Are You Motivated to Migrate to MicroStation V8?
by John D. Leavy, Leavy Consulting, Inc.
The author offers up his take on migrating to the latest version of Microstation, V8.
He identifies three goups, the "Heck no, we won't go!" bunch, the "Can't wait to open the box" crowd and
the "fast-followers"... which one are you?
There seem to be three opinions forming out in the MicroStation Population
in regards to upgrading to MicroStation's new version, V8. There is the "Heck
no, we won't go!" bunch, the "Can't wait to open the box" crowd and what I
like to term the "fast-followers".
The "bunch that won't budge" say they have good reasons not to move
right now; their users are trained, they know where the pit falls are on the
release of MicroStation they are currently working with, the workarounds are
in place and the projects are going out the door on time and on budget. You
can't fault that kind of logic. Of course these "won't budge" folks realize
they'll have to upgrade their CAD environments someday, but now is not the
time. Besides, the software was just announced, and as long as time is on
their side they'll move to MicroStation V8 at their own pace.
What about the keyed up crowd? New features always act as a catalyst
to motivate users to upgrade. It doesn't really matter if it's Windows XP,
Office XP, AutoCAD 2002 or MicroStation V8. New features and functionality
pique interest. People hope that with new enhancements come speed, ways
to shave design steps, improved communication between workgroups, less
problems, ease of use, better products and opportunities for new business.
MicroStation V8 like other new product releases is not lacking in new
features and functionality so user excitement levels are high. Here is the
short-list of new features in MicroStation V8:
- Unlimited UNDO
- Increased maximum vertices
- Unlimited reference file attachments
- Building personal toolbox improvements
- Spelling preferences
- Improvements to engineering links
- Visualization enhancements
- DGN files are without limits in precision, number of levels and
- DWG reference and edit capabilities
- Complete design history
- Packager for archiving project data
- Support for Oracle 8i and ACCESS 2000
- The list goes on…
So, what's holding back that last group from upgrading to MicroStation
V8? Why aren't they jumping on the band wagon? I guess their name says it
all: fast-followers. Folks have learned over the years that being number one
is great went it comes to winning the World Series, the Stanley Cup or the
America's Cup race. Being first in the technology sector however is different,
quite different. Most of last year's dotCOMs aren't even around today. So
much for being on the cutting edge.
There's good reason to migrate slowly this time around. MicroStation,
for its first time, has altered its file format and altered it significantly. For
instance, when you open your first 95/SE or J file in V8 you will be faced with
a decision: open the file for read-only in V7 format or upgrade the file to V8.
Once upgraded, you can work in the file, but no one using V7 will be able to
access it until the file is resaved in V7 format. MicroStation users have
enjoyed moving files between software releases, without giving it a second
thought, but those days are over.
Substantial changes to MicroStation's DGN format raise new
management issues. How will workgroups pass design data back and forth
between V7 and V8 on a project? Does it make sense to finish the existing
designs on V7 and do the new ones on V8? Should the shop stay mixed or
choose one MicroStation version? What about passing data to clients - do
they want V7 or V8 files? Someone needs to lay the ground work. A plan
needs to be drawn up. Workflows will require examination to see if any
changes are warranted. Users need to be educated. Standards will
undoubtedly need to be modified. Procedures will have to be edited. And if
you've been around software for any length of time you know that with new
software features come new bugs.
One last thought before closing. What about ROI? You know, Return
On Investment. A better return on investment was the reason companies
moved their drafting tables to the shipping docks when CAD came on the
scene. There's not much talk these days about "improving profits" as the
main reason for going to a new release of software. Shouldn't that be the
over-riding motive? Isn't that why the money is being spent, the resources
are being expended and time is being set aside? New features and
functionality notwithstanding a better return of investment is a much better
reason for upgrading any technology whether it is software or hardware.
Think it over.
I hope which ever group you're in today you'll seriously consider ways
the new technology can improve the bottom line before making the jump.
About the Author:
John Leavy is an industry expert in the Engineering Information arena, a
popular speaker and presenter and author of several popular CAD titles. John
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John D. Leavy
96 Candle Lake Drive
Divide, CO 80814
Article © 2001, Leavy Consulting, Inc.