The role of technology should really be to improve communications between people and improve task efficiencies. People can quickly and easily solve problems when the appropriate technologies are put into place, which need to be intuitive and speak the language of the specific profession involved. However, the myriad digital gadgets and software exist mainly to drive sales in our free market economy. Mis-applied and complex systems that don't interface simply add to a ballooning cacophony of informational noise.
What has yadda, yadda, yadda done in terms of streamlining work effort?
Beyond nada. When you manually deploy digital technology, it multiplies the work effort exponentially, instead of controlling it. It literally explodes. That's not understood yet, for some reason, probably due to the advertising push for all of the tech toys.
This is why the business model of a management portal that restricts communications to specific channels and responds only to those channels for professionals was premature. People don't get that part yet, and are chasing chat/text and mashups. Beyond overload, nothing has priorities, which we all know from CPM charts, etc. requires an org structure which communicates the mission-critical stuff, then appends the little stuff so only the folks involved with that part have to deal with it.
This is the achilles' heel of the big BIM software packages and all the complex interactive platforms being pushed by IAI. There's no priority organization of design and planning process, it's just all one huge blob of information being pushed at architects and contractors that's unmanageable except by teams of CAD jockeys. The managers need a communication system appended to an engineering/design system that's grounded in ESRI information-capable databases from which to begin the engineering. It needs to be simple, graphic and organized to follow the methods used to comply with the State Practice Act, beginning with design sketches that continue all the way through to building construction, commissioning, and post-occupancy evaluation. The emphasis on a digital replica of the actual structure is a direction that serves the building maintenance and construction cost management to the detriment of the process that paves the way for effective decisions about the property or the project and its scope and design. It limits the approach to problem analysis, and produces necessarily canned solutions, which are appropriate in some areas but not in many others.
The intuitive feedback loop is critical, and that means a communication system. This communication can more effectively deploy virtual machine technologies instead of the old database silos, and be graphically interactive as well. Here's a screenshot from my earlier development of this approach:
I am dumbfounded at the lack of understanding of how simple technologies deployed in effective structures can magnify the "social networking" impact of new avenues of communication. It's the Google model instead of the Microsoft model. Or perhaps, more appropriately, an open-source/Mozilla approach; the new Chrome "browser" application is an example of this evolving model.
A baby step has been taken by the interoperability agreement between Bentley and Autocad, at long last. The old software model is finally beginning to accommodate the real industry needs.
Probably will take years before everybody gets it. I hate to be a pessimist, but when you have eyes you have to see.