3,500+ projects completed valued at $10bn+
40 file servers deprecated
As with most companies established in the 1970’s, ADCO legacy systems and technologies are hard to evolve. Some organisations don’t even try. But not ADCO, one of Australia’s leading construction businesses. Completing over 3,500 projects valued at $10+ billion since its beginning, ADCO is now spearheading the construction industry’s move into the digital age.
With the mission to be the builder of choice for clients, the almost 50 year old company understood that to remain competitive, agile and efficient, it needed to embark on a digital transformation journey. “We were at a crossroads,” Doug Zuzic, Chief Information Officer at ADCO explains. “Our infrastructure was at least seven years old and needed replacing. It was pretty ugly. So we asked ourselves do we invest in physical infrastructure or do we look at a cloud-based option?”
For Doug and the team, the answer was clear. With fractured information stored across states, minimal national oversight of the business and a lack of mobility in the field for employees, ADCO required a single platform solution that was easy to use and would standardize processes across the team. After considering several options on the market, ADCO identified Dropbox as the perfect solution.
“Each state stored project-related documents independently, which created silos in our business. The transition to Dropbox has ensured we are working as one team.”
Eager to progress its newly established cloud-first agenda, ADCO trialed Dropbox on two different jobs in NSW. The positive feedback from employees is what led to a company-wide roll-out.
Elizabeth Mackison, Graphic Designer at ADCO, works within the pre-construction teams and was one of the first to trial Dropbox Business. As a designer, Elizabeth coordinates with Estimators, Project Managers, Construction Managers, and Designer Architects on producing bids and tenders.
“Our team is, by nature, incredibly collaborative. On any one bid, I’m working with up to 10 different people. With Dropbox Business we can easily share documents with the whole team. We can see what people are working on - there’s a greater level of security and visibility over our workflows,”
“Dropbox Business has made our whole team work faster and we’re able to work with much more flexibility than before. It’s made a huge difference to my life,” said Elizabeth.
Previously, information about different jobs was being stored on local servers state by state. This meant there was no high-level oversight of ADCO’s projects, causing fragmentation within the company. “The biggest problem we had was that all our information was stored at a state level. Every state had a server. Because of that, we were never able to look at all jobs nationally,” explains Zuzic. “With Dropbox, we completely standardized how we manage jobs across states. We now have a single, accessible view of all the information associated with every project, both past and present.”
ADCO employees were also growing frustrated with not being able to access files from mobile devices while on-site and were having to physically return to the office just to complete their work. “They hated not being able to work the way they wanted to. Accessing files was a regular challenge,” says Zuzic. In particular, employees found it hard to share large files like BIM files or CAD drawings with consultants. When in the field, they were taking photos on a camera, transferring them to a USB then uploading to a server. “It was time-consuming, inefficient and frustrating. But with Dropbox, they can now open a drawing on site on their mobile device and edit it in real-time”, said Zuzic. “Sticking with file servers wouldn’t have provided us any of the advantages of mobile and flexible working.”
Information security was also a pain point for ADCO when assessing its aging infrastructure. “Due to the age of our servers, there were some issues raised during a security audit,” explains Zuzic. “But being ISO 27001 compliant and having the ability to quickly on-board and off-board users, means Dropbox has greatly improved security for us.”
“We’re a progressive company, we understand that there are efficiencies to be had. Dropbox is one of those initiatives.”
Before partnering with Dropbox, ADCO had disparate data stored across states, it meant sourcing information was difficult. “We had bits of information everywhere, including on hard-drives, SAN drives, NAS and servers,” says Zuzic. Previously, when employees needed to find files pertaining to a particular job site from a different state, they needed to submit a request to IT, causing delays for that information to be sourced. Now, with Dropbox, site and project managers are able to access files quicker than ever before, whether they’re on site or in the office, from any device and share with anyone via a single link. Dropbox has also made archiving past jobs straightforward with all information now available in the one place.
Additionally, ADCO is in the process of deprecating all 40 of its file servers. “Replacing servers by migrating data to the cloud means we’ve reduced those operating costs. As a result of this cloud-first thinking, we’ve refocused our IT employees away from the back of house, to a more productive place where they can be strategic and proactive,” explains Zuzic. “Our IT teams are working on projects that really matter and they’re bringing real value to the business.”