Until the late 1990s, Heathrow relied on another solution as a repository for contracts and related documents. However, the system became outdated and lacked effective search capabilities. Critically, it could not be employed to efficiently manage and control engineering projects.
When Heathrow embarked on the critically important Terminal 5 (T5) build, project engineers recognized that they required a stateof-the-art document management system to manage hundreds of thousands of project-related files. Everything from detailed architectural drawings and maintenance manuals right up to project handover files had to be immediately available.
“Heathrow engineers knew that thousands of project documents were going to fly all over the place,” said Andrew Manington, Document Manager at Heathrow Airport Ltd. “We needed a solution that could handle the scale of documents generated by T5 while also providing control throughout the project’s lifecycle.”
In 1997, Heathrow chose OpenText™ Documentum to help manage T5 buildrelated documentation. Documentum was deployed in two mirrored enterprise storage server systems for 24/7 reliability and high availability. During the T5 project, the solution managed more than half a million documents within a single centralized repository, was accessed by up to 40 primary suppliers and thousands of subcontractors located across the globe and was used by hundreds of on-site engineering and construction staff.
Journey of Documentum solutions
The original 1997 deployment of Documentum was only the beginning of the journey. During the T5 project, Heathrow project engineers learned they could rely on Documentum for effective project management. Compared to the older document management system, finding specific drawings and files took only seconds rather than hours. Project staff could access critical electronic documents first thing in the morning rather than wait for hard copies. Rapid access to the documents contributed to a considerable increase in efficiency and productivity, helping engineering and construction teams meet budgets and deadlines.
Operating costs also fell. Staff printed hard copies of only what they needed. Management discovered that Documentum’s ease of use meant they no longer required an army of document controllers. Instead, anyone authorized and trained to use Documentum could quickly access and contribute in critical documents. Due to Documentum’s advanced design, users were able to search and retrieve the most recent and approved documents, regardless of the number of previous versions that were stored. This capability enabled management to tightly control the project by keeping everyone on the same page.