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WSP UK is deploying Huddle in a bid to improve collaboration among global engineers

WSP UK is deploying Huddle in a bid to improve collaboration among global engineers

The UK subsidiary of international engineering consultancy WSP Global announced that it is deploying Huddle, a cloud-based collaboration platform, in a bid to improve the way engineers collaborate on content across multiple sites globally.

According to WSP UK’s director and head of project technology Frank McLeod the company replaced its legacy collaboration systems including email and FTP with Huddle because it needed to support workers collaborating on rich content across multiple sites while enabling them to avoid versioning problems typically inherent to these platforms.

Globally, the company has 17,000 employees based in more than 300 offices across 35 countries, and WSP UK regularly collaborates with internal and external staff in those countries.

“The unique challenge we have is, how do we get 17,000 employees to effectively work together as a single entity?” McLeod told Business Cloud News, adding that the company tends to share information in a highly centralised way – making these kinds of platforms ideal.

“WSP’s projects and teams’ skills simply don’t recognise geographical boundaries so it’s vital that everyone – regardless of what region they’re based in – can securely access the information they need. “

“We need to ensure there’s just one version of the truth and in construction it’s often the contractor who deploys a tool when they come on board. Such systems are usually quite complex, born out of the construction industry and targeted towards managers rather than designers. There’s also a mass of information and data that’s already been generated prior to the contractor getting involved, so WSP wanted a tool that was intuitive enough for everyone involved in a project to use from the offset and enabled collaboration within and across our firewall.”

The company aims to have more than 2,000 users on Huddle by the end if the summer, and the service will likely be rolled out to other WSP companies worldwide.

McLeod explained that the company’s move to the cloud is an “obvious no brainer” but it hasn’t been without its challenges. The company, which he said was traditionally fairly conservative when it comes to adopting new technologies, has over the past few years taken its core platforms into the cloud.

The company uses BIM360 Glue, a cloud platform that allows engineers to render and collaborate on building information, and is experimenting with a version of Autodesk that allows staff to author and create in the cloud. It’s also considering a Skysync implementation, which could help keep its cloud storage platforms synchronised.

“I think as engineers we tend to fashion ourselves as experts in technology. We both want, and feel comfortable with, highly visible technology,” he said. “But that’s not necessarily how it should be because it distracts us from down what we do best. The technology bit is now becoming invisible, becoming seamless, and the cultural shift, which is really the more challenging bit, is in the midst of taking place.”

“Getting users accustomed to this new way of using technology is essential and doing this in small batches helps the process along,” he added.

  • Brian Whelan July 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Good afternoon,
    are you running Huddle on premise ? if so was this a separately negotiated contract as I don’t see this as an option, on premises solutions for large organisations are in my mind the way to go, I just didn’t have Huddle as an option for that solution.
    How did you select Huddle over other solutions ?
    Can you tell me how you publish Huddle externally, and how you interface the application with your existing file storage.

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