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Buzzsaw Gets The Job Done

Online collaboration service cuts building costs and saves time

In the relatively young world of online collaboration, Autodesk Inc.'s Buzzsaw service has become a de facto industry standard. More than a year after the design-software maker reacquired the company it spun off two years earlier, Buzzsaw's hosted service continues to pay dividends for a variety of businesses.

Starting at $10,000 a year, the Web-based collaboration service lets building owners, designers, architects, and contractors share information and processes related to a building's life cycle.

When Pfizer Inc. hired TKG Consulting Engineers to spearhead construction of a 375,000-square-foot, four-building expansion of the pharmaceutical company's San Diego research campus, TKG set up a Buzzsaw site to collaborate with Pfizer architects, designers, and others working on the project. Some 90 people access the secure site.

Buzzsaw Rundown
>> Features: Standardized or customizable forms, central logs of document status, advanced searching, reporting, document audit trails, permissions and access control, workflow and E-mail notification, threaded discussions, 128-bit security, document export and archiving, AutoCAD file viewing and markup

>> Pricing: Starts at $10,000 a year, depending on storage, consulting, and other needs

>> Platforms: Windows compatible; accessible via Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or higher (5.5 recommended)

Data: Autodesk

Project engineer Eric Doan can't quantify the impact Buzzsaw has had, but he says that no longer depending on a File Transfer Protocol server for document access will help the project come in on time and on budget. "The information is always reliable, and you can get it wherever you go," he says.

BEA Systems Inc., which uses Buzzsaw to manage its facilities projects, also has a tough time tallying the service's benefits. "It's really hard to quantify things that didn't happen, which in this case is a good thing," says Tom Crowley, director of strategic planning and program management for the software vendor. Buzzsaw is helping BEA minimize typical facilities headaches, such as cost overruns, scheduling problems, and time-wasting processes, Crowley says. "It's not uncommon to spend $1 million extra on a $10 million project," he says. "Since we've been using Buzzsaw, we've been running under budget on all our projects."

BEA has 12 active projects with 70 users, and it's using just 500 Mbytes of the 1 Gbyte of Buzzsaw data storage for which it pays. Crowley expects activity to ramp up if BEA develops 40 acres of vacant land adjacent to its San Jose, Calif., headquarters.

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