Brasfield and Gorrie is one of the nation's largest privately held construction firms, serving clients from offices in Atlanta; Columbus, GA; Birmingham, AL; Dallas, TX; Jacksonville and Orlando, FL; Nashville, TN; and Raleigh, NC. The company has approximately 2,900 employees. In addition to its many offices throughout the southeastern United States, Brasfield and Gorrie has a large number of job sites at any given time.
“Being able to access information wherever they are is critical for our project managers and teams,” says Patrick Burch, systems engineer for Brasfield and Gorrie. The company’s employees often addressed this need themselves with consumer file-sharing services, an approach that created problems with both security and standardization. “People could share out documents and we wouldn’t know where they might end up. If they were terminated, we had no way of knowing if any proprietary data was in their consumer file-sharing accounts. We also didn’t want to be supporting peoples’ personal accounts.”
Brasfield and Gorrie already relied on Citrix XenDesktop for desktop and application virtualization. Citrix ShareFile gave Brasfield and Gorrie a single enterprise solution that met the users’ needs while giving IT security and control. Citrix NetScaler ensures optimal performance for users anywhere. Today, the company’s project managers can use Apple iPads to access files and display plans on job sites, even over an unreliable Internet connection. Within the office, project estimators and members of the legal department use ShareFile to share documents internally and externally.
“With ShareFile, we can give employees the same user experience as a consumer file-sharing service but with IT visibility and control,” says Burch. “No matter where they are or how bad their Internet connection is, they can access and share their job files.” Collaboration with third parties such as architects and subcontractors had been a major pain point. Now, they can easily add PDF drawings, view job plans, contribute notes and share files in a project folder shared by Brasfield & Gorrie and can easily send even very large files directly from Microsoft Outlook. All data is now consolidated and controlled by IT staff; if someone leaves the firm, their access can be turned off immediately, helping to ensure the protection of intellectual property. The solution also helps protect the personal employee information gathered on job sites as part of the U.S. E-Verify compliance program. This data never resides on devices on the job site itself, keeping workers’ Social Security and health information out of harm’s way even if a laptop is stolen from a job site trailer.
In addition to helping people collaborate more effectively on projects, ShareFile has helped back-office employees work more efficiently. “Our finance person can manage and organize her invoices more efficiently and pay our subcontractors quickly by using the request-a-file feature in ShareFile instead of waiting for the mail,” says Burch. “Our job owners can pay us faster as well.” Anywhere, any-device access to virtual desktops, apps and data allows Brasfield and Gorrie’s employees to work from the office, at home or on a job site with equal ease. Some employees have given up their traditional laptops or desktops, preferring the mobility and convenience of a tablet.
“The big push in construction is to go paperless on job sites,” says Burch. “We need to be lean and green.” On job sites that no longer require paper plans, Brasfield and Gorrie uses ShareFile to store and share information online. “A project manager can walk a job site with all of the plans on his iPad, without the need to carry around stacks of paper. One employee created a hardened case with a battery-powered computer and a large screen so they can roll it around the job site and view plans on it.”
Brasfield and Gorrie will continue to expand its Citrix implementation to meet its employees’ desire for greater mobility and flexibility. “With Citrix, we can give our users more options for the way they work,” says Burch. “They can go anywhere, and as long as they’re getting their work done, we don’t care if they’re in a Starbucks or need to run errands in the afternoon and finish up later at home. It helps us figure out how our users want to work instead of telling them how to work.”
Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles—empowering people to work and collaborate from anywhere, easily and securely. With market-leading solutions for mobility, desktop virtualization, cloud networking, cloud platforms, collaboration and data sharing, Citrix helps organizations achieve the speed and agility necessary to succeed in a mobile and dynamic world. Citrix products are in use at more than 260,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Annual revenue in 2012 was $2.59 billion. Learn more at www.citrix.com.
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