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Urban Development Institute – Edmonton Metro: A Modernization Story

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Meet The Urban Development Institute (UDI) - Edmonton Metro

UDI is a not-for-profit organization bringing together leaders in land development throughout the entire Edmonton Metro region. Comprised of planners, surveyors, architects, finance managers, and other industry leaders, UDI works in conjunction with regulating bodies to create vibrant, growing communities. In their own words, they “build the communities where people live, the roads they travel, the buildings they work in, and the parks where families gather.”

The Challenge

They’d grown and changed since then, their tech hadn’t.

UDI was established in 1958, and while they’d grown and changed since then, their tech hadn’t (we may be exaggerating a little, but you’ll see what we mean): their boardroom setup consisted of a tv (with, ahem, “bad vibes”) set atop desk drawers, and they had a physical server with a shaky VPN connection. Some users were still using computers with 10-inch screens (!!), and new software downloads tended to blow up hardware. Without cloud technology, users were unable to collaborate easily on documents. As an organization serving up to 170 giant companies in the city, UDI was having trouble keeping up with the technology advancing around them. They’d also started a recent initiative to modernize their operations and the way they tell their story to the public: in 2022 alone, UDI was featured in the news at least 46 times. An overhaul was needed.

The Solution

With their previous provider’s service leaving UDI feeling adrift, they decided to enlist Accurate as their Managed Service Provider. After several kickoff meetings to establish timelines and review all the work required, we created a multi-phased approach for UDI’s modernization. The first phase consisted of a smooth transition to Accurate’s services, after which we set to work overhauling UDI’s hardware, including the sad boardroom situation: we replaced the “bad vibes” tv with a modern, mounted unit, and decked the room out with a new workstation, cameras, and speakers. We also replaced all workstations. Especially those 10” ones.

We replaced the “bad vibes” tv with a modern, mounted unit, and decked the room out with a new workstation, cameras, and speakers.

The final step of the project required the shift from their on-prem server to the Cloud. Following a detailed file mapping, we scheduled a Go-Live date for the Cloud services, including planning an onsite presence to help with the transition. UDI also acted on our recommendation and embraced a new cybersecurity stack with Accurate Protect, which ensures their Cloud info remains secure.

With the Cloud transition complete (and some SharePoint training thrown into the mix) UDI’s users are now able to collaborate on documents simultaneously, and their ability to work remotely has improved dramatically.

The People Component

On the first day of major updates, everyone in the UDI office was SO EXCITED—their primary contact joked it was “like we had been starved of any technological change and we were Neanderthals in the office here.”
Aside from being ecstatic to enter the modern age of technology, UDI is happy to have Accurate in their corner. Between kickoff meetings, frequent Teams chats and emails, training materials, and onsite techs present for big changes, UDI reported that they felt completely supported throughout the whole process.

We were Neanderthals in the office here.

Moreover, they continue to be impressed with the attention and communication they get from Accurate, even after the project’s completion, noting that we “go above and beyond to innovate small solutions that are helpful to [them].”

The Outcome

With UDI’s modern setup, their confidence in their technology (not to mention efficiency) has increased dramatically. More importantly, now that they’re on the Cloud, they no longer have to knock on each other’s office doors asking each other to get off a document. And, most importantly, Accurate feels “almost like they’re a part of the team at UDI,” which, for us, is what it’s all about.