Actionable Strategy Going Digital to Increase Productivity And Reduce Risk in AEC Industry

Are you battling with a lack of efficiency, no clear strategy, absence of structure, and poor governance when it comes to your organizational and project information?

Actionable Strategy Going Digital to Increase Productivity And Reduce Risk in AEC Industry
Actionable Strategy Going Digital to Increase Productivity And Reduce Risk in AEC Industry. Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

The topic of going digital is a popular one in the Architecture and Engineering industry. The requirement that businesses embrace digital practices is growing. Firms that are further along in their transformation are operating more efficiently, winning more profitable work, and attracting top talent.

Read on this article to find out how project management software designed for your industry can help you drive efficiency and improve client outcomes. Learn the key steps you need to take to start the digital journey in your business.

  • Tame the information chaos around your business and projects
  • Take control of the daily deluge of emails
  • Use new processes to win more profitable work
  • Minimize risk and avoid legal disputes

Table of contents

Tame the information chaos across your projects and business
Conquer the daily deluge of email
Win more profitable work
Minimize risk and avoid disputes
Gain valuable business insight
Your roadmap to project information control

Imagine this – what if managing your AEC projects could be as simple as managing your Spotify or iTunes library? What if everything related to your projects was in one place and easy to find? What if you could access it from anywhere, anytime and all of the information was organized, categorized, and easy to search? Just think of what that could do to your productivity.

Over the last 30 years, the AEC industry has undergone a dramatic change, transitioning from paper-based documentation to predominantly digital files. However, in many ways, the systems and processes for managing this information haven’t kept up. For many AEC organizations, information is still fragmented and living in silos. It’s housed in personal folders, on network shares, or scattered across disparate systems – making it difficult for teams to collaborate on projects.

When information cannot be easily accessed or is not properly organized for fast and easy retrieval, it not only negatively impacts productivity but also exposes a business to greater risk.

In this article, we explore 5 ways AEC organizations can maximize technology and achieve digital mastery to drive efficiency, structure, and governance across all organizational and project information. This enables organizations to run their business smarter, increase productivity, and minimize risk.

“Most executives in the [Global Construction Survey 2016] say their organizations are held back by manual processes and multiple systems. Just 20 percent have a single, fully integrated project management information system (PMIS) across the enterprise.” – KPMG, Building a Technology Advantage: Global Construction Survey 2016

Tame the information chaos across your projects and business

The Challenge

AEC projects generate a tremendous amount of information, particularly large projects that can span several years and generate millions of documents. Even if you’ve already moved from paper-based project documents to predominantly digital files, managing high volumes of information exchange, including RFIs, change orders, drawings, and reports, can be a daunting task. It is particularly challenging when information is scattered across personal folders or housed in multiple systems.

Operating this way results in disconnected workflows and data duplication that will impact individual workers, teams, and the broader organization. It becomes especially difficult when external partners, with limited access to your corporate network, are participating in the process. How do you ensure everyone is informed and working with the right information to keep projects on track? When your projects are hindered by information silos, unreliable data, and inefficient processes, not only will your organization’s productivity suffer, but you are exposing your business to greater risk.

Transform the way you manage information

  • Collaborate and Connect: Deltek Project Information Management powered by Union Square provides a single platform for AEC project teams to collaborate efficiently throughout the project lifecycle. It eliminates information silos and enables project teams to be highly productive.
  • Capture and Retrieve: Securely capture and organize all of your project information in one central location for fast, easy access, and retrieval. Just 2 clicks! Designed to handle the wide variety and high volumes of information AEC projects generate.
  • Automate and Standardise: Connect your workflows and automate QA review processes to improve productivity and compliance. Standardize project documentation & processes across your organization.
  • Audit and Control: Deltek Project Information Management provides a version-controlled, auditable archive of all your project information including proposals, documents, drawings, and emails. Securely share files to protect against IP loss.

Conquer the daily deluge of email

The Challenge

The email has become such a fundamental aspect of the way we work, it’s difficult to imagine a world without it. While email has streamlined business communication by providing a fast alternative to traditional mail, fax, and phone, it can negatively impact an organization’s productivity if not used properly.

Consider this:

  • The average number of business emails sent and received per user per day totals of 122 emails per day.
  • People on average spend 2-3 hours a day on email related activities, consuming 20-30 percent of their business day.

Very few organisations provide training or guidance to their employees on how to manage and archive email. Also, if a central place for them to store project emails is not provided, each recipient and cc’d user has no option but to file the email, and separately the attachments, in personal folders or on network drives. This runs the risk of duplicating content and multiplying storage, and makes retrieval at a later date more difficult should a project query or claim arise. The risk of losing key pieces of information increases further when employees leave the company.

Take control and streamline email communication

  • One, central email repository: Deltek Project Information Management integrates with Outlook and provides one central place where project teams can easily save and access all project correspondence, with attachments, in just 2 clicks! Eliminates storage duplication and the risk of email loss.
  • Rapid search and retrieval: Deep filters and search capabilities make it fast and easy to retrieve any project-related email in a matter of minutes.
  • Increased Transparency, and Agility: Saving documentation once to the system makes it available to the entire project team immediately, and enables new project members to come up to speed quickly.

“Email is the de facto standard of communication in the construction sector… more than 90% of all project correspondence is communicated via email.” – Union Square (now Deltek): Using Integrated Information Management Systems in the Construction Sector

Win more profitable work

The Challenge

Market uncertainty, growing competition and constant resource constraints mean that AEC organisations need to be selective when bidding to win work. Unfortunately, few organisations have the right tools and processes for bidding in place, and most lack the insight they need to understand the types of projects and clients they should be targeting to achieve a balanced portfolio of work. In addition, many lack the pipeline visibility required to more accurately forecast the resources they will need to deliver this work.

Without access to the right bid information and a way to manage that information, responding to RFPs and pulling together winning proposals that involve multiple people or external partners can be a time consuming process.

Grow your business strategically

  • Capitalise on 360° Visibility: Get complete visibility into any opportunity, customer, project or organisation to make informed business decisions. Access all of your organisation’s contact information in one place.
  • Bid Smarter: Track win rates and get the business intelligence you need to ensure you are pursuing the right clients and projects, and utilising the best project partners.
  • Create Winning Proposals: Build a pipeline of bids, more easily qualify opportunities and improve forecasting and resource planning. Quickly create winning proposals with internal teams & external partners.

“Deltek Project Information Management enabled us to reference multiple companies against one enquiry, reuse work from one bid for another and see the full bid history when eventually the project was won.” – ABM Precast

Minimise risk and avoid disputes

The Challenge

Construction is a litigious industry, with the risk and cost of claims high. When it comes to litigation, it’s critical for you to ensure that your organisation’s activity is adequately documented and information is easy to find.

In the past parties working together on AEC projects exchanged PDFs that couldn’t be altered. With BIM, actual models with valuable IP are now being exchanged, which increases the risk of IP loss and legal disputes. Tools like email and file transfer sites, while a necessity for communication and transporting large file types, have also introduced an informality into the process without the necessary system gateways in place. This makes it more difficult for project teams to meet governance and compliance requirements.

These risks can be amplified in large scale projects that can span multiple years and involve the exchange of hundreds of thousands, even millions of pieces of information. Trying to find that killer email or critical document when information is squirrelled away in personal folders and spread across multiple systems can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Risk-proof your projects and practice

  • Centralise and Organise: Automatically capture, organise and archive information in one central system. Enables fast, easy retrieval of information in case of litigation or audit. Designed to handle the high volumes of information AEC projects generate.
  • Secure & Control: Automates compliance review and provides a version controlled and auditable archive of all documents, drawings and emails. Enables secure file sharing to protect against IP loss. Track who accessed or edited any document.
  • Embrace AEC Best Practices: Deltek Project Information Management conforms to AEC industry best practices and minimises risk by enabling organisations to achieve governance and control over all project information.

“A recent dispute required the careful examination of 80,000 emails, all of which needed to be searched, taken from a raw format and placed into a database.” – Hill International

Gain valuable business insight

The Challenge

Are you using multiple systems for managing your business? Does it take you days to piece together reports? To aggregate that all important project performance data? Do you find that senior people have to manually re-key data between systems, doing double entry, relying on spreadsheets or reconciling data in multiple formats?

If you’re relying on separate systems to manage your business, the result will be disconnected data flows and a lack of real-time information. Without real-time visibility, you may be making important business decisions based on gut feel and guesstimates rather than qualified data and facts. In addition, since you’re not using a single system designed for AEC organisations, it will be difficult to track key performance indicators (KPIs) in a way that is relevant to your business. Managing your business performance this way is like driving a car using only your rear view mirror. You will be operating with insufficient information and spending a lot of time managing problems after they’ve already taken their toll.

Manage your business on your terms

  • One System designed for AEC Organisations: Deltek Project Information Management integrates all aspects of your business operations into one system to streamline processes and to provide better data accuracy and control over: project accounting, project management, budgeting, forecasting, resourcing, time entry, expense tracking and invoicing.
  • Real-time Visibility: Get a 360° real-time view into all aspects of your business to ensure you have greater control over your business and project finances. Track KPIs in a way that is relevant to your AEC business and benefit from rich, graphical business intelligence dashboards designed to reflect your business, personnel or project performance.
  • Faster, Better Decisions: Deltek Project Information Management brings your entire organisation together. It enables directors, partners, finance personnel, and project managers to securely access vital information to be proactive, and to maximise profitability and performance.

“Only 25 percent of Owners and 27 percent of Contractors say they can push one button to obtain fully integrated, real-time project data.” – KPMG, Building a Technology Advantage: Global Construction Survey 2016

Your roadmap to project information control

iTunes radically transformed the way we manage and listen to music. In the same way, Deltek Project Information Management is revolutionising the way AEC organisations manage, access and control project information. It’s a competitive world and the need to organise and manage information effectively has never been more critical to your business’s bottom line. Organised information will save you time and money, increase your productivity and minimise your business risk.

As you look across your organisation the thought of where to start to drive improvements into your information management processes may seem overwhelming. A single project alone can generate a tremendous amount of information: emails, documents, drawings, proposals, contacts, financial records and more. You may wonder how you can possibly move from today’s information chaos to a state of information efficiency and control. But think about it, whoever thought we’d go from vinyl records to musical libraries in the cloud so quickly? The change isn’t that difficult to make.

Deltek is here to help you. For the past 35 years, we’ve been supporting the AEC industry by providing solutions that enable projectbased businesses to be more organised in the way they manage their business and information. We’ve worked with thousands of AEC professionals and understand that no two businesses are alike. No matter your role in project delivery, Deltek solutions are designed to be scalable and flexible to the way you work.

The winners in the AEC industry will be those who understand that information management drives competitive advantage.

Source: Deltek

Thomas Apel Published by Thomas Apel

, a dynamic and self-motivated information technology architect, with a thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to system and network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. I enjoy the technical writing process and answering readers' comments included.