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The Time is Now for Digital Transformation in Your A/E/C Firm

In the hyper-competitive A/E/C space, staying ahead of your competition is the key to survival in the new digital-first world. Leading A/E/C firms are finding new ways to bring together people, data, and processes to create value for their clients and maintain a competitive advantage – we call this the digital transformation of an A/E/C firm.

If you perceive the A/E/C market to be a slow-paced, “old school” industry that’s resistant to change, think again! Consider that today, only 60% of the 20 largest firms from the ENR Top 500 list just five years ago are still intact in their original structure! As market dynamics evolve, customer contracting patterns change, and mergers and acquisitions accelerate, firms are looking for new ways to distinguish themselves from the competition and grow their business. Leading a digital transformation within your firm can help you do just this

The recent emergence of “digital disruptors” provides A/E/C firms with new opportunities to better understand client and business needs, provide differentiated service offerings, more easily pursue new opportunities, and transform how they do business. A few examples of these digital disruptors include:

  • Advanced analytics – the use of big data, little data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud-based machine learning technologies to collect unprecedented levels of data and improve insight through advanced analytics and predictive intelligence capabilities.
  • Virtual reality – emerging technologies like the Hololens that are transforming the design experience by offering virtual reality design environments.
  • Collaborative execution tools – new collaboration platforms that bring together teams from inside and outside your firm to share knowledge, documents, and collaborate on deliverables.
  • Changing workplace demographics – an emergence of the next generation of workers who have come to expect consumer-oriented tools, app-like technology experiences, and pervasive mobility, all woven within a social context.
Digital Disruptors in the AEC Industry

While intimidating, these disruptors also provide unprecedented opportunities for A/E/C firms. Facilitated by data and the cloud, firms now have the ability to dramatically improve insight across all aspects of their firm, leverage this insight to develop new services and revenue streams, and collaboratively make strategic decisions that move the firm forward.

We describe this process of digital transformation as reimagining how your firm will do the following in the future:

  • Engage your customers
  • Empower your employees
  • Optimize your operations
  • Transform your service offerings

Digital transformation pillars in the AEC

More specifically, the following examples illustrate specific measures A/E/C firms can take to drive this transformation across their business.

  • Engage customers in new ways
    • Combine data from ERP and CRM systems, market data services, and social insights to gain a true 360-degree view of your clients and provide differentiated service and support.
    • Collect data from new sources (such as monitoring social media sentiment) to analyze feedback, better anticipate client needs, and proactively engage them.
    • Develop self-service offerings that increase client engagement and satisfaction.
    • Employ collaborative CRM tools to more effectively pursue new opportunities, bring together cross-functional teams, share knowledge, and more quickly assemble proposals and respond to client RFPs.

  • Empower your employees
    • Deploy tools that facilitate the highest levels of employee productivity and collaboration across all business functions, and within the context of today’s preferred consumer and social oriented paradigms.
    • Provide employees with pervasive mobility for gaining anytime, anywhere access to critical business data to speed decision making.
    • Utilize Human Capital Management systems to develop talent, optimize employee performance, and build the necessary skills required to thrive in tomorrow’s world.

  • Optimize your operations
    • Deploy tools and systems that automate non-value adding activities and improve operational efficiencies to reduce the cost of service delivery.
    • Leverage repeatable assets, knowledge, and processes to drive down costs, improve service quality and consistency, and speed time-to-value.
    • Employ intelligent resourcing tools to find best-fit resources, avoid scheduling bottlenecks, and balance utilization levels across your firm.
    • Provide project managers with the tools they need to improve project visibility, complete projects on time, and “wow” your customers.
  • Transform your service offerings
    • Create differentiated offerings that attract new clients and generate additional revenue from existing clients.
    • Leverage the cloud and advanced analytics capabilities to develop new, data-driven services using tools such as the Internet of Things and machine learning.
    • Don’t limit revenue streams to traditional consulting services! Increase client connections by creating new, recurring revenue streams and subscription services such as data collection, monitoring, and analytics services.

Microsoft is at the forefront of the digital transformation discussion, engaging A/E/C firms to help them reimagine how they can leverage these disruptive technologies to transform their business. With the increasing growth of Microsoft Azure-based cloud services (IoT, advanced analytics, machine learning), the pervasiveness of Office 365, and the continued maturation of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM software tools for A/E/C firms, dreams of digital transformation are now a reality!

To learn more about digital transformation in the A/E/C industry, please join Microsoft, SAGlobal, and Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson on April 20, 2017, for their industry webcast: Driving Digital Transformation in Today’s A/E/C Firms. Learn how Microsoft is helping A/E/C firms better engage their customers, empower their employees, optimize their operations, and transform their services. And hear firsthand how Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, a leading A/E/C firm, is leveraging Microsoft’s cloud, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 platforms to transform how they do business.

To register, please click here. Register Now

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About the Author

Andy Yeomans

Andy Yeomans

Andy Yeomans is Director of Business Development for SAGlobal, where his role is to help project-driven organizations evaluate and select ERP software systems to better manage their finances, projects, clients, and resources. Andy was instrumental in developing the organization's Microsoft Dynamics AX industry solutions and practice area for the AE & Environmental industry. Andy has over 17 years of ERP experience and has helped dozens of AE & Environmental firms evaluate, select, and implement ERP software systems for their business.

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