In the architectural design industry, collaboration between strategists, designers and partners is critically important. It enables design studios to share the ideas and inspirations that result in elegant, functional designs for their clients. In today’s business environment, where a mobile and globally distributed workforce is fast becoming the norm, business professionals must be able to access and share time-sensitive content on demand across different regions and time zones.
This is especially the case for a design studio that has no headquarters, whose core competencies aren’t in one location, but are literally everywhere—from Sydney and New York, to Dubai and Shanghai.
Woods Bagot, a next-generation architecture and design firm with 14 locations around the world, illustrates the challenges of collaborating when an organization is a conglomeration of people with numerous skills and roles. With a team of 750 employees across Australia, Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America, Woods Bagot coordinates some of the world’s top architectural design talent and brings their diverse knowledge and skill sets to bear on their clients’ projects. Collaboration between thought leaders, academics, strategists, designers, projects leaders and clients is an intrinsic feature of how Woods Bagot operates.
That kind of collaboration requires the ability to rapidly and securely share important business content anytime, anywhere in the world.
To enable this level of file sharing and content collaboration, Woods Bagot turned to YouSendIt for Business.
Prior solution was slow, costly and didn’t enable immediate collaboration
Before deploying YouSendIt for Business, Woods Bagot relied heavily on FTP. But it was slow, costly and didn’t foster effortless business content collaboration. As Nectarios Lazaris, the Group Chief Information Officer of Woods Bagot, and his team were evaluating upgrading options for the studio’s data center, they quickly realized that the firm’s FTP system was consuming a disproportionate amount of resources.
“CPU memory and disk space are expensive resources,” says Lazaris. “When you look at the cost of running an FTP server on-premise compared to YouSendIt for Business, it’s an absolute no-brainer, both technically and financially.”
In addition to consuming datacenter resources, FTP is system that someone has to set up and maintain. A dedicated resource must create an account for external parties to access and download content. “There are just so many people involved in managing an FTP server, including operating system and local data backup, that it ends up costing a lot of money,” says Lazaris.
But the biggest objection to FTP from Woods Bagot offices was that it was slow. Although FTP server traffic is business critical, it’s not time sensitive. For a global studio whose mode of operation depends on quickly accessing, sharing and syncing content anywhere, FTP will inevitably produce bottlenecks.
YouSendIt for Business complements a global design firm with a unique business model
One of the aspects of YouSendIt for Business that most appealed to Lazaris was that, unlike FTP and other on-premise solutions, YouSendIt for Business is a global online service. It provides a single, unified experience wherever and whenever the service is required. Best of all, it dramatically simplifies content sharing.
“Having the ability to transfer large files quickly from one studio in Perth so that it’s instantly available to another studio in London is essential to us,” says Lazaris. “YouSendIt for Business aligns with Woods Bagot’s vision and business strategy,” he adds. “When you look at the amount of money required to build our own content delivery system for the benefit of file transfer, no way. It absolutely makes no financial sense in rebuilding what is already a core competency for YouSendIt for Business.”
Lazaris was also impressed with YouSendIt for Business’s Enterprise Management Services and security policies, especially with respect to mobile device security for iPad, iPhone and Android. Because Woods Bagot’s projects are confidential, the secure online service provided by YouSendIt protects their intellectual property as team members share business content using the desktop, web and mobile apps.
“Being able to save a document on your PC that automatically syncs to your iPad is great, but knowing it’s done securely is even better,” says Lazaris.
In addition to security and breadth of services, Lazaris also cites YouSendIt’s competitive position in the SaaS and business content-sharing space, as well as the company’s solid reputation and long-term viability as reasons why he selected YouSendIt for Business over alternative solutions.
Seamless integration, ease of deployment
Woods Bagot deployed YouSendIt for Business to 750 employees worldwide. YouSendIt for Business integrated seamlessly with Active Directory and the studio’s other existing IT systems. “We have Active Directory integration with YouSendIt for Business,” says Lazaris. “When a new employee starts, as soon as they start, they have a YouSendIt for Business account. It’s actually easier setting up a YouSendIt for Business account, than it is to create an email account for the person.” From start to finish, the implementation process didn’t take months or even weeks. YouSendIt for Business was deployed by one person in two days.
As many IT professionals can attest, a successful deployment is often measured by enthusiastic adoption by users with few or no complaints. According to Lazaris, “It’s the ease of integration, the ease in implementation and the ease of deployment of the YouSendIt for Business application. For me, the reason I know YouSendIt for Business has been a successful implementation is it gets used and I don’t know about it.”
“Everyone uses YouSendIt for Business across the global firm”
Seven hundred and fifty people at Woods Bagot use YouSendIt for Business every day to access, share and sync large graphics and movie files in all formats. Business and creative strategists, as well as designers and project leads, rely on Outlook, desktops, laptops and tablets to collaborate on important business content 24/7.
For example, a Woods Bagot designer in New York develops high-quality 3D renderings of a tower in Tokyo. He stores his critical files in the YouSendIt for Business cloud. His content is synced across all systems and devices worldwide. The project leader or account executive in Tokyo instantly accesses the content and presents it to the client for approval.
Executives at Woods Bagot rely on YouSendIt for Business to sync InDesign files for easy access from laptops and iPads for thought-leadership presentations at Stanford University and the World Architecture Festival. Because YouSendIt for Business enables them to share content up to 2GB, they can dispense with PPT and showcase their work and vision to the best possible advantage.
When asked about the file size and formats they typically share, Lazaris responds, “Anything and everything. Big PDFs, big PDFs of drawings and documents. We do a lot of visualization animation work. It’s big stuff. I can assure you that the amount of data that we transfer around the world is significantly larger than companies 10, 20 times our size.”
By improving content sharing and collaboration, YouSendIt for Business functions as a core system that drives greater value back into the business. According to Lazaris, “YouSendIt for Business is the platform we utilize to collaborate on projects both internally and externally with clients and vendors. Perhaps the best thing I can say of YouSendIt for Business is that it works as promised. It integrates seamlessly with Active Directory and our existing infrastructure. We implemented and deployed YouSendIt for Business with one person in two days. Users love it. Because YouSendIt for Business is so easy and convenient, employees get more done quickly, improving efficiency and productivity.”