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Lionakis Accelerates Projects and Prevents Disruption with Egnyte

Cloud-enabling its content management with Egnyte has allowed the design firm to keep projects running smoothly, leading to happier clients.

Cloud Enablement Highlights for Lionakis:

  • Migrated 16 TB of data into Egnyte in under two weeks
  • Neutralized disaster recovery delays with cloud backups
  • Accelerated file access for teams at remote construction sites
Andy Deeble
"More than ever... our teams need to work effectively across multiple locations. The flexibility Egnyte provides our business is foundational to maintaining connectivity across the firm.”
Andy Deeble
Principal & Chief Financial Officer • Lionakis

Lionakis is a multidisciplinary firm specializing in architecture, engineering, planning, and interiors. Founded in 1909 by California’s first State Architect, the firm takes on large projects for private and public-sector clients.

To provide these clients with top-tier services, it’s critical for Lionakis to maintain a high level of workforce efficiency, business continuity, and content security. The firm achieves these goals with Egnyte’s cloud-based content management system. Egnyte enables Lionakis to meet faster project timelines, strengthening the firm’s reputation as a leader in its field.

Challenge: Cloud-Enable Content Management Workflow

Prior to Egnyte, the team used an on-premises Windows server to store, manage, and collaborate on project-related files. But the lack of cloud functionality impeded their workflows and posed significant risk in several areas:

  • Disaster recovery
    As an AEC firm, Lionakis is constantly interacting with clients, consultants, and contractors. These conversations yield significant plan changes and time-sensitive decisions. If a natural disaster were to knock the Windows server offline, work would grind to a halt. “We’ll have a whole construction crew who can’t move forward until they hear from us about a new directive stored on a file on the server. If we can’t access those files, we could lose over a month of work,” explains Matthew Onken, IT Director at Lionakis. “That could do real reputational damage.”
  • Remote collaboration
    Lionakis’s workforce is dispersed across offices and construction sites throughout California. To minimize project delays, it was critical that team members be able to communicate across geographies and access files in the field as efficiently as possible. “The Windows server turned field visits into a slog. There was a ton of latency, and folks had to rely on VPNs to access the files they needed,” says Onken. “An architect would have to photograph a jobsite on their phone, return to the office, plug in the phone, download the photo, and load it into the network. All of that, just to get one photo cataloged.”
  • Onboarding acquired firms
    Acquisitions are a core pillar of Lionakis’s growth strategy. Each time a company is acquired, it needs to be integrated into Lionakis’s file sharing ecosystem–a process that was slow and clunky with the Windows file server. “We needed a better way to get acquired companies’ files onto our network,” Onken says.
“Egnyte has unlocked tons of time savings that add up to condensed project timelines. That strengthens our competitive advantage.”
Matthew Onken
Matthew Onken
IT Director • Lionakis

Solution: Move Data from the Local Windows Server to Egnyte

Onken looked into the Egnyte cloud platform, and quickly determined it would be the ideal partner for Lionakis in its cloud enablement journey. “I liked Egnyte right away. It was easy to use, had a well-designed interface with great features, and could process large files really quickly and smoothly,” Onken says. That ease of use made for an incredibly smooth implementation process. “I wish all new technologies were as easy to implement as Egnyte,” comments Kristina Williams, Director of Design Technology at Lionakis. “We had excellent support, no headaches, and everything just worked great.”

Working with Egnyte’s Professional Services, the team started migrating data from their on-premises server into Egnyte. “We migrated 16 terabytes of data in less than two weeks, with no missing data,” says Onken. From there, managing and collaborating on files of all sizes and types became exponentially easier. “Our designers loved that they could work on large Adobe Creative Suite files directly through the Egnyte drive,” Onken says. “It’s amazing how well the system performed, especially over long distances, considering the size of these files.”

By empowering the team to store, manage, and collaborate on files in the cloud instead of locally, Egnyte paved the way for efficient, uninterrupted workflows, regardless of any unforeseen events or physical distances among their dispersed stakeholders. “When we load files into Egnyte, they go straight to the cloud, so even if our local technology is disabled, our team can still access their files and keep working,” explains Onken. “And architects at remote construction sites can load and access files instantly–no VPN necessary.” Egnyte’s disaster recovery abilities extended beyond natural occurrences like floods or fires. As Onken says: “I was impressed with Egnyte’s data governance tools and ability to recover from ransomware attacks, which you don’t often see on a typical local file server.”

Lionakis uses multiple technology products, and so it was critical that Egnyte work well with the rest of its stack. “Our team really appreciated Egnyte’s third-party integration capabilities, particularly with Microsoft Office,” says Onken. “And Revit worksharing for files outside of BIM 360 and Autodesk Construction Cloud on Egnyte has been seamless.” Egnyte’s Storage Sync product enabled the team to cloud-enable their workflows in Newforma, a critical software partner that often doesn’t work well with cloud-hosted file management systems. “Storage Sync allowed us to sync our files down from the cloud and present them just like a Windows SMB file server would, so Newforma could work with it,” says Onken. “People could store files in Egnyte and have them indexed in Newforma. That’s unique among cloud-based content management products I’ve seen.”

Benefits: Disruption-Free Content Workflows Powered by the Cloud

Thanks to the efficiency and business continuity Egnyte has facilitated, clients know that working with Lionakis means faster services and no unpleasant surprises. “Egnyte has unlocked tons of time savings that add up to condensed project timelines. That strengthens our competitive advantage,” says Onken. “It used to take forever for people in satellite offices to open PDFs shared from our local server in Sacramento, but with Egnyte, it’s instantaneous. And we don’t have to waste time connecting to VPNs just to do our work.”

Field architects and designers can now upload photos and other documents to the system in seconds without having to return to the office–a new efficiency that benefits stakeholders in other areas such as design. “We love the rapid photo upload feature from mobile phones directly to our mapped drives,” Williams says. “Egnyte has enabled us to move 100% of our design production files to the cloud.”

Onken’s disaster recovery concerns have all but vanished in the wake of the team’s switch to Egnyte. He now has confidence that neither disaster nor human error can significantly impede the team’s ability to move projects forward. “I’m sleeping much easier now that I know work can continue even in the event of a flood or fire,” Onken says. “Even if someone accidentally deletes an important file, I can just use Egnyte’s search tool to find and restore it.”

Egnyte’s Storage Sync product, in addition to solving the Newforma issue, has facilitated the acquisitions that are so central to Lionakis’s growth. “When we acquire a company, we no longer have to fret about how we’re going to connect all the different networks,” explains Onken. “Storage Sync gives us an easy answer. We can use it to capture all the data from the acquired firm and sync it right up to Egnyte.”

Lionakis CFO Andy Deeble is seeing tremendous business value. "More than ever, to effectively serve our clients and fulfill project requirements, our teams need to work effectively across multiple locations. The flexibility Egnyte provides our business is foundational to maintaining connectivity across the firm and eliminating geographic constraints as we pursue our growth objectives.

Looking ahead, Onken plans to keep educating the team on the myriad ways Egnyte can enhance their workflows. “Egnyte does so much,” Onken says. “There’s always more to discover.”

At a Glance

Architecture, Engineering

Location (HQ)

Sacramento, CA

Total Employees


Egnyte Product

Platform Enterprise

Learn More

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