As one of the world’s pre-eminent architectural design practices, Kohn Pedersen Fox focuses on the design of multi-faceted buildings of all types and scales. Fostering innovation through cutting-edge technology and digital processes remains at the core of its strategic project development. For every project, their goal is to find the smartest, and yet most effective solution. Or as Albert Wu, Design Application Manager at KPF, puts it, “constantly searching for the most elegant solutions to complex problems”. Yet, in Design and Construction projects, improper data management can easily hinder agile building and collaboration processes.
KPF’s renowned ability to deliver awe-inspiring projects has established its credibility as a world-class competitor. In 2007, the firm found its need to compete in a global market was being truncated by growing project data utilizing common, yet ineffective solutions. KPF wanted to focus on organizing project communication, project content, and ultimately, creating user-friendly workflows to allow project team members to design with ease. KPF’s most pressing need revolved around managing project information on a global scale, from email management to file transfers and Contract Management. Yet, KPF is a firm known for constantly pushing boundaries, setting the bar higher than previously raised. This consistent push to redefine expectations and set new standards is the reason why KPF looks for technology partners, such as Newforma, who can easily identify the relevant and unique challenges faced by Design and Construction firms. The push to redefine expectations is brought on by the fact that teams are more dispersed than ever before – either from a home office, or at a job site, or visiting clients. Having real-time access to the most current project documents or the ability to easily collaborate is important now, and will continue to be a struggle for customers who are consistently dispersed. In the case of KPF, many project teams are working across three separate continents thus expanding the amount of data sources for teams to store and manage project information.
Why Newforma Project Center
Newforma Project Center’s Project Email Addressing (PEACE) allows KPF to manage the flood of email that swamps project team’s member’s email Inbox, by automating the filing of emails to specific projects and allowing the valuable information that is so often buried in each project team member’s Inbox to be readily available to the rest of the internal project team into a centralized project email repository. Filing emails into Project Center allows you to share project-related email with the rest of the project team, helping your team get away from disparate email environments. “Newforma Project Center is pretty much the only solution that does global email management and global file transfer beautifully. Before Project Center, Outlook public folders was the only place to dump all project information.”
KPF turned to Newforma Cloud, a streamlined, cloud-based user experience that gives users the ability to leverage Single Sign-On, searchability of project files, effortless file and folder sharing, creation of action items, and swipe to file email filing. For Albert and his team, Newforma Cloud has proven invaluable for ubiquitous collaboration spanning multiple continents.
“The Newforma Cloud service app is one of the greatest aspects, especially from a file-sharing perspective. Before you share a file, you have to worry about, ‘is the party internal or external’, ‘is the file link beginning with our project map drive’, ‘does it contain expiration dates’. Newforma Cloud’s filesharing takes that worry away from our users. It works anytime, anywhere, on all devices. Especially today, during the pandemic crisis, it has been one of the most useful features.”
Connecting Best-in-Class Applications
Areas of the project lifecycle require different applications to be used, from initial models to construction administration to project archive. Newforma Project Center connects with multiple applications to empower users to work in their application of choice and bring context to all project information to drive strategic project decisions. Like many companies, KPF leverages Microsoft® Teams for intra-communications and Microsoft® Sharepoint® for document storage and collaboration. Project Center’s integration with Microsoft 365® empowers users to work more
efficiently and collaboratively within their project teams. Ultimately, this integration allows users to save time creating Groups in Microsoft 365 and optionally synchronizing Project and Project Team members to automatically create the Group, Team, Calendar, Sharepoint site, and OneNote in Microsoft 365. Further, it allows project teams to automatically associate projects and link project information when kicking-off a project.
Pushing Boundaries to Stay Ahead of the Curve
As KPF looks to the future, Albert still asks, what is ‘the most elegant solution’ to a complex problem.” The AEC industry is continuously evolving, and technology’s role is becoming more prevalent in the search for synergy between project management and information management. Whether it’s managing and accessing project data remotely, or on-the-go, or centralizing fractured project data across cloud services and file storage locations, Albert places his trust in Newforma Project Center. Revered as the ‘hub’ of all project information, Project Center makes this challenge easier to manage for his project teams. Even in times of global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm has managed to maintain high-levels of production and even increase hiring. "What’s happening in the global AEC industry makes the idea of Project Center being the ‘hub’ of all information more important. The need for Project Information Management will always be there, yet these needs will constantly evolve. Newforma Project Center is heading in a positive direction with the integrations of Bentley® ProjectWise, Microsoft® Sharepoint®, Procore®, Bluebeam®, and Autodesk® BIM 360®. Project Center has literally become the one-stop-shop for all our project team members. They can access information from the project directory, regardless of where they are. If you look at any product on the market today, there isn’t a single product that can possibly provide as many integrations."