Cabinet is primarily an internal back-office platform helping organisations manage their office documentation and design information before any gets shared with external collaborators. We, therefore, don’t see it as competing with ‘common data environment’ (CDE) systems. Instead, we see Cabinet as complementary to CDEs – which is why we are investing in integrating our platform with other developers’ Software-as-a-Service applications.
In October 2017 we introduced our integration with Viewpoint For Projects, helping synchronise the status of information shared across internal ‘work in progress’ systems and cloud-based collaboration applications. Our latest integrations have extended to Aconex (see our YouTube video) and to GroupBC‘s CDE (see video).
These SaaS developers are openly committed to creating or being part of ‘ecosystems’ for sharing data across the whole life of built assets. Both have worked with us to ensure easy sharing of updates between our respective systems. As a result, Cabinet users do not have to laboriously update two parallel systems if the status of a file is changed. This means designers and other users can maintain compliant and auditable records relating to their Shared and Published intellectual property.
Building BIM ‘Ecosystems’ not silos
We welcome this shift towards more open sharing of BIM data. For a start, it helps businesses meet the UK Government’s stated objective (in the 2011 Construction Strategy) of creating ‘open, shareable asset information’ to help drive significant improvements in cost, value and carbon performance.
We also like this shift because it reflects a growing trend away from BIM-related data being held in the proprietary formats protected by one or two major design authoring software developers. Much as these firms would like us to only use applications from their software silos, the reality of 21st century construction working is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to get entire supply chains to use the same software tools (let alone the same versions of those tools). Construction project teams need applications that can seamlessly export and import data so that it can be efficiently reused.
The ‘ecosystem’ approach also helps individuals and companies select the software that is ‘best of breed‘ for them and their way of working. The construction sector is still quite fragmented. There has been convergence in the use of, say, office software, but there has not been the same convergence in use of design authoring, scheduling, estimating or other common construction software tools. However, the growing popularity of web-based and mobile platforms is helping create a common ‘web services’ environment that encourages integration.