Robert Bird Group uses Talon FAST™ for Follow-the-Sun collaboration

by Jaap van Duijvenbode on May 27, 2015

Robert Bird Group needed a solution that would empower Follow-the-Sun collaboration on some of the most prestigious, high-profile civil and structural engineering projects in the world, and so turned to Talon FAST™.

Robert Bird Group uses Talon FAST™ for Follow-the-Sun collaborationThere are a number of inherent challenges for any distributed enterprise working on a global scale. Regulatory issues are unavoidable, and travel expenses can add up quickly. However, probably the single biggest issue that needs to be tackled is collaboration. For any firm with locations in multiple countries on multiple continents, the question becomes how to enable the workforce to share information, communicate and work together on projects, despite the obvious difficulties that such collaborative efforts present. If a company cannot overcome this challenge, it simply will not be able to fully leverage its employees or its resources.

This was the situation Robert Bird Group faced a number of years ago. Robert Bird Group is a structural, civil and specialist engineering consultancy with offices in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. With hundreds of knowledge workers, engineers and designers based around the globe, their teams needed a solution that would empower Follow-the-Sun collaboration on some of the most prestigious, high-profile projects in the world. To achieve this level of performance, Robert Bird Group turned to the Talon FAST™ file collaboration solution.

The global challenge
Since 1982, Robert Bird Group has developed a diverse project portfolio that extends over numerous industry and government sectors globally. We have built a reputation for expertise in the engineering of complex structural projects including high rise and waterfront developments, prestigious public buildings, heritage listed developments, urban regeneration projects, health, education, sporting facilities, major retail developments, mining & resources, transportation infrastructure, power and renewable energy resources.

testRobert Bird Group designed some of the world's biggest structures.

To maximize efficiency and responsiveness, Robert Bird Group embraced real-time Follow-the-Sun collaboration. In this arrangement, associates collaborate in real-time around the clock, from Australia to the Middle East to the United Kingdom and beyond As the sun moves, so does the responsibility for a given Robert Bird Group project. At all times, the staff will be hard at work on projects. According to Group IT manager Stephen Cottham, there may be as many as 100 architects, designers and engineers assigned to a single detailed project, collaborating from the organization's offices across the globe.

However, this level of collaboration and communication is only possible if employees can access, view and alter corporate files at any time and from any location without worrying about data integrity or delays. For a firm like Robert Bird Group, this is by no means guaranteed. After all, a single project may need the attention of architects who are 10,000 miles away from one another.

Essentially, to maximize performance, the company needed a solution that could deliver data access capabilities on the level of a local network, despite the tremendous physical distances separating personnel. The data needed to not only travel quickly, but to also remain coherent and consistent while being utilized by different personnel at different offices. Making matters more difficult, the files in question were typically enormous, containing CAD and BIM designs and projects.

"Robert Bird Group employees can work on a file confident that the data is the same for everyone."

The Talon solution
For years, Robert Bird Group tried and rejected various global file sharing and collaboration solutions until finally finding a winner: Talon's FAST™. FAST™ software allowed Robert Bird Group to consolidate its local file servers into a "Single Set of Data." This ensures that multiple employees can work with a given file, each one confident that the data he or she sees is the same for everyone. This consistency is absolutely essential for highly detailed architectural projects. At the same time, FAST™ provides top-level security for each file.

Critically, FAST™ also ensures that Robert Bird Group employees can access the documents and files they need instantly, without any low-bandwidth-related latency issues.

With FAST™, Robert Bird Group's employees now feel like they are collaborating with colleagues in the same office, even when separated by thousands of miles and numerous time zones. The solution has proven to be a "total game-changer" for the company, improving collaboration, communication and overall performance at every branch office.

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