Sargent Switches to Egnyte to Improve Security and Increase Jobsite Productivity
The Employee-owned Infrastructure Construction Company improved the productivity of both their office and remote teams and saved money.
person-strong, employee-owned infrastructure construction company
Average construction sites at a time
It started with security, but it became about productivity.
Sargent is a 350-person-strong, employee-owned infrastructure construction company out of Stillwater, Maine. It has projects in seven states, covering everything from wind farms to landfill cells.
When it had a data breach several months ago, they were lucky that their IT service provider, Network Coverage (NetCov), was there to rescue them.
“NetCov was a lifesaver, they were there in our time of despair,” said Tasha Gardner, CFO at Sargent. “Through all of our years of working together they have never led us astray.”
But they also knew they needed to make a change – Supers in the field were struggling to get the up-to-date information they needed and the existing folders structure was hard to use and hard to manage.
Sargent quickly shifted the majority of its workloads to AWS but found the public cloud platform didn’t solve all of its problems. Data access was still slow and AWS didn’t deliver the self-service backup and restore capabilities the company had expected. The teams in the field, which used most of the data, were experiencing slow responsiveness when they accessed and shared files. Something had to change.
“We did a cost benefit analysis. The time savings from a project management team and the supervisors not having to backup and restore their files...that in itself pays for the cost of Egnyte.”
At the same time, company leaders happen to be looking at ways to make their office employees more effective at storing and sharing information, and Dropbox wasn’t working for them. Then they realized they had an opportunity to do so much more than just improve how the office employees were exchanging information. They could improve the entire company’s productivity—and save money. The teams in the field were struggling to get the right information when and where they needed it, and it was slowing down projects. Sargent had a lot of remote job sites and accessing and sharing the right files was extremely difficult, especially when it involved any back and forth between the office, supervisors on-site, and vendors.
For example, the project manager would be in the office and would submit paperwork to the owner for review and approval, while also emailing the same paperwork to the supervisor to keep them in the loop. When the owner came back with a change, the project manager would need to email the supervisor again to let them know of the latest plan. When the owner approved the final change the project manager would need to email the supervisor yet another time to let them know of the final decision so they could procure the right material and start construction.
But with limited connectivity, the supervisor might only be getting notifications once a day. And they had to search through all of their emails to try to find the latest plans and approvals. The result was not only delays but a lot of unnecessary expense due to procuring the wrong part or building off the wrong specs.
In an effort to work around the lack of connectivity and access many of the project managers were buying their own personal hard drives and downloading the files they needed to them. And when they lost or damaged them, which happens, they ended up losing a lot of data causing even more rework. Not to mention, for a company that already had a breach, having unprotected, and unknown, hard drives with sensitive company and client data on them out on jobsites was not very secure.
It was time for a solution that worked for everyone—employees in the office and teams in the field.
NetCov recommended Egnyte.
“Egnyte is the best mousetrap from a tech standpoint...In the early days we tested all of the big players, Nutanix, Panzura, SharePoint...but Egnyte always came out on top.”
Saving Time and Money With Egnyte
With Egnyte, Sargent’s personnel have access to the files they need, when they need them, regardless of whether they’re in the office or on remote jobsites. They can easily share files across their teams, and externally with vendors, owners, and subcontractors.
Getting a plan approved went from a convoluted series of emails to a simple file upload. Now, from a single Egnyte folder, the project manager, the owner, and the supervisor on site all have access to the latest version of the file. This means less time searching for files, less rework on projects, and less cost.
They can also send large files more easily to potential subcontractors or vendors. Previously, when bidding on a project, Sargent’s estimators and project manager teams struggled to get large plan sets out to the potential client.
“We have these plan copiers and plan printers and they used to run 24 hours a day at some points so we could make copies for people so they could give us a price,” said Jason Light, IT manager at Sargent. “Now we just send them PDF files.”
And for the teams in the field? No more VPN, no more long delays waiting for a connection to get the files they need, and no more spending time backing up and restoring files.
“We did a cost benefit analysis,” Gardner said. “The time savings from a project management team and the supervisors not having to backup and restore their files...that in itself pays for the cost of Egnyte.”
And Sargent isn’t stopping there. They have big plans for Egnyte.
More Opportunities Ahead with Egnyte
Sargent is looking to expand its use of Egnyte to its construction equipment. Today’s equipment has GPS, computers, and hotspots with internet connectivity, but they still need the field engineers and surveyors to create files that are uploaded to each machine.
So, the surveyors create a file, put it on a thumb drive, travel to a site, plug it in, upload the data, then run the file and make sure it is going to work. Then they drive to the next jobsite and do the same thing all over again. Not only does that waste a lot of time but it doesn’t lead to a high degree of job satisfaction.
“It's harder and harder to keep good surveyors because they spend a lot of time traveling, going between jobsites and physically carrying files to the machines,” Light said.
That is why they are looking at expanding their use of Egnyte.
“What if we used Egnyte to upload the files automatically to the equipment?” Light said. “The surveyor could stay in the office and just push the files directly to the machines. That is going to save them a bunch of time.”
For Sargent, what started as a way to better protect their data evolved into a way to optimize their business. With Egnyte, they get convenience for the field and security for their files. The result is greater productivity across their entire organization.
“We now have happier people,” Gardner said. “And happier people are more productive people.”
A leading Construction Firm Replaces Dropbox in Order to Streamline Processes and Reduce Costs