Cloud storage options for small architectural design firm

I am wondering if any of you are using a cloud file sharing service to collaborate on projects within your companies/firms. We have been using Google drive for awhile now and have gotten to the point where we need a more “business” based platform to store our archives on, collaborate on projects, etc. It is a real pain to have files and folders in google drive tied to a specific individual’s ownership.

I’ve looked into Trimble connect, but it doesn’t seem to fit the bill as we need other employees to access files who are not working in the Sketchup environment. Further, we need to be able to send files to clients/contractors easily.

Can anyone in a small collaborative environment weigh in with their workflow here?

Microsoft 365. it’s more expensive (?) but is designed for business. i use both Google and Microsoft. the MS integration with office and teams etc is far more advanced (which may also be a burden for some) than the Google which can be setup for shared usage but imho is harder to do because of some account and permission settings which are more intrusive than M365.

1 Like

While M365 is designed for business, it lacks an integrated viewing option for 3D Models (Revit, Tekla, SketchUp, IFC, DWG) So you are good to go when dealing with word documents and excel sheets.
You can even work together realtime on ‘business’ documents.

Not a significant difference with Google ( Business suite has ‘shared drives’ , btw) But the calculator might wanna use excel instead of sheets. When you are building, you do use more than a hammer, don’t you?

I would argue that even the smallest business should have access to the Microsoft apps and Google, it’s a bare minimum.
But If you wan’t to take it to the next level regarding BIM, I would suggest to inspect Trimble Connect a little bit further, especially when it comes to collaborating with sub-contractors or clients…

It is not ‘just another storage’, in fact, it warns you if you read the EULA.
Even if the storage is on one location in the cloud, temporary internet dropouts might be responsible for not fully synchronised data. (eg. when you have the Google filestream app running and close the lid of the laptop, It might not have been fully uploaded, resulting in what seems to be a missing file in the cloud storage)

Regardless, you need to have a system and an Admin that has control of the process.
Even before setting up a project, you get control of the workflow for this or that specific project. Trimble Connect offers ‘releases’ , but also workflow extensions like the metadata on files )Who has approved what document when, etc) Customised 'Property sets, attaching external links or internal documents to objeect in the 3D Model., Sharing Models or Views with clients (get approval instantly!), checking and registrating all activities etc.

i definitely agree on using MS and Google. and not overly expensive per user. i think the challenge becomes external collaboration when the architecture firm is using ACAD or something other than SU or LO. even the BIM integration options will be a struggle - again depending on the clients and integration requirements. for internal usage where the drafting folks are using SU and LO, i’d agree - a close look at the Trimble connect is in order.

Thanks for the input here - I definitely see the advantages of using Trimble Connect when working with .skp files. I tried it in the past and it was really clunky with syncing to desktop, but I’m sure it has improved since then. I’m migrating a portion of our files as I type this to try it out. I didn’t realize that the business version is included w/ a SU Pro subscription. How does it work with individuals without a Pro license? Are they still able to access files?

Everyone with a Trimble ID has access to Trimble Connect, they have limited storage, and may not invite more than 5 collaborators.
If you have a subscription, you will have unlimited storage and projects and ‘teammembers’
The project account setting state it is (internally). ‘Billed’ to that subscription.

Since everyone can create a Trimble ID, they can join the project if invited by an admin of the project.

Outsiders like clients or manufacturers can view and download without having an ID, but cannot participate unless they also create a Trimble ID

If you want to share a model, you can create a link that can be set to ‘view only’, thus without downloading.
It will take them in a browser (tablets and phones or desktops) where they can view only(!)

It can be set to an expiring date or even version and you have the ability to revoke.

To add, if you just upload a bunch of models for the sake of it, you need to consider that each project is seen as separate, a project is not the same as a folder on your computer, you cannot move files from one project to another, for instance.

Any project can have multiple nested folders, offcourse.

You might want to download Trimble Connect Sync as well.