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Driving Project and Business Value with a Hybrid Solution

February 12, 2021
By Peg Landry
Albert Wu
Tara Anderson

In a recent webinar hosted by Newforma, Albert Wu, Design Applications Manager at KPF, discussed how his firm leverages technology and Newforma’s hybrid solution to manage projects globally.

Albert leads the firm’s initiatives to implement technology and processes for strategic project development and delivery.

Tara Anderson, Director of Customer Success at Newforma conducted the interview with Albert.

Here are the highlights from the webinar…

Tara: Tell us about KPF, what kinds of projects does your firm work on, and what is your role?

Albert: I am the Design Applications Manager at KPF responsible for firm-wide digital tool research, workflow optimization, workflow optimization, and vendor relationship management. We have 9 offices in 7 countries, and we manage a range of projects including supertalls (my favorite), airport, mixed use, academic, and hotel.

Tara: Let’s go back in time – to 2007 – what kind of challenges were your project teams facing when it came to managing information?

Albert: Back in the early 2000’s we had an urgent need to find a PIM (Project Information Management) solution to help us find and share information easily, and also to track with an audit trail. We researched platforms for a year and selected Newforma Project Center – we have been with Newforma ever since.

Tara: Were there any workflows in particular that were particularly problematic before you start using Newforma?

Albert: Oh yes, as I mentioned earlier, we needed a way to organize our project data and records. For example, finding a past submissions package from 10 years ago, will you be able to find those images or drawings or all the records about specific information shared with an external team member. Which means capturing all the emails and file transmissions throughout the life cycle of a project.

I’ll give you another example – Outlook – I imagine that everyone uses Outlook. We’ve been using Outlook since the early 90’s and we still do. Outlook was designed as a portal for incoming and outgoing emails – it never really was designed as an email management platform. The challenge is to manage all of the emails from all of team’s inboxes throughout the life of the project – that’s a great challenge. Our designer talents are in design not traffic control or record keeping management.

Tara: How did you see your business change once you implemented Newforma?

Albert: What’s really changed is time. KPF has been pushing the boundaries of remote access for many years and with Covid, we don’t have to work in the office. We also don’t have to worry anymore about recording keeping or audit trails.

Tara: How has Newforma helped you with managing emails?

Albert: Architecture projects usually last for many, many years and you will have your team members coming and going. In order to manage all that information, you truly need a PIM product to help you manage all of the business information.

Tara: Now let’s talk about the present – what challenges do your project teams face today that you didn’t face back in the early 2000’s?

Albert: Well like I said earlier, the necessity to be able to work anytime from anywhere is really a must for any PIM products currently on the market today. Can your user file email from their mobile device? Can your users share files or information effortlessly and securely? That is the question we ask ourselves every day. We are very happy with Newforma’s current developments efforts with the hybrid model. Our users don’t have to worry about whether project information is in the cloud or in the office – they simply go to Newforma.

Tara: When you say “hybrid” what do you really mean? What does that mean to you?

Albert: For example, on the management level you want to have a secure business environment. On the user level, you want an effortless, very easy to user interface to access all of that information. So those are the hybrid environments that we need to have – in my opinion it’s really a requirement for any PIM product.