SMMA and AVAIL: A Successful CMS Switch Story


An architecture-engineering firm of 210 employees and growing, SMMA’s former content management system was not evolving with their needs and concerns. Noticing a lack of development on their former system, the team decided to move to the more future-fit, customer-centric AVAIL system in June 2023.


Seamless AVAIL Adoption

SMMA’s transition from their previous platform to AVAIL was straightforward and quick. Ironically, SMMA found that it was easier to adopt a completely new content management system than to maintain the old one. 

“AVAIL is super easy to use,” Jason Detwiler, SMMA Architectural Designer, says. “When I’m doing orientations for new people, it’s a two-second conversation.” Jason teaches new hires how to open AVAIL, drag and drop the component into Revit or another software platform, and that’s it!

SMMA’s dedicated Design Technology (DT) Group didn’t waste any time in ramping up their content management efforts. Focused on bettering workflows and content access at SMMA, the team set up some task groups to start generating new content. Since adopting AVAIL, the DT team has already seen an increase in productivity – in great part because AVAIL is more adaptable to their workflows and storage preferences.

The team was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they were able to switch everything over. They were also thrilled with the complimentary training they received as Enterprise customers.


SMMA’s Favorite AVAIL Features

Collaboration is key at SMMA. Across the board, decision-making is a team effort—from creating innovative designs to choosing the most effective and efficient content management software platforms to help all workflows run smoothly. Jason and the DT team needed a single, user-friendly content management solution that worked seamlessly with Revit software. AVAIL was an easy choice, and the cherry on top was the company’s dedication to propelling the AEC industry forward. The following are some of SMMA’s favorite features.

One-Stop Content Shop

SMMA’s network was bloated, messy and filled with faulty content. It became quite evident that they needed one, centralized location to house the cleaned-up content. 

“We were looking for a one-stop content shop, a platform where we could host more than just our Revit content,” Jason says. “A common location all disciplines would view as the reliable source for firm approved digital content.”


"We were looking for a one-stop-content-shop, a platform where we could host more than just our Revit content.”


Before AVAIL, designers were going back to previous project folders to get the content they needed for a current project, and they were scrambling to find the content in those folders. Likewise, if they were unable to locate the content, they would have to resort to going to third-party sources or, worse, create the content themselves.

AVAIL’s system allows a single piece of content to be attached to multiple tags, which can be past projects like SMMA’s former filing system but also product categories, manufacturers, Revit content categories, and beyond. Gone are the days of digging through past projects for a single door file. Designers at SMMA can now filter down to the door they have in mind in seconds.

Simple User Interface

For SMMA, it was really important for the user interface to provide easy access to improving their workflow. Efficiency and utilization were top-of-mind for the DT team, and AVAIL’s intuitive, easy-to-use, and visually clean interface made those goals attainable.  

“AVAIL has this very simple user interface for those searching for content, leaving the more complicated aspects of content management concealed with the content managers,” Jason says. “This was key to our expedient firm-wide adoption of the platform.”

Harvesting Revit Content

AVAIL has a host of Revit plugins and tools to make Revit-users' lives easier. SMMA works heavily in Revit and was specifically impressed by AVAIL’s Harvest for Revit tool, which allows them the ability to harvest a lot more system families, view templates, schedules, and legends than their previous platform could. The DT team was also able to really pare down their template file projects—which made everything cleaner and easily accessible.

AVAIL's Harvest for Revit tool in action

AVAIL's Harvest for Revit tool in action.

Additionally, SMMA has been impressed with AVAIL’s AEC industry thought leadership and dedicated success and development team. The continuing education provided by AVAIL has been extremely helpful for the team, but when Jason goes to a webinar hosted by AVAIL, he says, “I go for the industry discussion … It's amazing to watch AVAIL continue to grow and push new bounds.”


"It's amazing to watch AVAIL continue to grow and push new bounds”


AVAIL CEO and Founder Randall Stevens is dedicated to creating solutions for the AEC industry and is actively developing AVAIL to project the industry’s future needs. “He's good at tracking the pulse,” Jason says. Read Randall’s recent AEC industry pulse-check here.


Our Next Successful CMS Switch Story …

This is a time of change, and the team at AVAIL is here to guide firms through it. With Autodesk’s acquisition of UNIFI—now Content Catalog—those who manage Revit content live with uncertainty about what the future holds. 

AVAIL can’t speak to what Autodesk has up its sleeve for UNIFI, but we can speak to what is coming down the pipeline for us: Revit application version management, redlining and mark up abilities within the AVAIL platform, a new Related Content feature to keep information together and easier to consume, and so much more. 

Those who have already thought through their firm’s content management are the easiest to onboard to AVAIL. Last year, a third of our customers who switched from another CMS—including SMMA—onboarded in about a month’s time.  

To make the switch even easier, we now offer a guided AVAIL Team Test Drive that includes in-person set-up of AVAIL and training for your team, as well as a 30-day Enterprise trial period. We do the heavy lifting developing a content management strategy and transferring your content onto AVAIL so you can focus on the system and whether it works best for your firm’s needs. No contract is required! Learn more about the AVAIL Team Test Drive

Ready to switch your team to AVAIL, too? We can help! Book a demo today. 


About smma

smmaFounded in 1955, SMMA is an employee-owned, multidisciplinary design firm based in Cambridge, MA and Providence, RI. Approaching design as a deeply collaborative process, the firm maximizes its value through early involvement and a convergence of artistic and technical focus that speaks directly to the needs of their clients. And as pioneers of an integrated design methodology, they continuously strive to redefine the way the industry works.

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