LDA Design is a renowned independent design and environment business employing over 100 people across four sites. LDA Design is implementing Workspace, the UK’s leading practice management application for architects, to solve issues surrounding email management, CRM and project management.
With email traffic of over half a million messages a year, and rising, there were concerns over the way it was being stored and used by different people and teams across the business. A review of the current procedure identified that the same information was being stored in several places and hard copies were also being filed, creating great replication. It was clear that action needed to be taken. IT Director, Colin Crawford comments, “Email is one of the main areas within the business in which we are exposed to risk. We have no foolproof way of knowing that people are following procedures and that we will be able to produce all relevant emails on a given topic if required. This could leave us exposed in the event of litigation.”
The offices work together and need to collaborate across geographic boundaries. Each office works on a shared network domain and there is a common ethos and standard way of working across the business. Colin needed a system that would enable more effective communications and direct data transfer between sites but would still enable local distinctiveness to flourish.
Another area in which LDA Design was looking to improve its management of information was the centralisation and access to accumulated knowledge on projects. Contacts are stored in Outlook with no link to projects and duplication of contact records is commonplace. Colin continues: “We recognised that a system that could bring all project information together and make it accessible to everybody would bring massive benefits to the business.”
LDA Design reviewed several products prior to the selection of Workspace. Union Square and the Workspace solution won out due to the industry specific nature of the product. “We visited other design businesses that were using Workspace and it was clear that Union Square had a lot of experience in implementing software for companies just like ours,” said Colin. “Existing clients were extremely positive about Workspace which confirmed our initial thoughts that Workspace was the best product for our company.”
To minimise the initial financial outlay and ensure that the most pressing issues are addressed first, a phased approach has been adopted to the Workspace implementation, “The great thing about Workspace is that clients can pick and choose which elements to implement first. This is not only good for cash flow but it also allows companies to minimise the impact of change on the business. LDA Design is starting with email management, CRM and project management in phase one followed by the full information management system, including document management,” said Will Yandell at Union Square.
In the current economic climate Colin views this as a good time to introduce this type of software, “Now is the time to be looking at productivity and implementing Workspace is the perfect opportunity to review our procedures. Workspace will streamline our working practices and the business will benefit from greater efficiency.”
Colin concludes, “Workspace will empower individuals by ensuring more efficient access to higher quality information. It will make us more competitive and able to respond better to client needs.”
Founded in 1979, LDA Design is a renowned independent design and environment business driven by a commitment to shape the world for the better. We help our clients regenerate communities, create special places, manage resources and realise their development and commercial goals.
LDA Design brings together all the services necessary for the creative and technical leadership and delivery of complex development, regeneration and environmental projects. The practice has specialist expertise in masterplanning, urban design, regeneration, landscape architecture, ecology, architecture, development planning, strategic land promotion, green infrastructure, rural consultancy, environmental impact assessment, historic environments, environmental planning, renewable energy and community asset management.
The practice employs over 100 people in London, Oxford, Peterborough and Exeter and clients include developers, land-owners, regeneration agencies, government departments, local authorities, renewable energy firms and educational establishments.
About Union Square Software
Based in Nottingham, UK, Union Square Software (unionsquaresoftware.com) is the author of Workspace. Workspace has been developed to provide organisations from across the construction supply chain with real competitive advantage through the pragmatic introduction of portal technology which enables effective Knowledge Management. Workspace provides a range of solutions for project centric organisations including: corporate database, enquiry management, document control and project collaboration.