FFA Architecture + Interiors

The Company
FFA Architecture and Interiors in Portland, Oregon, is a full-service firm providing architecture, planning, and interior design services for a wide range of project types. For almost 60 years the award-winning firm has provided high quality building designs that fit within the framework of the sites and embody the history, culture, and value of their clients.

FFA’s portfolio includes planning and design, new construction, historic rehabilitation, and interior design and space planning for a wide variety of commercial and civic projects. Their goal is to create environments where people are empowered by the potential of design.

FFA seeks to enrich the built environment and their communities by providing exemplary design services through award-winning and sustainably-designed projects.

The Challenge
FTP has been around since the 1970s. Today this technology has largely been replaced with more user-friendly and secure cloud-based technologies. But FTP is still a part of many design and architectural firms’ file-sharing and collaboration strategies. FAA had been using FTP for years, but there were long-simmering complaints from architects in the firm that FTP was limited and difficult for external stakeholders to use as a collaboration platform.

Josh Rosenbaum, FFA’s IT manager, was facing his own challenges with FTP. As the firm grew, he saw administration and support tasks increase with FTP. FFA, like many firms, needs to share large, complex files with both internal and external stakeholders. Provisioning new hardware, updating operating systems, with the constant surveilling of storage capacity, and installing patches are all tasks that fell to Josh in keeping the FTP up and running smoothly. And IT responsibilities at the fast-growing firm were continuing to multiply—as he jokes, “I’m also responsible for anything in the office with an electrical plug.” So, any technology upgrade that would be easier to manage is a welcomed change.

Looking to evolve collaboration and file sharing capabilities of the firm, Josh initially looked at Microsoft SharePoint. But after deeper examination, Josh discovered SharePoint had some limitations that seriously dampened his initial enthusiasm for the platform.

Josh found that SharePoint was overly complex for FFA. Even after attending specialized training, Josh became convinced that SharePoint was overbuilt, technically complex and inflexible from a user’s perspective.

An added disadvantage included the need for hard-to-find SharePoint consulting support, which was also very expensive. The time and cost required to customize SharePoint to meet FFA’s most basic needs were simply cost-prohibitive.

Document search was difficult with SharePoint as well, and the Microsoft platform failed to meet the collaboration needs of the firm. Josh decided, “All in all, SharePoint was too complicated for our needs.”

The Result
In researching the middle ground between outdated FTP and overly-complex SharePoint, Josh discovered ARC Projects, a construction document-management solution that guarantees everyone is automatically on the latest set. With ARC Projects, project teams can:
• Markup, hyperlink, share, store, organize, and distribute construction documents automatically
•Quickly and easily share docs and revisions with internal and external project partners
•Enable secure, IT-friendly access from anywhere on any computer or tablet
•Easily increase productivity and shorten project timelines
•Upload and download all major construction document file
After testing and introduction, the architects at FFA experienced far fewer problems and delays with ARC Projects than they did with FTP. They shared project files more easily with external partners, suppliers, and staff. And, it was much easier to learn than expected.

According to Josh, ARC Projects is “a fantastic, cost-effective, soup-to-nuts solutions for our firm. It’s exactly what we were looking for.”

ARC Projects also shaved days of off projects. Instead of waiting for markups to be hand-delivered, the revisions were sent digitally. The ease of workflow meant projects started faster and projects closed out with fewer delays.

“ARC Projects fits in exactly with our archiving strategy,” continued Josh. “Project ends became easier because we simply shipped off files from ARC Projects as is. No further work was required, prepping for project closeout.”

“It should come as no surprise that part of ARC Projects appeal lies in its intuitiveness.” According to Josh, “ARC Projects is so easy to learn, no real training was required. And, a few of the architects mentioned that it matched very closely the way they managed projects, so it was far less disruptive than expected.”

From the IT side, Josh has a few opinions of his own about ARC Projects. “As an IT Manager, I found that administration is super easy. And, strong encryption eased any security concerns I had. In fact, it was much more secure than I expected.”

When pressed to reveal how much time he is saving with ARC Projects, Josh estimated that he spends 1/50th to 1/100th less time and fewer resources managing the firm’s file sharing and collaboration strategy today.

Check out ARC Projects and see if it matches your needs. Create a free trial account to see if your company can gain the same impressive project efficiencies as FFA.