10 Minutes with IT Consultant Carol Hagen
As a woman who’s been in the male-dominated IT field for decades, Phoenix, AZ-based tech consultant Carol Hagen is a rarity. She began in the field when few women were employed in IT and has since become a consultant and tech trainer specializing in architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) technology.
We spoke with Hagen about the need for adaptability in AEC cloud tools, about the growing use of BIM even among small companies, and on trends in project management technology. She also spoke about the need for a cloud-based tool that provides a full lifecycle solution in managing facilities documents from concept to design-build, and into the continuing management of facilities.
ARC: What’s new or trending in project management technology?
Hagen: The top thing that has been trending the last few years is the effort to make project management technology more mobile. Most products now have a Dashboard that sends alerts that are proactive. Those companies using older systems are trying integrations, too.
ARC: How important is adaptability for AEC cloud solutions?
Hagen: If you only have one big release [of a new version of your tool] per year, and someone else is pushing out four releases a year, it makes them look more responsive. You have to adapt or you’ll lose the customer and that cash flow. Cloud users have an advantage, being able to do releases with higher frequency. IT guys aren’t involved in such an update; the vendor sends it and it’s there [in the client’s computer] the next morning.
ARC: Do you see a continuing proliferation of new project management tools in the next year? And if so, how long can these innovations continue to come to market?
Hagen: Until the general contractor, or the person who works for the GC, or the industry stops looking at it all as just project management, the proliferation of options will continue. Companies providing project management technology should tackle the problem from the owner’s perspective and make the technology generic enough so it’s usable in the oil and gas industry, and for everyone. Until then, there’ll be this proliferation—the innovations will continue to be spurred by sectors of AECO (architecture, engineering, construction and owners).
ARC: Intelligent Building technology is becoming more and more common in residential buildings, especially luxury homes. How does this technology inform AEC, and what should vendors and contractors learn from this?
Hagen: We know that 10,000-square-foot homes are all smart homes now, in part because of energy efficiency, and partly because of conveniences provided by these systems. That’s what owners are thinking about, but they’re not necessarily thinking about how the facilities manager will handle all of these building systems. In [Chase Field, a professional baseball field], the facility has had a continuing problem because it wasn’t waterproofed, and yet the power-washing that’s done on the building 200 times a year has created an issue that’s now being fixed in sections. The facilities manager can’t fix the problem, and now it’s a contractor’s gold mine.
ARC: Has there been a faster acceptance of BIM even among small companies in recent years?
Hagen: Yes. Companies that have BIM capability are finding when they’re competing against a firm that doesn’t have BIM, they’re at an advantage. If you’re chasing work in the hospital space and don’t have BIM, you’re out of luck. For complex electrical work and other stuff, BIM is great for clash protection, scheduling, costs, safety, and eventually will benefit the facility manager, if the model is kept up to date.