Case Studies2018-10-19T06:30:58+00:00

Cold Solution

Australian Central Credit Union adopts Dv TDM

Australian Central Credit Union is a Credit Union based in Adelaide serving all of South Australia and Northern Territory. Like many financial institutions it has numerous statutory reporting obligations as well as many internal needs for continually reporting and monitoring its operations, and obligations to hold all data for several years. Many of the reports are quite voluminous and have to be generated a very frequent intervals, often daily. Hence a very large volume of documents accumulates in current use, and even more in archival storage.

Storing a large volume of paper documents has become a major expense. Most of the non-current material has to be stored at some off-site archiving facility because of the limited and costly office space at a city headquarters location. Maintaining an effective indexing system to all this volume of paper documents stored in various locations is a major task in itself, but essential since reference to particular documents is always likely to be needed at a moment’s notice.

The obvious answer to the indexing need is some form of electronic system that allows fast searches by any criteria. It can then show exactly where the paper documents are stored. But if the data itself can be stored electronically, the system can deliver instant access to it. Document data in electronic form can be stored very much more compactly and eliminate or at least greatly reduce the need for off-site storage. Hence, even when the data involved is not so current as to be held in an instant retrieval database system, Access to electronic archival data can be gained extremely quickly.

The Australian Central Credit Union has a computer network with about 100 users at the Adelaide Head Office. This runs on a mixture of Windows 2000 and Windows NT4 computers. Much of the records for Credit Union members, such as statements, are stored in a database system on the network.

The Australian Central Credit Union management decided that it was time to implement an electronic document management system to index the paper document storage, and to then move towards wholly electronic storage of all data. As a first phase they proposed to implement a system to handle the reporting documents.

They worked out a set of key requirements and invited offers from software vendors. Three offers were accepted for detailed evaluation. To provide a realistic evaluation environment, a dummy database was set up by copying some of the data from the present system. The evaluation team installed each product with the assistance of its vendor, and had some staff trained in its use. They spent about a month setting up and operating each test system. The three systems were evaluated for ease of implementation and configuration to the business’s needs, time needed to train set-up and operational staff, effectiveness and scope of its search and retrieval facilities, and the ease with which system changes could be made after the system was in use without upsetting the data and without needing costly expert consultants. The cost and benefits were also assessed, particularly regarding long term on-going costs of maintenance and system refinement, and the likely ‘pay back’ period – the time when the savings in operational costs would cover the initial implementation costs. Another factor considered was whether the new system could make use of the same database system that was already in use, and also migrate to the proposed server-based data system later on without problems.

The result of the evaluation of the three systems was clearly in favour of Dv TDM produced by Acumen Data Pty Ltd, and that system was adopted. It was supplied by the Adelaide company, Scan Services, who provided plenty of set-up assistance and initial staff training. There is always a rather laborious initial set-up period when adopting any new data system because of having to enter all the backlog of historical data. Dv TDM provides various tools to minimize that task and with assistance from Scan Services, it was accomplished with ‘a minimum of fuss’, as they say.

The backup and archival storage of documents is done by saving the scans to DVD-R disks. Scans of black-&-white text documents, which are the vast majority, produce quite small data files with the usual compressed data formats, and DVD-R disks hold data so compactly that there is little need for any off-site storage except for security backups. Those are held off-site to guard against fire and similar disasters. The long-term archival storage of data on DVD or CD does not need elaborate environmental precautions, as the disks only need to be kept away from major heat and sunlight. Magnetic and most radiation fields are not a problem.

The features of the Dv TDM system that particularly appealed to the Central Credit Union are:

  • Easy system implementation and set-up,
  • Strong security controls,
  • Minimal user training needed,
  • Easy configuration to suit local needs, without requiring expert contractors,
  • Ability to alter data configurations, screen forms and add facilities after the system is established without upsetting existing data and without needing expert help,
  • Ability to function using their existing database system (Access) and to change to using their proposed system (SQL/Server) at a later time without any need for re-entering data or redefining the set-up data,
  • Unrestricted scalability to provide for future growth without needing any disruptive change to a different system,
  • Ability to operate across a distributed wide-area-network if the Credit Union should move to such a system,
  • Ability to provide user access with full security from workstations without any special software installed or from remote dial-in locations, using only a web browser,
  • Ability to manage a mix of paper and electronic storage.

The system was evaluated after a year’s operation, and received a very favourable report. As a result, the Credit Union has embarked upon Phase 2 – which includes using the same system for handling on-line access to membership and loan applications within the internal network.

The Credit Union’s adoption of the Dv TDM system has achieved all its aims and has done so with very little difficulty during the potentially challenging early stages. The established system is proving its usefulness and living up to all its claims of ease of operation and maintenance, and of cost savings. Its value lies both in providing reliable, secure data access and in the cost reductions that result from quick access and reducing


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Email Management

Scan Conversion Services (SCS) is an Adelaide based, ISO 9002 quality assured company, which for some 10 years has been delivering highly effective document and drawing management solutions to a diverse range of private, public and not-for-profit sector clients.

Among the comprehensive range of services that SCS offers are:

Specialist Scanning Solutions – to meet the specific requirements of Accounts Payable and Proof of Delivery activities.

Comprehensive Scanning and Conversion Bureau Services – a full service bureau facility that is fully equipped to meet any client requirement no matter how complex, urgent or exacting.

Full In-house Scanning and Conversion Services – a total range of document management hardware, software, specialist tools and training for clients who seek an on-site solution.

Drawing and Document Management Audits – to help clients determine major challenges in current operations, where efficiency, productivity and security improvements can be made, and the savings that can result.

Background

SCS regularly operates up to three intensive shifts per day which can place considerable pressure on both internal and external communications. And among the capabilities that it wanted to effectively have in place were the:

Ability to quickly locate a specific email, after hours, when there was a need to discuss an important matter with a client.

Capacity to readily reference a ‘trail’ of email correspondence that related to such things as a client quotation or detailed brief.

Need to effectively manage a continuing flow of client/SCS email traffic that can span everything form the request to collect the latest batch of documents, to the return of ‘pilot’ scanned data for approval, to the change of an initial brief.

Long term archiving and ready recall of relevant email correspondence, given that the bureau’s assignments may often span 6-24 months.

Solution

To meet its exacting email management requirements, SCS elected to use the Dv Office solution developed and supported by Acumen Data.

As SCS executive Wenona Pledge notes, “We now have a total system that now allows us to quickly find any email we have sent, that speedily enables us to find any key electronic correspondence, and which let’s us know precisely who emailed what to whom and when.

“For example, whenever we currently archive the correspondence and data on a particular project, we know that all relevant information has been logically filed together. This means that we can then readily retrieve all pertinent information whenever a client returns to us for a new assignment or for additional work in a new location, or for a totally new task. We are, therefore, able to review all that historical data and talk to the valued customer as if the previous job was only yesterday.

“This is even more valuable where the client has experienced a level of staff turnover, and where our demonstrable knowledge of what has been done in the past can help position us as a valuable business partner rather than as a mere supplier.

“That said, the most significant contribution of Dv Office is undoubtedly been its contribution to enhanced customer service. Now, when a client calls, any authorised staff can answer their query while viewing the complete history of client/SCS communications at the touch of a button. This has a major impact when jobs are modified, at client request, but while still WIP. Here, an email request, for such a change, is automatically passed to the relevant staff member with no opportunity for it to be overlooked or ‘lost’ in the system’.

As Ms Pledge stresses: “We were initially concerned that the implementation of a full email management system would require a substantial setup effort. However, with Dv Office we can, and do, choose to simply assign a new domain name to the client directory when we get a new user and that only takes a few moments.

“Similarly, we had concerns about the system’s efficacy to correctly archive correspondence if a client sent an email from on the road or home. This is readily resolved by having staff forwarding the email, in question, to Dv TDM with a ‘new subject’ being inserted in the email thus ensuring it will be filed in the correct folder.

“As an absolute level of management control, we also elected to use Dv Office to meticulously index all incoming emails so that there was no scope for missing a single item of inwards correspondence.

“The system similarly streamlines the archiving of emails and other project data after a nominated period of time. But with the important capacity to quickly retrieve any data, including that no longer on the server, with Dv TDM telling us which archive DVD the relevant data is on.


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Hills Industries Limited Accounts Payable Solution

In 1946 when Lance Hill developed the Hills hoist it was more than a means of drying clothes – it was a very clever piece of practical thinking.

Today, Hills is much more than a manufacturer of clever clotheslines. Hills is a diversified manufacturer of a great many innovative Australian products and services which meet standards of quality and dependability people have come to expect and associate with the Hills brand.

Hills currently operates businesses in three industry segments: Home and Hardware Products, Electronic Security and Entertainment Products, and Building and Industrial Products.

Background

Headquartered in the Adelaide suburb of Edwardstown, in South Australia, Hills Industries is also an Australian name that is becoming increasingly familiar to people throughout the world. Its ladders are used in Hong Kong and throughout South East Asia. Its clotheslines are now used by people as far apart as London and Wellington. In New Zealand, children play on Hills gym sets.

With its size, product range and geographic spread, Hills Industries had come to face a large and complex process in the effective management of its creditors. Invoice reconciliation, approval and processing was time consuming. And the statutory requirement to retain such things as invoices, for a minimum of seven years, also imposed a substantial document storage overhead.

Consequently, Hills was determined to implement new tools and procedures that would:

  • Improve managers’ access to creditor information.
  • Simplify document storage and retrieval.

Solution

To meet its objectives, Hills considered a range of options, finally electing to adopt an approach that included the use of Dv TDM document management software.

This approach was initially trialled as a small pilot project within a single company division. However following the success of this, the new creditors’ system was then fully rolled out – across all Australian and New Zealand offices – some six months later.

At the heart of this new management of creditors, is the direct interfacing of Dv TDM to Hills’ mainframe accounting system. As such, when an invoice is now received:

  • Its summary information is immediately logged into the central computer’s creditor files with the same data being automatically transferred to Dv TDM.
  • Dv TDM then prints and records a unique barcode that identifies, and is attached to, each and every individual invoice hard copy.
  • Invoices are then batched and periodically couriered to an external document scanning bureau.
  • Each invoice is scanned and saved to file along with its identifying barcode reference.
  • Scanned information and images are then electronically returned to Hills, using standard FTP (file transfer protocol) via the internet.
  • Automated processes are then used to import and match all information and store it.

With this process in place, staff using the accounting system are able to simply hit a “hotkey” on their terminals with all documentation for a specific transaction then being simply and instantly displayed. For staff members, such as business managers who have initiated a purchase, with authorisation, but without access to the accounting software, the same documentation can be accesses through their internet browser.

Once a payment has been made, cheque details are transferred to Dv TDM. In this way admin staff can instantly call up all such information in response to creditors’ enquiries.

Having achieved the objectives originally set for its creditor processing, Hills has now begun two new projects, using Dv TDM, which will further enhance its administrative work in this arena.

The first, will involve capturing a wide range of material which is currently output to microfiche.

With the second new initiative, additional Dv TDM facilities will be utilised to streamline, speed and more exactingly control the workflow associated with capital expenditure requisition. Central to this is the obvious need to ensure that appropriate approvals have been given and that all corresponding records have been maintained. And here Dv TDM will significantly automate the approval processes by providing an online system that:

Matches each requisition, what it is for and its value, to the specific approval process that is required. Thus different levels of purchase price will demand different levels of approval. With equipment acquisition often also demanding added sign off – for example computer purchases needing IT department OK.

Automates reminders to ensure that all specified data is collected before purchase approval is sought.

Benefits

With its use of Dv TDM Hills Industries reports that there is:

  • Now a single location at which staff can view all information for any creditor’s transaction.
  • No need to manually file.
  • Much faster and more accurate document retrieval.
  • Better security, with the ability to automatically restrict access to creditor files.
  • No lost or misplaced invoices.
  • A more productive use of admin staff.
  • A streamlined level of support to office staff throughout the Hills’ world. For example, regional offices can now access data online, irrespective of time zones and without needing the intervention of head office personnel.
  • An ability to secure confidential information between different operating divisions.

About Acumen Data

For close to a decade now, document and drawing management has been our business.

We’ve certainly come to intimately understand each and every problem that has to be addressed. And, even more importantly, we have developed an enviable reputation for delivering powerful, innovative and elegantly simple solutions to effectively meet all of those critical challenges.

Such solutions are now being used in some 31 countries, with private and public sector clients including:

  • ABN Amro
  • Hutchinson Telecom
  • GE
  • Philips TaTa
  • The United States, Australian and New Zealand Departments of Defence
  • ASC
  • Amtrak
  • Oxford University
  • Commonwealth Public Service Credit Union

You can start evaluating Dv TDM today with our free 14 day trial 

View the DV TDM Presentation PDF

Document Management in Banking: A Acumen Data Document and Drawing Management White Paper

CPS Credit Union

Established in 1958, CPS Credit Union is a South Australian, member-owned financial organisation.

Today, it has nine Personal Financial Centres in metropolitan Adelaide, and one each in regional Port Augusta and Victor Harbor. Through these branches, CPS delivers a diverse range of savings, investment, loan, insurance, financial planning and taxation services to suit the needs of more than 92,000 members.

Background

With a long history and a number of changes to the makeup of its membership, CPS had determined that considerable benefit would be gained by substantially enhancing the management of its member records. Many of these spanned a great number of years and were being held in several different forms.

With the number of records constantly increasing, CPS specifically sought to far more effectively update member files and data on a regular basis. This updating needed to span such things as information on new loans and investments by existing clients and details of new customers. It also had to ‘import’ all relevant data from its financial management system, known a Phoenix, an ‘outsourced’ IT application, operated by a third party, and which does not reside on CPS’ own IT network.

At the same time, CPS also wanted its staff to be able to recover members’ signature images across its branch network. The aim was to facilitate such online retrieval through Phoenix.

Solution

To meet their defined data transfer and signature image requirements, CPS selected the Dv TDM document management software solution.

Using Dv TDM – and via its web interface capabilities – scanned signature images can now be easily managed and readily transferred to branches whenever and wherever they are required.

Using an API (Application Program Interface) Dv TDM is now also helping streamline the two-way transfer of data between CPS’ own internal IT network and the Phoenix system with maximum reliability and accuracy. Thus, data generated by Phoenix can be simply imported to keep member records totally up to date. In house generated member information (such as new members, new loans, new investments, and so on) can be automatically input into Phoenix, keeping it equally up to date.

A further key role for Dv TDM was the validation of long term historical member information to ensure the total accuracy of what was currently reflected in the Phoenix database. In doing this, Dv TDM used a complex CPS-defined algorithm to match original and now superseded member numbers – on archival records – with current membership numbers.

Finally, the Dv solution is also used to manage the efficient archival and rapid retrieval of member records for non-active accounts.

Benefits

With the help of Dv TDM, CPS Credit Union has recorded the following benefits:

  • Member data can now be retrieved quickly through the branch network.
  • Any members missing or having old signature records can be quickly identified and corrected.
  • Data being viewed through Dv TDM’s portal is very accurate due to the link with the Phoenix financial management system.
  • Members records can be easily archived and retrieved.
  • Signature verification is accurate and fast.
  • The Dv TDM audit trail improves security.
  • New member records can be scanned directly to Dv TDM to ensure accurate and up to date information.

Technical

About Acumen Data

For close to a decade now, document and drawing management has been our business.

We’ve certainly come to intimately understand each and every problem that has to be addressed. And, even more importantly, we have developed an enviable reputation for delivering powerful, innovative and elegantly simple solutions to effectively meet all of those critical challenges.

Such solutions are now being used in some 31 countries, with private and public sector clients including:

  • ABN Amro
  • Hutchinson Telecom
  • GE
  • Philips TaTa
  • The United States, Australian and New Zealand Departments of Defence
  • ASC
  • Amtrak
  • Oxford University
  • Commonwealth Public Service Credit Union

You can start evaluating Dv TDM today with our free 14 day trial 

View the DV TDM Presentation PDF

Document Management in Critical Engineering

Airservices Australia – Dv TDM controls and expedites access to CAD data on an Australia-wide network

Airservices Australia is the nation-wide company that took over from the former Department of Civil Aviation to handle air traffic control, and all the flight operations support that does not fall under the control of the various separate airport administrations. They inherited a large volume of technical documentation, records and engineering drawings from the Department of Civil Aviation and have reorganised their engineering design and support arrangements considerably since the changeover. Quick access to the appropriate technical data in its latest version is a vital requirement in this critical industry.

There had been an electronic drawing data management system in place under the Department of Civil Aviation, called the National Drawing Index, but that was a system on the mainframe computers in Canberra. The Airservices Australia system was changed to a wide-area network of PC computers, the locations of many activities changed, and a new data management system was needed. There was never any doubt about the value of a data management system, as the old NDI system had many times proved to be a vital resource. The intention was for the new system to be more widely accessible and wider in the scope of the data that it handled.

Finding a System

The search for a new data management system began towards the end of 2000. At this time Airservices Australia drafting was operating from a headquarters in Canberra and an office in each capital city. Since then, the Canberra, Adelaide and Perth drawing offices have been closed. Drafting operations are now centred on new premises at the relatively new Brisbane airport.

Several of the data management systems that were offered were quickly discounted on grounds of the very high cost involved. The choice narrowed to a handful of systems. During this stage a second tender invitation was issued with the aim of possibly finding an additional system that was designed especially for handling CAD data. However, that did not bring any new systems forward, and the selection proceeded on the basis of looking for a system that could do everything they wanted in control of the approval and checking of CAD data, tracking of changes, marking-up for changes, as well as indexing other forms of documentation.

The final selection was Dv TDM from Acumen Data, which provided all the flexibility and control options they wanted; easy customisation and implementation, the ability to operate over their Australia-wide network, to work with MicroStation and AutoCAD data, and to display CAD data on web browsers.

Scale of Operations

Airservices Australia uses MicroStation for all its drafting work, but also needs to store and refer to AutoCAD files produced by various contractors and consultants. Currently, there are five MicroStation workstations in the Brisbane head office, two in Sydney and five in Melbourne. They have about 70,000 CAD data files; comprising MicroStation DGN data files and CIT raster files of scanned paper drawings. They are all stored in the Brisbane network server, and accessed as needed from any office over a high-speed permanent cable network. Many of the scans date back to the 1960’s. The network system is based on Windows 2000 and the Brisbane server has a striped RAID array of five 180Gb disks. Dv TDM was installed using the Borland InterBase Client/Server database system that is offered with Dv TDM.

All alteration or creation of new data has to access the disk system via the Dv TDM data manager. This ensures both right of access and proper recording of the stages of initiating work, checking and approval. The system stores every previous version of altered drawings, and marks files with their status of ‘drafting in progress’, ‘issued for checking’, ‘approved’ and ‘superseded’.

Mark-up and Viewing

Airservices Australia makes full use of the ‘Redlining’ mark-up facilities incorporated in Dv TDM. Changes to drawings are normally started by redline mark-up of the existing drawing. The mark-up data file is automatically linked to its CAD data file until the work has reached the Approved status, so that anyone referring to the data is aware of changes that may be in progress. Mark-up of existing drawings can be done with Dv TDM from the location of the relevant equipment because it needs only a networked PC with a web browser, and the appropriate access rights.

An important function of Dv TDM is making drawing data available to relevant personnel who are not drafting staff and hence do not have the use of the MicroStation CAD software. They can view CAD data with full use of normal CAD viewing controls such as zooming and panning, selection of Levels (or layers) etc. That is also the system that provides for redline mark-up. Most users at Airservices Australia who need to view CAD data, do so by Dv TDM’s web browser interface, which avoids the need for any special viewer software to be installed on every network computer.

Reliable, effective and expandable

The current implementation of Dv TDM at Airservices Australia is proving highly reliable and effective, and has ample capability to accommodate considerable future expansion of both data volume and number of users. An expansion of computer operations is under way for the introduction of a network-wide SAP system, and Dv TDM will play a part in that system.

Dv TDM is serving the critical and widely spread needs of Airservices Australia very capably, and any changes to its facilities that may be needed can be implemented without difficulty by the Airservices Australia staff themselves. Data management and access control systems are often disliked by those who need to alter data, but this system is proving to be very well accepted. Its easy network-wide data viewing facilities have done a great deal to reduce the volume of large format printing and circulation of paper being done, as well as expediting fast access to critical data and ensuring the most up-to-date versions are always in use by everyone.

Airservices Australia’s use of Dv TDM will increase as its use expands to supersede various paper and microfilm procedures and allows the phasing out of the old NDI mainframe drawing management system which is very costly to maintain. Their present Engineering Authority procedures for initiation and approval of drawing work involve paper processes, and are expected to be considerably streamlined when Dv TDM becomes the mechanism for handling them electronically.


You can start evaluating Dv TDM today with our free 14 day trial 

View the DV TDM Presentation PDF

Drawing Management in Defense

RNZAF Acumen Data White Paper

Executive Summary

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has turned half a tonne of technical drawings into a briefcase full of CDs with the DataViewer software provided by Australian software innovator Acumen Data.

The RNZAF uses DataViewer, an advanced Drawing Management Solution with powerful ease-of-use features, to manage and access aircraft engineering drawings, which were recently converted to electronic form. Acumen Data worked with RNZAF personnel to tailor DataViewer so thousands of electronic drawings could be viewed from standard computers, a function previously not available. DataViewer has a proven history of success during the past four years in corporate and government organisations throughout Australia. The software, which works in nine different languages, is now distributed in 19 different countries.

Acumen Data, which was established to commercialise software developed by its parent company, Scan Conversion Services P/L, has continued to enhance DataViewer to make its commercially attractive in the global marketplace.

Blue chip corporations including Kimberly Clark, United Water, SA Water, Ports Corp, and Brown & Root use DataViewer.

The Problem

Before the implementation of DataViewer, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) had only one set of engineering drawings per aircraft held on aperture cards. These cards were not permitted to leave the airbase for security reasons, due to the nature of the sensitive and complex information they contained, making offsite aircraft maintenance very difficult.

RNZAF also faced an ongoing problem of providing outsourced service personnel with access to the information they required to complete their tasks. Alternatives examined by RNZAF were costly and represented ineffective methods of communication when planes and helicopters were away from their home base.

DataViewer – The Solution

DataViewer has given the RNZAF a solution. DataViewer has extended the RNZAF’s ability to support and maintain aircraft through dramatically improved retrieval, storage and usability of this sensitive and complex information. RNZAF Flight Sergeant Paul Taylor, who ran the DataViewer project, said the software had improved off-site maintenance of the fleet by providing technicians with instant access to engineering drawings that were previously unavailable.

“This has made a big difference,” he said. “For example the Iroquois helicopters in service in East Timor could be more easily serviced on site without costly and inefficient communication with the base in New Zealand.”

Flight Sergeant Taylor said DataViewer had commercial application within the civil aviation industry as a result of its customisation to meet the RNZAF requirements.

Acumen Data – The Provider

Global IT researcher Gartner predicts the desktop imaging market will grow by 23 per cent to reach a market value of more than US$700 million by 2003. A recent survey of European IT managers, who listed Document archiving and retrieval as the third most important IT issue, validates that prediction.

This year, Acumen Data has signed agreements with distributors in a number of European countries and translated its software into several other languages. Acumen Data has also beaten several multinational companies to win a contract to deploy a business Drawing management solution for Air Services Australia. With more than 500 DataViewer licenses currently installed, Acumen Data anticipates increasing demand for its services in line with industry estimates.

Return on Investment

Having access to the latest Documentation is critical although this is not always possible, with Internet access difficult to obtain in remote locations such as East Timor. DataViewer has improved the effectiveness of its planes and helicopters by ensuring they can be serviced when and where they need it, without undue downtime. DataViewer also enables both remote RNZAF staff and outsourced personnel to have access to the latest Documentation, lowering the actual cost of maintenance.


You can start evaluating Dv TDM today with our free 14 day trial 

View the DV TDM Presentation PDF

Drawing Management in Manufacturing

Dv TDM solves CAD data management problem for Orford Refrigeration

When a company designs and manufactures equipment that is customised for each client, they quickly accumulate a very large volume of past job data. They need to keep it all accessible, for the inevitable modifications and additions that clients are likely to want after a few years, as well as for reference when designing systems for new clients. It should not be too hard to find previous data for a particular client, but to be able to find previous examples of particular design features they need some software system that can index their archived data.

Orford Refrigeration is a company at Toowomba in Queensland who manufacture a wide range of commercial and industrial refrigeration equipment. They have used AutoCAD for their design work since the 1980’s, and now have about 16,000 DWG files to store and index. They save every customer’s data so that they can refer back to it easily later. They often use previous data as a basis for new work. so they need to be able to retrieve data easily. That means being able to find files by search criteria other than just the file-names.

Previously used Autodesk WorkCenter

About five years ago, Orford Refrigeration adopted Autodesk’s WorkCenter data management system for this purpose. Being produced by the same company as their CAD product, it seemed a good choice for reliable indexing of AutoCAD data. WorkCenter is a very big and complex system that provides an exceptional level of data security – more security than Orford really needed in fact. It hides all the data in its own ‘vault’ storage system that is invisible outside the WorkCenter system. The initial setup and transferring of all their data files into its ‘vault’ system was quite a big task, and needed a considerable amount of specialist consultant’s time over about a week. But once it was all done and operational, it settled down to serve them well.

However, in recent years it became clear that WorkCenter was likely to cease being supported, and hence, might become incompatible with later versions of AutoCAD data. Also, Ian Otto, in charge of CAD and IT at Orford Refrigeration, had become a bit concerned about the fact that all their data files were ‘hidden’ within the WorkCenter ‘vault’ and not accessible other than through the WorkCenter program. That is what gives it its extremely strong security control. However, it also presents a problem if the program fails and is no longer supported. In fact, Autodesk sold the WorkCenter product to another company who renamed it Motiva, but that company later folded. As a result, a replacement data manager became more urgently needed.

Evaluated six systems

Ian Otto looked for a less complex data management solution that was more ‘openly’ accessible and easier to set up. He installed about six different data management systems on a trial basis, including some that had a particular emphasis on CAD and some that did not. He tried these out using dummy data comprising copies of a selection of their real data, so as not to disturb the working data still running on WorkCenter.

At the end of the evaluation period, Ian decided that the Dv TDM system from Acumen Data, met their needs most completely. An important factor for Orford Refrigeration was that the producers of Dv TDM were prepared to help with the rather daunting task of extracting all the data out of WorkCenter’s secure and rather mysterious ‘vault’ and transferring it into Dv TDM.

This extraction process proved quite a task. WorkCenter encrypts all the files and stores them with internally-generated meaningless filenames. The original filenames and their folder organization are only recorded in the WorkCenter database. Dv TDM can do something similar, but usually, it is set up to keep the files in their normal operating system form and locations, and to rely on the network system’s user rights system for controlling access to the data. Dv TDM’s database indexes the files for easy searching and retrieval using various user-defined keywords.

Orford Refrigeration had to extract all their data from the WorkCenter ‘vault’ system, and then rename all the files to their original names. They found, through the help of Acumen Data and AutoCAD Consultants, that there were utility programs on the WorkCenter CD, but with little documentation about their use. Some trial and error was involved in figuring out how to operate those utilities, and the extraction process took a week or two to complete. Acumen Data supplied a lot of advice, plus batch and macro files to automate several aspects of the job, particularly the file renaming.

Ian Otto says Acumen Data staff assisted them considerably in getting their data into Dv TDM, yet never needed to make the lengthy trip from Adelaide to Toowoomba – it was all done by telephone and file transfers over the Internet.

Versatile and widely scalable

One of the attractions of Dv TDM for Orford refrigeration, was the considerable extent to which its methods of operation can be set up to suit individual situations and its wide range of scalability for very small and very large companies. It can use any of several ‘industry standard’ database systems, rather than having its own system. That feature is particularly valuable where the company already has a corporate client/server data system running on their network. At Orford Refrigeration, they decided to use the Borland InterBase client/server system that is offered with Dv TDM. That has proved a good choice for their currently fairly modest size of network, while ensuring that it has the capability to expand in the future without running into the upper limits of data volume and number of users that are inherent with shared-data-file systems. However, for smaller situations, Dv TDM can work perfectly well with common shared-file database systems such as Microsoft Access. It can also work with the commonly used large Client/Server network database systems such as SQL/Server and Oracle.

Ian Otto reports that Orford Refrigeration is very happy with Dv TDM. They like its very simple installation process; its flexibility to work with your own preferences for storage locations, access security mechanism and database system; its easy expandability and custom configuration; and its easy maintenance without needing special consultants. Ian feels secure that his company is not likely to have another major upheaval of their data management system forced upon them, because Dv TDM is easy to maintain and expand and the data is not locked secretly within it. He is satisfied that Dv TDM provides all the facilities and controls they are ever likely to need, and has no real limits on expansion of data or number of users


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Drawing Management in Public Utilities

ElectraNet SA Electricity use Dv TDM to manage their assets

In December 1998 the South Australian Government moved to privatise its Electricity Assets. The day to day running of the high voltage electricity network throughout the state (consisting of almost 6000 circuit kilometres of transmission line, 66 substations and a state of the art monitoring, controlling and switching operation) was given to a new business entity initially called ETSA Transmission which then became ElectraNet SA. ElectraNet SA was given its own identity and moved to its own location.

The problem

The birth of this new entity generated a few headaches. All technical drawings and manuals needed to maintain the network were now controlled and stored by the old organisation some 8 kilometres away. When you’re responsible for power to a million people and something goes wrong you obviously need to fix it as soon as possible. This is very difficult to do if you don’t have access to one of your primary resources. Such was the problem faced by ElectraNet SA.

Copies of some drawings were available within the new organisation but their status could not be assured and the most recent revision of a drawing is required for engineering investigations etc. The latest revision of a drawing could be ordered from the drawing office but a wait of 2 to 3 days was to be expected. In urgent cases staff from ElectraNet could go and collect the drawings but even this took one and half to two hours. Searching for the correct drawing could take hours in itself.

The old paper system was cumbersome and fraught with problems. Obviously only one person at a time could have access to a drawing. Drawings became damaged or lost and if multiple copies were made there were multiple points where annotations or notes could be made. There was no one central definitive record.

The solution: Dv TDM

The decision to improve their operational efficiency was “born from necessity” said Mr Geof Gammon, Substation Operations Support and System Officer. But the solution was an easy choice, ElectraNet SA sought the help of Acumen Data whose product Dv TDM was to revolutionise the way ElectraNet SA handled information.

First of all, Scan Conversion Services the parent company of Acumen Data, converted some 26,000 drawings into a digital format and created a number of databases in their data capture program, DataCollection, for them.

Now with Dv TDM anyone on the ElectraNet SA Computer network can have access to any of the drawings. Finding the right document now takes seconds and not hours. Access is immediate. Everybody gets to see the latest version and can review any annotations. Uncertainty during investigations has been reduced.

As well as being able to see the appropriate drawing quickly there are many other benefits from using Dv TDM. For example the users being able to zoom into and only print off the part of the plan that they required.

The future

The use of Dv TDM proved so successful that as well as scanning all drawings ElectraNet SA has scanned all their technical manuals a total of 56,000 drawings and manuals are now accessible through the Dv TDM. It’s proposed that all documents, such as manufacturer’s specifications, be scanned to give a complete digital record.

Hyper linking in Dv TDM will give ElectraNet SA the option to connect manuals and photos with drawings giving everyone in the organisation immediate access to all technical documentation as well as a comprehensive view of any related assets.

Currently 55 of 160 people employed at ElectraNet use Dv TDM. This will shortly increase to 80, that is everyone involved in the day to day hands on operation of the network. “We’re proposing to make access available to remote site users via dial up networking or placing a CD at each substation which contains all relevant information for the site said Mr Gammon.

“We intend to change from our original database to Oracle, enabling Intranet access for off site workers, as well as linking it with our existing maintenance program Maxio. Dv TDM’s ability to have direct links with a variety of databases, offers us a great solution that we can be sure will meet our future needs.”

Mr Gammon went on to say, “the level of assistance from Scan Conversion Services and Acumen Data has been excellent in getting us up to speed. The choice of using Dv TDM over several other Document Management Solutions was easy. The product sold itself. Its ease of use, the ability to locate any drawing on the system and its low administrative and maintenance costs have proved to be the three major benefits for ElectraNet SA.

We’re waiting for the mid-year release of the digital signatures and workflow modules to complete the picture. We’re proposing that all external contractors be required to access its information with Dv TDM in the future.”

ElectraNet’s operations are a lot more efficient now, and will continue to be in the future, thanks to Dv TDM.

About Acumen Data

Acumen Data was established in 1998 with the intention of providing “state of the art” image handling software. Dv TDM and DataCollection are its two main products, both of which are winning rave reviews from customers who have found easy to use, power software at an affordable price.

The benefits of Dv TDM

Dv TDM is Australia’s premier Viewing and Drawing management software. It supports over 200 file formats that can be zoomed, panned, rotated and printed as the user requires. With its in-built database engine it’s possible to search for your drawings on specific words, drawings numbers or descriptions. Because no two people’s requirements are the same, it’s very easy to customize Dv TDM to your individual requirements.

Dv TDM has all the functionality of a document management system including revision control, mark up and high speed viewing and printing.


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Scan Conversions Adopts Email Solution

Leading South Australian document and drawing management bureau, Scan Conversion Services (SCS), has this month completed the roll out of advanced new software to rigorously control its substantial volume of emails.

The move to this new IT technology follows SCS’ comprehensive in-house review of its customer services procedures, quality assurance commitments and the potential complexity that can flow from ongoing communications with clients over a long term period of time.

As SCS general manager, Wenona Pledge notes, “like most organizations, we have a lot of email contact with our customers. Initially during a particular assignment’s specification, quotation and negotiation stage. And then during the contract period that may run for two years or longer. What’s more, any number of people from both organizations can be involved in that wide range of correspondence.

“The trouble here is that the email systems that we all use were never designed to handle the volumes and the range of data that we are now forcing through them. So the way we store electronic mail is enormously cumbersome and effectively retrieving data is absurdly difficult.

“With traditional email use, for example, there is no automatic way of bringing together all the correspondence that relates to a particular client of specific client project. And equally, there is no process for simply linking that mail with all the Word, Excel, PowerPoint and graphics files that are often going to be attached to individual messages.

“Our view was that these problems were creating major inefficiencies and, more importantly, had the potential to impact on customer service and quality. It was often difficult to quickly locate an important email and then to be certain that we were not referring to information that had been superseded or amended.

“This is particularly critical for us as we regularly operate up to three intensive shifts per day to meet exacting client turnaround requirements. And it’s very important for authorised supervisors to quickly locate relevant emails whenever there was a need to discuss an important time-critical matter with a customer.

“There are also many instances where we will need to refer back to an original quotation or brief. And on a more basic day-to-day we need to effectively manage the continuing flow of email traffic, to and from clients, which can span everything form the request to collect the latest batch of documents, to the return of ‘pilot’ scanned data for approval, to the change of an initial brief’, Ms Pledge said

Given such challenges, SCS elected to install the advanced Dv TDM email management software system designed and supported by Acumen Data. And with the roll out of that IT solution now being complete, the organization says that it now has a vastly superior communications system that no longer has any of emails’ inherent shortcomings.

As Ms Pledge notes, “We’ve achieved a total system that now allows us to quickly find any email we have sent, that speedily enables us to find any key electronic correspondence, and which let’s us know precisely who emailed what to whom and when.

“For example, whenever we currently archive the correspondence and data on a particular project, we know that all relevant information has been logically filed together. This means that we can then readily retrieve everything that’s pertinent whenever a client returns to us for a new assignment or for additional work in a new location, or for a totally new task. We are, therefore, able to review all that historical data and talk to the valued customer as if the previous job was only yesterday.

“This is even more valuable where the client has experienced some staff turnover, and where our demonstrable knowledge of what has been done in the past can help position us as a valuable business partner rather than as a mere supplier.

“That said, the most significant contribution of Dv Office is undoubtedly been its contribution to enhanced customer service. Now, when a client calls, any authorised staff can answer their query while viewing the complete history of client/SCS communications at the touch of a button. This has a major impact when jobs are modified, at client request, but while still WIP. Here, an email request, for such a change, is automatically passed to the relevant staff member with no opportunity for it to be overlooked or ‘lost’ in the system”.

As Ms Pledge stresses: “We were initially concerned that the implementation of a full email management system would require a substantial setup effort. However, with Dv Office we can, and do, choose to simply assign a new domain name to the client directory when we get a new user and that only takes a few moments.

“Similarly, we had concerns about the system’s efficacy to correctly archive correspondence if a client sent an email from on the road or home. This is readily resolved by having staff forwarding the email, in question, to Dv TDM with a ‘new subject’ being inserted in the email thus ensuring it will be filed in the correct folder.

“As an absolute level of management control, we also elected to use Dv Office to meticulously index all incoming emails so that there was no scope for missing a single item of inwards correspondence.

“The system similarly streamlines the archiving of emails and other project data after a nominated period of time. But with the important capacity to quickly retrieve any data, including that no longer on the server, with Dv TDM telling us which archive DVD the relevant data is on.”


You can start evaluating Dv TDM today with our free 14 day trial 

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