Last week, I discussed utilizing folder lifecycles inside of Autodesk Vault Professional for archival purposes to reduce the number of projects that users “see” on a day to day basis. At the core of this approach is that folders are assigned a category that in turn drive the lifecycle (active, complete, etc.) of the folder (project).
Lifecycles aren’t the only thing driven by categories. One of the benefits of Vault is that it is always tracking properties about files and folders.
This is great, but in the case of folders, it really doesn’t tell us that much other than who created it and when. Thankfully, we can also create user defined properties that are assigned with categories.
This becomes much more beneficial because now we can track information we care about with our projects. The image below shows a few examples of what I am talking about. This is by no means an exhaustive list:
The biggest benefit for doing this is searches and queries. While we are working on a project, information like its number and project manager are usually engrained in our memory. But what about 6 months down the road after the project completion? 5 years later? 10 years later? I’m sure you get the point. One of my Midwest clients once told me that the final phase of any project is litigation. It was said as a joke, but they were also trying to find project information for a bridge design completed 20+ years prior because of a failure and they were named in a law suit. They were having a heck of a time finding data because of the age of the project, employee turnover, etc.
Vault would help with this. Any user defined property becomes a search parameter. We could create queries to show projects completed in a certain zip code or city or state. If you have the data, you can search by it!
Another benefit of user defined properties is they create nice operational dashboards. Imagine if you were an office manager trying to get a listing of the current projects going on. This approach makes it easy.
Adding user defined properties to files is very common and next week I will talk about how Vault can automatically populate them based on data from a drawings title block. Adding properties to folders isn’t quite as common so I hope this helps get the creative juices flowing. I worked with one firm where they tracked the latitude and longitude of the project. We then wrote a little bit of automation that allowed them to click on a tab inside of vault and see the project location superimposed on Google Maps.
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