Established in 1909, Lionakis is a multi-discipline firm specializing in architectural, structural engineering, planning, interior design, sustainability, access compliance and graphic design services. Building on more than a century of diverse project experience, their mission is Designing a Better Future. Headquartered in Sacramento, Lionakis has offices in Oakland, Newport Beach, San Jose and Honolulu to better serve their clients in the western U.S.
RELATIONSHIPS, PERFORMANCE AND DESIGN
These are the founding principles of Lionakis. They guide all of their decisions, shape their culture and nurture their client relationships. Lionakis has been working with clients, contractors, consultants, business leaders, and community leaders throughout the western region. The firm has a history of long-term relationships at all levels. And their portfolio of successful projects — which span a spectrum of education, civic, healthcare and commercial design solutions — stands in testament to their consistency and ability to provide responsive, appropriate and innovative design solutions that shape communities. These partnerships are the core of the firm’s business and they strive to provide a level of service that exceeds expectations.
“Our project work supports the health, education, and service of the communities we live, work, and play in.” — Kristina Williams, Director of Design Technology, Lionakis
EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE INFLUENCES CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
For Lionakis, the employee experience is as important as the customer experience. If an employee feels valued, respected and heard, then they, in turn, will help create an exceptional experience for the client. So, when their staff expressed how frustrated they were with navigating through “the madness” of Revit content and past projects to find specific assets, the firm decided to search for content management solutions that would address their issues. The search, led by Director of Design Technology, Kristina Williams, brought them to AVAIL.
AN ELEGANTLY SIMPLE, VISUAL INTERFACE
The first and most fundamental challenge was to make their Revit content easily accessible — in a clean, visual way. For the users, it was very important to have all the content searchable and quickly identified. The ability to look in multiple places to find content and view thumbnails, instead of the Revit icons, mattered most to them. The firm’s objective was to lay a solid foundation in order to build the most streamlined design production platform for them to use. According to Lionakis, in comparison to the other competitive content management solutions they evaluated, AVAIL’s key strength stood out: a clean, visual interface. After all, no one wants to take the time to learn software that is cluttered, complex and frustrating. Users find AVAIL to be intuitive and easy-to-use, which helps to improve adoption. And another major plus for the Lionakis team is how well AVAIL works with other value-added tools in the industry, such as P.I.G. (Preview Image Generator) from iconicBIM for the creation of beautiful Revit family thumbnails. That made them very, very happy.
LIONAKIS CONTENT CHAMPIONS — IDENTIFY, HARVEST AND ORGANIZE CONTENT
For Lionakis, it was important to get it right at the outset — to get all the content indexed as part of the AVAIL channel creation process and make it easily accessible so people can remain on the task at hand with minimal interruption. Then, continue to refine that content over time. To accomplish this, they formed a new role: content champions. Their responsibility is to harvest and identify all the content that is needed, but is not currently in the library. The structure for this role actually stemmed from the firm’s use of AVAIL and how best to encourage people to adopt the platform. Lionakis chose representatives from each market — education, civic, interiors, structural and healthcare. These individuals spend their time by first identifying gaps where content is lacking, then by harvesting content and downloading families from product manufacturers’ sites. It’s a large task, but one that lays the foundation for their content management initiatives moving forward.
“AVAIL has really streamlined my workflow and made the process smoother. It’s nice to not have to break focus and look elsewhere.” — Amy Jordana, Designer II, Lionakis
KEEPING CONTENT RELEVANT — THE VALUE OF AVAIL ANALYTICS
The second challenge that Lionakis wanted to tackle was how to keep their content relevant. Lionakis uses AVAIL’s analytics to improve processes and provide insight by seeing what users search for, what they find, as well as what they don’t find. “We know what our designers like to use and not use simply by looking at the analytics dashboard” said Kristina Williams, “and we’re finding individuals use the software in ways that we didn’t expect, which may allow us to start a discussion and discover additional workflows that we hadn’t thought of before.”
ORGANIZING VOLUMES OF CONTENT
The final issue that Lionakis needed to address was the problem of content organization — namely, grouping content into room types, uses, etc., so that they could add many different types of families from different categories all at once. With AVAIL, users can group digital assets into channels according to department, project and libraries using Tags — or simply customize their own grouping by creating a new channel. With a single piece of content able to reside in more than one channel at a time, users are no longer constrained by a hierarchical file system that requires you to know what a file is named or what project it’s associated with. Problem solved. But what Lionakis did not anticipate was that they would also be able to use AVAIL as a tool to organize the content itself — not the other way around (i.e. organize and then add to AVAIL). With AVAIL’s platform, they can organize loads of content by seeing them visually in thumbnails, rather than just viewing a list of unknown families. This is not only more efficient but also much less time-consuming.
“AVAIL is a tool that allows us to organize and easily access our content libraries. It’s very simple to use and speaks to our appeal for graphics and visuals in our day -to-day work.” — Kristina Williams, Director of Design Technology, Lionakis
BUILDING A SOLID DIGITAL FOUNDATION
Lionakis knew they needed a system that could bring all their content together in one place and they began to understand the value in making content a key foundational asset in the firm. As a result, they decided to dedicate the time and resources to do it right. According to Kristina, “If the foundation of our content is not set up properly, then we’re going to be spinning our wheels trying to look for content while we’re also trying to advance in other areas, like computational design.” AVAIL is a foundational tool and as members of the Lionakis team ease into it, they are already beginning to leverage its value into their digital ecosystem.
THE ROAD TO ADOPTION
As of now, Lionakis is getting a clear view of how the AVAIL platform is improving their business — with fewer errors, improved work quality, faster time to project completion and higher margins. That said, their content champions are about halfway through the important process of vetting all their content. Upon completion, Kristina and her team will continue promoting AVAIL firm-wide. But perhaps the road to adoption, for Lionakis, should not be measured in quantifiable terms but on a more human level: the “Employee Experience.” Using AVAIL has dramatically boosted staff morale by giving them a simple, visual way to find and access content, thereby significantly reducing their frustration levels. Kristina summed it up in a nutshell: “You hear people saying how much easier it makes life for them, and you just know it’s worth it.”