the tools that are being utilized within the program. It’s about the user experience and just getting the team acclimated to it. I think those are successful metrics that really become our case study for the next program.”

No ROI, no problem?

Amrita Bajwa: “I don’t know that it’s ever too late to measure because if that’s something that their leadership is really focused on, there’s probably a project that exists in their company at that moment that they have to use as the example and run a side-by-side comparison to be able to get the data. I’ve also worked with PMs who have had to measure their savings, but don’t yet have a foundation of strong numbers. They’ve seen the qualitative side of things where they’re getting better comments, people are collaborating more, and then the perception of being more innovative exists because we’re using new technology. So the morale is really improved. If we’re not using numbers, it’s more about that emotional journey I think, and just talking about certain case studies and why they’re successful.”

Shawn Phillips: “I think for us it’s been a fairly simple sell to upper management because they don’t necessarily need to see a numbers breakdown. They just need to be sold that the teams are happy with the results that they’re getting from it. Especially when project managers come back and say, ‘Yeah, we really can’t do it without this tool.’ That’s enough for them because that’s a value add.”

“We completed an internal survey with Bluebeam that went through the pain points in our business and how Bluebeam could be utilized to address them. Then we could see what it could save in man hours involved cost savings. It was estimated that Revu could yield around 50,000 man hours a year in efficiency savings and that was pretty eye-opening for leadership to see.” – Courtney Dvorak, Operational Excellence Manager, Boldt Construction

Approach Across Audiences

Courtney Dvorak: “Creating awareness is key, and sometimes the messaging can be the same, but the end desire is going to be different. And I think you have to really hone in on those different levels of people that are speaking to you.”

“Your project manager wants to be able to do something easier, so people can save time and be more effective in their job. Whereas your C-suite is really looking at ROI and looking at the high business factors and values. I’m packaging the buy-in messaging to the desire of the person and the overall business objective. It’s kind of the key to building a business case.” – Courtney Dvorak, Operational Excellence Manager, Boldt Construction

Shawn Phillips: “Once we went through the whole process of doing a pilot program, testing it out, and figuring out what needed to be fixed and everything. Then the next level of sale really was to the project managers to get them to use it on more projects. Once that started to happen, it really became more of an enterprise roll out, as upper management was then completely on board with it. They were very much aware of the value that it was adding to the projects.”

Rolling Out Revu and the Value of Internal Champions

Shawn Phillips: “We initiated Revu on a couple of pilot projects and evaluated how it went; what was good, what was bad and what needed to be fixed. Once the pilot team had implemented their process and made it a standard operating procedure in their group, one of the people who really championed that transition became the unofficial ‘Bluebeam brain’ of the company. Other teams outside of that group started to recognize how valuable that process became for them and have started implementing similar processes for their own projects. We then decided it was a good option for the company and presented it to management, who really liked it. They decided to go ahead and invest in it and roll it out to several more projects and those were all successful integrations of the program. Those results allowed management to create a division-wide initiation of using Bluebeam. The ease of implementation and adaptation for the users has really just been a matter of training.”

“I took a successful Revu-based case study and rolled it out to our other offices. I built an informal campaign strategy around it, very grassroots, which explained the new process and that it was voluntary. People would come into my training sessions, and at first, they wouldn’t want to be there; but then before they left, they were my champions. – Amrita Bajwa, VDC Director, Jacobs

Courtney Dvorak: “We actually conducted some surveys to understand [the level of] use our people were getting out of the software and we found out that more than 30% of the Revu users were using less than 80% of the tools available to them in the software. This was a significant underutilization of the software that can provide significant value and it led to the creation of our internal Boldt Construction Bluebeam User Group. Now, we have all our executive leaders bought in; we have sponsorship where they’re sending out communications to the rest of the company. They’re only installing Revu on staff computers. if you are a project-based employee, Bluebeam will be pushed to your computer and then you basically have a month before any other PDF solutions will be removed.”

“The escalation of licenses for Bluebeam just in the last year and a half has quadrupled. It really was just a matter of getting it out to some of the teams and making people aware of it and what it can do.” – Shawn Phillips, BIM Director & Licensed Architect, F.H. Paschen