Access Architectural Project Photos Firm-wide with SharePoint Integration

Access Architectural Project Photos Firm-wide with SharePoint Integration
Bates Smart

With two offices in Sydney and Melbourne, architects Bates Smart were looking at ways to improve image management across the practice. The fact that OpenAsset also allowed them to integrate their extensive visual resources with an established SharePoint intranet was an important selling point.


Our image store ran off two different servers, one at each office, so there was a lot of duplication and little integration. Our image libraries had evolved, rather than being developed from scratch, so we definitely needed to look at ways of sharing information more consistently.

Part of it was just about the difficulty of finding images and knowing which ones were approved. We wanted to streamline things, and that’s how we came to OpenAsset.

All of the copyright information was just kept with three or four people, so it was difficult for everyone else to know what they could and couldn’t use. It was challenging


One thing we kept going back to was the number of firms already using OpenAsset. Everybody gave us very positive feedback.

The interface was very easy to use, and aesthetically is more appealing than some of the other systems we were looking at. It was aimed at our industry which was important in securing a good buy-in internally.


When designing our intranet we kept returning to the usability of OpenAsset – we essentially used its functional aspects as a benchmark.

We create albums in OpenAsset containing images that we want to cycle on the home page of the intranet. The RSS feed then pulls this information into SharePoint.

The projects might stay on the homepage for a week or two and then we update them. It’s a good way of showing teams what the other office is doing


It’s opened up our portfolio of work to the practice as a whole, helping us to keep abreast of projects across the two offices.


There was quite a lot of discussion about the tagging – we set up a public discussion forum on the intranet in the end to talk about it.

The user manuals provided were very clear but we decided there was a certain way that we wanted the system used. We adapted the manuals and added our own protocols and trained from that.

The interactive tutorial sessions have been very positive. Often people just nod when you present to them in a training session, but if you set them a challenge to find something on the system, it gets them thinking about how it really works.


It takes a huge amount of time to search for precedent images which suit our style of architecture. But OpenAsset is like a company memory. We can collect images which we believe capture the essence of a concept such as ‘concrete’ or ‘light’, and by saving them in one place they can become approved house images used by all staff to illustrate that concept. It is an amazingly powerful tool.

It’s opened up our portfolio of work to the practice as a whole, helping us to keep abreast of projects across the two offices.

We continue to work collaboratively with design teams across the office, but now that they have been empowered to input into pitches and tenders, the results have been very refreshing. It’s becoming much easier to find things, and overall we’re using better quality images.

People are becoming more marketing savvy and OpenAsset has become their first port of call, rather than us! They are sharing their work more and using our own projects as reference images, which is a great reflection on the way that staff perceive the work that is coming out of the office.


SharePoint integration brings project photos to the whole practice

Improve collaboration & sharing of precedent images

Speed production of presentation materials


Aaron Coats


Jane Foley


Alexandra Gray


Tim Leslie


About Bates Smart

Based in Australia, Bates Smart is a large,established, design-focused practice encompassing commercial, residential, hospitality, education, research and health projects. Since 1852 the practice has been continuously involved in major projects which have influenced both urban and regional development. Bates Smart’s commitment to design excellence, environment responsiveness and client service affirms their reputation as one of Australia’s most respected design firms. The practice operates from offices in Melbourne and Sydney, and employs over 200 talented personnel.

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