Data Platform

A solution for companies such as AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) as well as Designers, Creatives and, in fact, anyone with large data storage and sharing requirements.

Data Growth Projections

The Problem

Traditional IT systems were almost exclusively client / server environments. This is no longer suitable for modern remote working needs, or collaborative working with people outside your organisation, but typical cloud offerings are not fit for purpose or horrifically expensive (e.g. Autodesk’s Collaborate Pro). Data access and management becomes a complete pain, and using email for version control is truly an awful experience.

There has to be a better way!! Well – thankfully, there is.

The following information is skewed toward AEC companies but any company with large data storage requirements will have the same issues.

Specific Problems and Pain Points

Company Systems Access

  • Remote access is slow. How is this done – VPN / remote access to machine / other cumbersome solutions?
  • Project management is next-to impossible and email communication complicates things further.
  • Clumsy solutions affecting company image & client perception.

Staff Complaints and Issues

  • Regular complaints about collaboration and internal processes relating to documents.
  • Staff annoyance and knock-on effects on moral.
  • Staff perception of their value to your organisation (think “my company can’t be bothered to invest in suitable business tools for me”).
  • Wasted time and associated over-staffing needs due to this (see our Employee Cost Calculator for some scary figures).

External Collaboration

  • Slow, unreliable, hard to manage.
  • Numerous file sharing options. Staff will use whatever they feel is the easiest solution. Your precious data scattered to the winds.
  • Version conflicts and data duplication.
  • Sharing files via email makes this even worse with yet more copies stored in emails. Massive mailboxes. What happens when people leave?

Document Version Control

  • How to manage project document & drawing versions?
  • How to ensure your teams onsite, or working remotely, or in the field are working from the latest set?
  • How to ensure there are no issues with version control or finding documents & drawings.
  • Also mentioned above – how to avoid documents & drawings being scattered in multiple software solutions.

Document Retention

  • Hard to implement, manage and enforce.
  • The effort needed to produce documents or drawings from the past that were agreed at a specific moment in time.
  • How to manage exponentially increasing document or drawing storage needs.
  • How to automatically archive off old data or delete expired data.  

Distributed Environments

  • More than one site – how is data accessed from other sites?
  • Hard to put a coherent data structure or standards in place.
  • No single ‘point of truth’ for your information environment.

Information Security

  • Staff leaving with your data.
  • Ransomware threat / systems breach.
  • Business continuity &/or full systems recovery times.

The Solution

There are actually a few ways to crack this nut but we have closed in on one that is a little left field and less well known.

In essence you have the following choices in ascending costs left to right:

File Sync
Cloud Storage
Servers (hardware)
Data Platform
Servers (cloud)
Virtual Desktops
3rd Party Services
e.g. OneDrive / Dropbox / Box / Google Docs etc.
e.g. Azure Files / Amazon EFS
On-premises physical servers
Sophisticated cloud collaboration & governance storage platform
Virtual servers in e.g. Azure or AWS
e.g. Azure Virtual Desktops (AVD) / Inevidesk
e.g. Autodesk Collaborate Pro and other solutions such as Newforma, UnionSquare or ProjectWise
Store data and sync files to all machines
Map a drive directly into the remote storage resource
Map a drive to a local file server
Mix and match options depending on needs; map a drive, cache (not sync) data locally, or directly access data.
Map a drive & VPN to a remote file server
Fully remote environment; virtual Windows machines and data strorage
Varied approaches. Designed for and satisfy very specific requirements. Complex (and expensive) solutions.

Our Solution: Data Platform

Why? Simply put, it is the best balance of features vs. costs.

The solutions to the left are too basic and risky and the solutions to the right become difficult to manage or far too costly.

A brief summary of the benefits:

  • Very feature-rich file storage platform; sharing & collaboration, lifecycle management, data controls, privacy & compliance, access governance, and threat management.
  • Sophisticated local caching mechanism for very fast data access – not sync.
  • Multiple ways of accessing data and applications that cannot work with file sync can be used.
  • Automatic data archiving.
  • Huge file paths and storage.
  • Ransomware virus malware protection is built in.
  • File versioning & roll back.

We have a long list of pros and cons to each item in the above table – please contact us or book time with one of our experts and we can go through all of this in more depth.

We’d need to talk to you in depth about this as it may well not be what you really need after all. We are not wedded to any one solution. Every business’s needs are different. We can provide you with any of the above and more.


Tell us how we can look after all your business and IT needs and we'll get right back to you

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