WSP escapes data silos with Huddle collaboration tool

Cloud SaaS

by Joe Curtis| 11 July 2014

But the firm hasn't got rid of email yet.

Engineering consultancy WSP has selected cloud collaboration tool Huddle to help teams securely share data as the firm seeks to escape its legacy systems.

Describing a "love, hate" relationship with email, Frank McLeod, director and UK head of project technology at WSP, told CBR that sharing information via such systems had led to internal data silos.

He said: "We've just outgrown them. Could we keep up to pace with our hardware-centric systems? Yes we could. But it would cost us an absolute fortune. It became very apparent that we needed to migrate our collaboration and operations as part of our journey. We thought we'd start with cloud collaboration."

The firm is on its way to hitting a target of 2,000 users on Huddle by the end of summer, out of its 17,000 total staff.

And McLeod hopes to improve collaboration between them with Huddle, after project content shared via email and other internal systems proved to be a challenge for external collaboration, while sharing files via email and FTP resulted in confusion over file versions.

He added: "Projects had a finite duration and at the end of it the data was archived."

Instead, with 100 live projects on the go, WSP is considering just keeping the information all stored in Huddle as it seeks to comply with regulations that require the firm to retain data for 12 years, discussing pricing with the collaboration company.

A recent example of the firm's use of Huddle was an airport design project which required collaboration between staff based in Basingtoke, San Francisco, New York, London, Delhi and Dubai offices, all on the same content.

McLeod said: "With full audit trails and version controls, Huddle looks to save us a significant amount of time searching for the correct version of files, sifting through inboxes and trying to share content externally.

"It's all about ease of use, and we're trying to make their product become invisible to us so we can just get on with work."

But he admitted the company hasn't ditched email yet. "It's a love-hate relationship with email," he said. "My inbox was 2,500 unread emails in it and I would love to get rid of it."

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