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With 35 office locations throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim, civil engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol has a portfolio of more than 6,000 projects serving the global demands of the goods movement industry.

With project teams scattered across the globe, collaboration in real time is key. Unfortunately, employees found that using CAD software over a VPN was not a feasible option due to untenable latency and lag. “We had looked heavily at legacy VDI solutions,” says CIO Jason Jewett. “We’ve been trying to find the right solution for years, but they’ve overcomplicated these products to the point where they’re not usable. Workspot on Google Cloud was the perfect combination of price-performance and simplicity.”

 


An international civil engineering firm keeps its CAD professionals productive from anywhere with Workspot cloud desktops on Google Cloud

Company Overview

With 35 office locations throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim, civil engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol has a portfolio of more than 6,000 projects serving the global demands of the goods movement industry. The firm has more than 800 professional and technical staff who provide clients worldwide with customized service and a level of excellence that have become an industry hallmark in six key practice areas: ports and harbors; coastal, environmental and water resources; urban waterfronts and marinas, transportation and rail, inspection and rehabilitation, and energy.

Challenge

Even before the pandemic hit, Moffatt & Nichol CIO Jason Jewett was trying to solve the problem of enabling CAD professionals to work remotely. For instance, a talented engineer wanted to relocate, but Moffett & Nichol did not yet have an office in that city. And back in the days when business travel was more frequent, many employees were often traveling. Employees found that using CAD software over a VPN was not a feasible option due to untenable latency and lag.
“We had looked heavily at legacy VDI solutions,” Jewett says. “We’ve been trying to find the right solution for years, but they’ve overcomplicated these products to the point where they’re not usable. Workspot on Google Cloud was the perfect combination of price-performance and simplicity.”

Solution

Jewett is part of an online AEC group that happened to include other Workspot customers. He spoke with several of these firms and realized that Workspot sounded exactly like what Moffatt & Nichol needed.
Jewett reports that onboarding Workspot was very easy once the firm had built their cloud instances. They began with GPU workstations on Microsoft Azure, and were enthusiastic when Workspot became available on Google Cloud, allowing Moffat & Nichol to expand their multi-cloud strategy. The firm selectively rolled out Workspot’s cloud workstations to people they thought would benefit.
Moffatt & Nichol use a concurrent model, rather than assigning Workspot licenses to named users, which works effectively for their use cases. Most of the time, the CAD professionals are in an office where they have access to the applications they need with high performance CAD workstations. But when they need to work remotely, they can access Workspot cloud workstations. Following the initial successful rollout, Jewett continues to evaluate additional use cases where Workspot cloud desktops and cloud workstations can be a good fit.
Jewett says, “From a CAD standpoint, it’s been a really big win. We’re asking our CAD group right now if they’d like to keep working from home or eventually return to a few days a week in the office or full-time back in the office. One of the things that we’re proud of for Moffatt & Nichol is that we don’t necessarily believe in ‘one size fits all.’ We have multiple individuals doing multiple things, and Workspot is one of the tools that we use to meet individual needs.”
He notes that Workspot has absolutely improved employee productivity. But, perhaps more importantly, is it has given the firm options to support individuals that were not on the table before. Cloud workstations make it possible for IT to enable employees – wherever they need to work. “Now, we’ve been able to give remote employees a tool so that they can work out of another location and be just as productive. And we’re happy to do this. Workspot gives us options we’ve never had before, and that’s great.”
All employees across all offices now have the option of using Workspot cloud desktops as needed. “Everybody agrees, unilaterally, that of all the remote access solutions that we have used over time, Workspot is the best one.”

Business Results

  • The flexibility to meet a variety of application access requirements for remote employees
  • Ability to expand the business more easily to any geography
  • CAD users are happy and productive

Download the Moffat & Nichol Case Study

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