Denver, Colorado-based Davis Partnership Architects is a design firm specializing in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, lighting design, and signage design. Tracing its roots back to an architecture practice founded in 1892, Davis Partnership has played a significant role in shaping Denver's architectural landscape across its storied history.
Today Davis Partnership employs around 200 people, who work on projects across the United States ranging from healthcare to hospitality, and higher education to multi-family housing. That diverse team posed a challenge for BIM Manager Ron Rowcotsky, who began looking for a solution after siloed information and a lack of a cohesive training program began impacting the firm.
"It's lost time, which equals lost revenue and lost productivity," Rowcotsky explained. "When people can't find things that they need or are having to look in multiple places, it's just wasting time."
Rowcotsky first heard of Pinnacle Series from a previous BIM manager at Davis Partnership and began looking into the platform more seriously in late 2019 after meeting with the Pinnacle Series team at Autodesk University. Compared to in-person training programs where "you send people out and hope they learned something," Pinnacle Series stood apart.
"What I really liked was the idea of these metrics that could be collected and visualized on the back end, and could easily prove return on investment," Rowcotsky said. "The individually customized learning program meant that we didn't have to take the shotgun approach."
Davis Partnership gave Rowcotsky the green light to implement Pinnacle Series in early 2020 when a challenge neither company could've anticipated arose: the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the spread of COVID-19, Davis Partnership placed a spending freeze as it shifted to working from home.
After the initial shock of halting the Pinnacle Series rollout, Rowcotsky reevaluated his intent and goals around bringing the e-learning platform to Davis Partnership and decided on a new course of action: it was time to get creative.
After consulting with his Pinnacle Series Business Development Manager and Customer Success Manager, Rowcotsky was allowed to continue with a free 90-day pilot program to show the firm the value of continuing its relationship with Pinnacle Series.
"It was a risk they were willing to take because they believed in the product so much, which spoke volumes to me," Rowcotsky said. "It was instrumental in making the case to the partners. If they were willing to give that portion of their time and effort without spending a dime, then they know that they have a good product."
Rowcotsky selected a group of 40 employees from across Davis Partnership to participate in the pilot program, so he could get a comprehensive snapshot of how the firm would use the platform if they continued with a full rollout. The results gave Rowcotsky insight into what kinds of resources employees were accessing for on-the-go training as they worked on projects and where the team needed additional training.
"The results of the KnowledgeSmart assessments were really interesting to look at; it really equalized and set the bar for understanding skills gaps and understanding where we lie within one easy metric," he explained.
Rowcotsky also received anecdotal feedback from employees who appreciated Pinnacle Series' customized learning capabilities and assessments that took place within the software program they covered.
"Even the people that were hesitant at first saw the value almost immediately after they began with our customized training. It was pretty hard to refute the value of that."
As the pilot program wrapped up, Rowcotsky worked with the Pinnacle Series team to make a case for Pinnacle Series to Davis Partnership's partners for a second time.
"We had to make the argument that even when things are slow and uncertain, while spending anything is a tough decision to make, this was actually the perfect time to implement a training program," he said.
To back up his anecdotal evidence, Rowcotsky pulled data from the pilot that showed saving employees just 3 minutes per day while billing $100 per hour translated into $350,000 in annual savings for Davis Partnership - more than 10 times what the firm invested into Pinnacle Series.
"Beyond the bottom line, and beyond the money, we were able to make a case that rather than scrambling to hire people when we get an influx of work, that we needed to optimize and upscale the existing human capital, to show them and to remind them that our employees really are our greatest assets," he explained. "When we invest in our own, we grow our own."
In fall 2020, Davis Partnership resumed its organization-wide rollout of Pinnacle Series and began adding its content to the platform, backed up by the results they saw during the 90-day pilot. While the firm is still in the implementation phase, Rowcotsky already sees the impact of Pinnacle Series on his daily workload and the feedback he receives from coworkers.
"It's become clear that people are being genuine when they say that they really enjoy using this program," Rowcotsky said. "They're able to see the benefit, and this isn't just people that were in the pilot series. These are brand-new users, so I have a sense that this is going to be very successful."