Software. It is a huge part of how we get through our days, and its usage continues to grow at an exponential rate. Processes that now take minutes or hours once took days or weeks. The future of software continues to be big, and it continues to radically change our landscape.

Third-Party Software Defined

Third-party software is a major industry within the software development market. It typically runs inside or side-by-side software from the first party (the OEM software developer). In many cases, the first party opens its Application Programming Interface (API) up to third-party developers, so they can develop additional software that enhances the original.

Ideate Software’s Third-Party Software

Ideate Software focuses on improvements and workflow enhancements to Autodesk Revit software. We currently offer five Revit plug-in products that helps users simplify their Revit data challenges. As we like to say, we focus on the “I” in BIM, since we do a deep dive into the Revit API to expose important features and new workflows for customers to use on their Revit-based projects.

Charting a Business Case for Third-Party Software

Deciding to procure software such as ours requires thoughtful analysis, both from a usability perspective and an acquisition perspective. For example, when analyzing your current software, you need to understand:

  • Your current needs
  • The tasks you perform to meet current needs
  • How you complete those tasks
  • The amount of daily and weekly effort (hours and cost) it takes to complete those tasks
  • The time and cost savings will result if you acquire third-party tools
  • Who will use the third-party software 

One of the best ways to complete this analysis is by charting a business case in a format that is easy for everyone to understand, from end users to the decision makers. With everything laid out in this form, proposing solutions for buy-in will be easy, because the ROI on cost and time will be apparent. 

Getting Buy-in from End Users and Decision Makers – An Example

One great example comes from Gautam Shenoy at Steinberg-Hart. After the Ideate Software team demonstrated IdeateApps to him and his Revit users, Gautam went to work putting together a needs analysis of each of the nine tools that come with IdeateApps. Once completed, the results were compelling, and the ROI potential was immediately apparent.

Gautam presented his analysis to the decision-makers in his firm and got instant approval to add IdeateApps to their Ideate Software collection. Here is an example of the business case analysis that Gautam created for IdeateApps (click on the image):

Making the Case for Plugin Software

Although a cost for manual time vs. app-driven time was not identified in his analysis, the difference in effort between the two was drastic enough that anyone reading the chart would understand that the ROI is huge. Also, information in the Notes column explained the issues in more detail, making the case for the procurement of IdeateApps even stronger.

If you are looking for solutions to workflow challenges and are in the market to purchase third-party software such as Ideate Software solutions, leveraging a chart like this will help you understand the value and validate your claims, as you will easily be able to identify the cost and time savings.

Contact Us

If you have any ideas to share, such as how your office goes about procuring software solutions, we would love to hear from you. We always welcome comments, suggestions, and feedback.

Related Topics

Surveyed Ideate BIMLink users report an average of 20 hours per project in saved time. Learn more.

Visit our website for more information on our Revit productivity tools. Give them a try with a free trial version, or subscribe today. 

About the Author

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP, BCI, BCC - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional, and a Bluebeam Certified Instructor. He has extensive experience in project management; BIM management; design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon; and leading classroom and online BIM training. He provides consulting, sales, support, and training solutions to AECO customers around the globe. Find Sash on LinkedIn.


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San Francisco, CA, May 15, 2019 – Ideate Software, a veteran Autodesk Developer Network member, announced enhancements to its Revit software applications.

“Shortly after Autodesk released Revit version 2020 in April 2019, we launched updates to our applications that streamline Revit workflows,” said Glynnis Patterson, director of software development. “Those who subscribe to Ideate Software solutions have access to the current Revit-compatible version (2020) plus three earlier versions (2019-2017), as well as access to point release improvements we make during the subscription period.”

Revit users who design, build, operate, and maintain built environments can streamline workflows with Ideate Software applications. You can trust your building information model is accurate when using these products, now enhanced with new functionalities that will further improve your Revit data management.

The improvements apply to version 2020 as well as 2017-2019. Please see below the highlights of the updates and click on the links for more details: 

  • Ideate BIMLink 
    • Greater control and management of View Template information
    • Enhanced access to more Revit properties plus increased access to more MEP Fabrication properties and data
    • Greater flexibility for team members working in the same project

  • Ideate Explorer 
    • Ability to export all project warning details to Microsoft Excel
    • Ability to fix common warnings from the Ideate Explorer dialog
    • Keynotes now organized by Element, Material, or User
    • Added support for new Revit element types, like Path of Travel Lines
    • Access to more Revit information, including MEP fabrication parts  

  • Ideate Sticky  
    • Performance improvement impacts those who use print regions and multi-worksheet Excel files; the way the print region data in those files is read has been modified, leading to a significantly faster open and update process

  • IdeateApps  
    • Ideate ReNumber supports rules for MEP fabrication parts
    • Ideate QuickSelect expands keynote tags by subdividing the category into the three keynote types
    • Ideate QuickSelect supports structural connections and the new Path of Travel feature 
    • Ideate Clone has improved naming control in addition to the ability to clone multiple sheets in the same operation


“We are committed to helping customers get the most out of their investments in Revit software,” said Bob Palioca, president, Ideate Software. “One of the ways we do that is by consistently releasing our updates soon after Autodesk releases its new versions.” 

About Ideate Software

Ideate Software empowers Revit users to gain unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, and IdeateApps were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.

Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, ATC, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.

Microsoft Excel is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.


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Ideate Software is pleased to be associated with Noll & Tam Architects, an interesting company with a mission to create “Uncommon Spaces for the Common Good.” It achieves this mission by having its atypical multidisciplinary group of architectural professionals leap into the unknown, take the known and make it strange again, work in unexpected ways, and stay devoted to sustainable design.

The architects at Noll & Tam use Autodesk Revit software to bring visions to life, and they use Ideate Software tools to streamline Revit processes. 

“Our team uses all four Ideate Software tools,” said Jason Barish, Senior AJason Parishssociate, Design Technology Director, Noll & Tam Architects.

“They are easy to learn and use, and they allow us to focus on creative designs instead of the technology that supports those designs.”

Here are some of the ways in which Noll & Tam Architects uses the Ideate Software tools:

  • Ideate Sticky – Used to place tabular data like LEED data, code information, and equipment schedules in the Revit file
  • Ideate BIMLink – Used to mass-edit room program data
  • Ideate Explorer – Used to troubleshoot problem items
  • IdeateApps:
    • Clone – Used to speed up the creation of sequences of drawings, especially detail sheets
    • ReNumber – Used to number doors and details



  1. Jason Barish, Senior Associate, Design Technology Director, Noll and Tam Architects. Source:Anthony Lindsey Photography
  2. University of Stanford David Rumsey Map Center, where Jason Barish was the Project Manager. Source: David Wakely Photography

Interested in seeing how Ideate Software tools can help you achieve your goals? Visit our website for more information, explore the tools with a free trial version, or subscribe today.

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San Francisco, CA, April 9, 2019 – Ideate Software, a veteran Autodesk Developer Network member, is offering any Revit user that completes a short survey by 30 April, 2019 a no-cost subscription to IdeateApps expiring on 15 December, 2019. IdeateApps simplifies the tasks that daily Revit users perform most often.

IdeateApps Promo

“We take great pride in developing tools that address persistent challenges faced by Revit users,” said Glynnis Patterson, director of software development. “This survey is one of the ways we are gathering information to determine user needs and decide which new features to build into our solutions.”

Another way Ideate Software determines user needs is by reviewing the Autodesk Revit Ideas and AUGI Wishlist Forums. Here are links to some notable ideas on these Forums that are already integrated into IdeateApps:

Autodesk User Group International Wishlist

Autodesk Revit Ideas

“Revit users know what they need,” said Bob Palioca, president, Ideate Software. “We ask for their input, and then focus our attention on developing solutions that will make a big impact.”

About Ideate Software

Ideate Software empowers Revit users to gain unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, and IdeateApps were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.

Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, ATC, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.


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In our November 2018 Ideate Software application updates, we made improvements to all our Ideate Software add-ins for Revit. The latest version of Ideate ReNumber was modified to support multi-category rules, and now, instead of needing one rule for Lighting Fixtures and another for Lighting Devices, you can use the new "MC-All" rule. The benefit is that you can sequentially number elements that are similar while using the same rule.
Well, Samuel James of McBains in London contacted us about the new multi-category rule. “I am currently finding the renumber tool very useful,” he said. However, he had an additional request. He wanted a multi-category rule for JUST Windows and Doors, and he didn’t see a way to limit or choose the specific categories within the Ideate ReNumber rules interface.
This was a great request, and it was a feature we didn’t expose within the user interface. However, you can easily edit the delivered “MC-All” rule within a text editor to specify the exact categories as shown below:
The rules are located here by default for US English: C:\Program Files\Ideate\Ideate Software XXXX\IdeateApps\en-US\ReNumber\Basic Rules
We felt Samuel’s suggestion was so great that we are planning to include a new Doors and Windows rule along with a few other new multi-category rules in our next software release.
Keep those suggestions coming! Thanks again to Samuel James and McBains.

mutli-category rules saved in Revit project
Screen image of some of our planned Multi-Category Rules for our next release.
However, you can create your own today by editing the MC-All Rule.

Visit our website for more information on our applications. Give them a try with a free trial version, or subscribe today. 

About the Author

Richard W. Taylor, Associate AIA – Technical Evangelist 
Richard has more than 30 years of experience working for companies that develop architectural and engineering software solutions, such as Intergraph, Bentley, and Autodesk. He has over 18 years of Revit experience, and he was part of the original development of Revit while at Revit Technology Corporation. He worked for 12 years at Autodesk, where he presented, taught, and worked to improve features in Revit. Richard holds both a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. As Technical Evangelist, Richard works with AECO clients worldwide, developing and consulting on BIM solutions. Find Richard on Twitter.

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