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CLIENT: United Living

SECTOR: Housing & Construction ,
DELIVERY: Application Integration ,
SERVICE: Project Delivery , Support
TECHNOLOGY: .NET ,

“Our business will experience net savings after eliminating all three legacy document management solutions. Also, transferring data from one of the large, on-premise systems will decrease the risk of the system failing. Document storage is critical to our industry, and the business will be safer once these documents are transferred. Our IT team couldn’t have accomplished these goals without the support of Ballard Chalmers—they’ve had a tremendous impact.”

Greg Morley, CIO United Living

United Living is one of the UK’s leading providers of refurbished and new build living solutions, with over 100 years of experience throughout the country.

Situation

United living needed to migrate data from three legacy systems that contained all their construction-related drawings and documents into a single new system.

The three systems were:

  1. Buzzsaw from Autodesk
  2. Conject from Aconex
  3. Openspace from Deltek

The new system is Aconex.

There were standard methods by which data could be extracted from all three systems into a file for subsequent import into Aconex. The main migration challenges were:

  • The three systems export data in different ways and all three are different from the import format for Aconex.
  • Aconex has twenty-one fields of metadata for each item, ten of which are mandatory. Not all these fields are available from the source systems and would need to be obtained from the operations team familiar with the construction projects.

Solution

During the scoping / design phase, given the large number of files and versions, it quickly became apparent that using the Aconex bulk upload tool was not a realistic option.

This was because although it would theoretically work, it would require separate uploads for every version of all documents in each project. So, for example, if a project had fifty versions of some documents then it would be necessary to prepare the files and metadata for each of the fifty versions to carry out a manual import.

So instead, a .NET application was developed using the Aconex API to automatically migrate the data with minimal user intervention.

For each of the three systems, we produced a version of the .NET program that could migrate projects automatically. We then carried out one successful migration and the remaining migrations were run by United Living, with Ballard Chalmers providing support where needed.

Outcome

The integration and migration project was successful, with all migrations happening on-time and the team now successfully using the Aconex system.

Some key results:

  • Mail response time improved by 84%, from 16 days to 4 on average, while volume has grown 4X
  • Transmittal response time improved by 68%, from 28 days to 9
  • RFI response time has improved 19%
  • Discovery has transformed from what could have taken a full-time person a year, to something that can now be done in a couple of hours to half a day
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