In the era where “google” is both a noun and a verb in modern parlance, search technology has revolutionized the way we think, work and store data. Using just a few keystrokes, locating the desired information from within massive repository can be accomplished in just a few seconds. Seek and search times to locate work documents and records become essentially nil, and worker productivity benefits. The bar has been set for all types of information systems, from Internet Search Engines, email history, corporate file servers and document management systems.
Sadly, even with all this great technology available to us, not all organizations leverage the best of breed technology solutions to achieve efficient enterprise data search. The problems are usually exacerbated when applied to large libraries of technical files, such as drawings. The amount of identifier content text within these types of files is often very limited, so the metadata describing the file in relevant business terms becomes even more important. Here’s a couple common problems we solve for new clients who suffer from unorganized file storage and inefficient technical document search.
Windows Search – local or network file shares using Microsoft Windows File Shares offer very limited metadata & search capabilities. The common realm is pretty much limited to file content, file name, file type, modified date, location. In an attempt to overcome these limitations we often see very elaborate file folder hierarchies and endless document naming conventions. For example: FinalArchitecturals_BWing_Client-ABCInc_Project-15153_2015.04.03_ASmith_ver2.2.pdf, buried well within a directory hierarchy that is both repetitive and non-intuitive.
These structure & conventions are often time consuming to follow, impossible to enforce, very brittle and with little gain and continued waste.
Microsoft SharePoint / OneDrive – the Document Library feature of this product line does make some headway in properly treating important enterprise document as true records. Document metadata – data points such as author & version are properly dimensioned out-of-the-box within a “Document Library”. However, extending the Document Library support additional metadata dimensions, requires expensive SharePoint Administrator, Designer & Developer expertise, to customize and maintain the software solution.
The Search Secret: Drawing Management System & Data Inventory
The latest release of DCM’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) Drawing Management System (DMS) is named ECHO. As part of the process to deploy includes a implementation of a metadata inventory catalog. Common data point include: Unique ID, Document Discipline, Building Name, Project Name, Project Number, Document Status, Creation Date, Engineer/Architect, to name a few. This metadata inventory data-point database is populated upon the upload of each document or drawing into the ECHO drawing repository.
Once implemented, fully expressive pin-point accurate searches can be run using very exact document/drawing search criteria.
Drawing Search Criteria Example
- Project Number = 15153
- Discipline = Architectural
- Building Name = Atria
- Status = Final
Via the easy to use ECHO web-interface, users can readily search to find the necessary technical documents in mere seconds. Document/drawing previews are display, any all available source types are available for download (e.g. PDF or DWG source) in single-click.
Think of is a powerful search engine for technical document repository, or as we like to call it, ECHO.