I recently had the pleasure to speak to Mr. Young Chang, who is the American Institute of Architect’s Director of Web Based Products and Project Management for the new online version of AIA Contract Documents software. Having been involved with the project for more than a few years now, he explained to me its origins and why the AIA is moving to an online version of AIA Contract Documents software now.
Why a Web App?
Anthony Frausto-Robledo (AFR): Over the years Architosh, and its readers too, have been following the evolution of the AIA Documents application with much interest hoping for a native Mac version. Why a Web application versus a real desktop application for the Mac?
Young Chang (YC): Everything we do is always based on user feedback and sound research. Our research has been showing, year over year, continued interest in the Mac, as well as the potential of a web based application to increase the accessibility of AIA Contract Documents to our users. Such an online version simplifies its maintenance and enhances the usability of the documents. We determined that the web based alternative was best for all users.
AFR: So why and how did the online version come about?
YC: The major reason is because users are asking for anywhere, anytime access to AIA Documents.
AFR: And it also solves your Mac user demand.
AFR: Can you give me some examples?
YC: Yes. Users want to be able to access AIA Documents not just at job sites but at client locations like client offices or at hotels while traveling. Being able to get to your contracts and modify them while away from the main office is very beneficial.
A New Approach to Pricing
AFR: What are some other benefits of the new online version of the AIA Contract Documents Software?
YC: One key benefit will be the new flexible licensing models. Right now there is just one way to get the AIA Documents package. Now we will have several packages, bundles and a pay-as-you-go model, which we think will be very popular.
In this tough economic environment having pricing flexibility is very key for our members and customers. Most architects are small firms, so we [the AIA] want to maintain and improve upon how we serve our members and customers with this new service. The online version of AIA Documents online will do that.
AFR: What kind of packages are we talking about? Can you give me some examples?
Young Chang (YC): There are over 150 separate documents available. I doubt anyone uses all of them. If you are an architect you are going to use a certain set of documents over and over. If you are a general contractor you will use another common set. Therefore, we will have packages tailored to the needs of specific types of users of the AIA Documents software.
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