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Open University – A “First” For MDT

MDT achieved a “First” at the Open University, based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, with the installation of its popular onSITE Estates Management EDMS (electronic document management system) solution.

The Open University’s Estates Division identified a clear need for an integrated EDM system to cope with the combination of its legacy hard-copy drawings and the newer electronically drafted, stored and modified data generated by AutoCAD and other software products.

The selection process commenced with the issuing of a functional specification. Three prospective suppliers were short-listed, and invited to demonstrate their systems and services.

After a summer-long evaluation process, MDT’s “onSITE” solution was awarded the contract.

“We decided to adopt the MDT solution due to the complete product and services portfolio the company could provide us with,” said Iain Sheard, the OU’s CAD Office Manager in its Estates Division. “MDT understood our requirements well, and were able to demonstrate to us that not only did they know their product and its capabilities, but they had extensive experience of their application within the estates management environment in which we operate. We needed such a solution to help maintain and ever improve the service we provide to the educational function central to the Open University.”

The system-requirement was for 20, increasing to 40 user-seats within the Estates Division to be able to fully access the data-resource. Additionally, there was a requirement to be able to share information with other departments via the OU intranet, and externally via the internet with authorised contractors and consultants.

Security profiles were developed and integrated into the OU’s corporate “active directory” to ensure full compliance with the British Standard Institute’s DISC requirements relating to the storage of and access to digital information.

“The OU had a very clear concept of what they wanted, which certainly helped us in our task of helping them!” comments MDT. “They didn’t just want a proprietary software package that would meet their needs functionally, but a complete system, fully installed and commissioned, including all their relevant data. This involved us in the input of an initial batch of over 5000 legacy drawings and plans, many AutoCAD files, and the design and input of a suitable filing system to manage search, access, modification and document control of the resultant database.”

This database was designed to meet the exact needs of the Estates Division through the careful evaluation of the client’s specification. MDT then installed the database and management software, commissioned the system, and provided both end-user and system administrator training, the former at the OU in Milton Keynes, the latter at MDT’s own training facility at its HQ in Thatcham, Berkshire.

“We’re very pleased with the system,” says Iain Sheard. “Any authorised user can now search for, then quickly access and deploy any of the thousands of drawings the Estates Division holds from his or her own desk, without the traditional hunt through thousands of paper-plans. Access time, traditionally measured in minutes or even hours, has now fallen to seconds – it’s truly transformed the way we’re able to provide our service to the OU.”

The Open University has had a long-standing relationship with MDT. “We’ve worked over the years with the OU on projects such as large-format document scanning, site surveying and the production of CAD drawings. Our installation of the MD Technology EDMS solution marks a significant step in that relationship, and we’re naturally proud and pleased that we proved to be the successful bidder,” comments Maurice Franks, MDT’s Managing Director.

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