Moving your DWG files to the Cloud

Whether it be Dropbox, SharePoint online,, or Google Drive businesses have started to migrate files to the cloud in a big way. This is a big shift from the 2000 to 2010 era, where the vast majority of companies stored files in an on-premise windows share or NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. While there was nothing inherently wrong with the first approach when the vast majority of employees were based in a central office, it began to break down as more and more employees started to seek working from home, or other flexible working arrangements. At first, people started to upload basic documents such as Word files, spreadsheets or PDFs, and once the trend started there was no stopping it.

As is often the case, Engineering files, like AutoCAD DWG, or 3D models authored in Revit or Inventor were left behind in this move. In a lot of companies, this has created a divide. You want to find a PDF contract or Invoice, no problem, just search for it in SharePoint. If you're after a DWG file outlining the dimensions of a room that scheduled for an upgrade, good luck! Often the answer is, well you need to go down to the basement and ask Bob. Bob knows how to find every drawing in the system. He has them all nicely arranged on a windows share (which only he has access to), or worse they're on his local hard drive. Often Bob even has a spreadsheet or Access Database where the drawing numbers are meticulously tracked.

So, while general business documentation is hosted online, the Drawing Management System for the organization is Bob, and as brilliant as Bob is at what he does, he's just one person. If Bob goes on leave for a few weeks, or even worse leaves the organization, the drawing management system goes with him.

When implementing Drawing Management Systems like Lunr or Meridian, we've found people like Bob are the biggest asset. We sit down for a few days and work with Bob to document the drawing numbering and revision system, the file naming convention, approval workflows, and the drawing taxonomy. These are then encoded into the cloud based drawing management system, and the drawing library is uploaded.

Key benefits of moving to the cloud

Shifting your library of drawings and models to the cloud brings a number of benefits:

  • Ease of retrieval: Anybody with the relevant permissions can search or browse for the documents they're looking for, typically locating them within a few keystrokes.
  • Systematization of knowledge: The knowledge of how the files are managed is encoded into the system, meaning that people like Bob can take a holiday once in a while.
  • File viewing and markup: Native file viewing in the browser allows authorized users to view and markup files without the need to install proprietary CAD software.
  • Peace of mind: You can rest easy knowing that your critical engineering documents are stored safely and securely, eliminating the concern over losing documents or revisions.

Now is the time to move your on-prem drawing library to the cloud. At Onset Design, we've completed a number of data migrations of large and complex sets of engineering drawings and models. If you're starting to look at how to tackle a project like this, I'd encourage you to get in touch for a chat.