Identifying the Most Common Traits of a Disconnected AEC Firm

Andy Yeomans
10 Jan, 2023

Determining if your firm is “connected” or not can be difficult. Taking an objective look at the connected nature of your firm can help you gauge your ability to attract new business, execute project delivery, maintain relationships, and outlast the competition. The more connected you are, the more likely your firm is to succeed in this ever evolving and highly competitive AEC industry.

When evaluating the connected or disconnected nature of your AEC firm, examine these key factors. If you identify one or more of these issues, your firm may not be as connected as you might think.

Siloed business software and systems 
Your firm likely relies on several software platforms to gather data, track projects, maintain billing, and manage employee records. If these systems are disconnected or siloed, the data they house can become inaccurate, incomplete, or redundant. Siloed systems – and the incomplete or inaccurate data they house – can impact every phase of your operations, including marketing, project delivery, accounting, and future business planning.

If you notice disconnects when reviewing your software ecosystem, it is important to take action to address the issues. Integrating these mission critical platforms ensures a single source of truth and a 360-degree data set that can be accessed by all departments across the enterprise.

Outdated technology 
As technology solutions age – or your firm’s needs change – they often become less effective, efficient, or user-friendly. Outdated technology can also lack key features that your firm needs to execute your mission. Aging solutions can also lead to a great deal of frustration for your clients, prospects, and staff if they require repetitive or time-consuming interactions. Finally, outdated solutions can be more costly to maintain or customize.

When reviewing your technology ecosystem, take note of any systems or platforms that don’t currently meet your needs, or have become outdated to the point of causing issues or frustration. Closely examine your legacy, on-premise software to see if there are areas that might be improved with a more modern solution. You may be surprised at how much more efficient and cost-effective newer solutions may be as a replacement to an aging software platform.

Low user adoption and buy in 
User adoption and buy in rate are good indicators of the connected nature of your firm – the more users that adopt mission-critical applications and processes, the more likely you are to have a truly connected firm. If staff and leadership aren’t engaging with your current solutions or processes, there may be issues that should be addressed.

Examine user statistics and conduct employee surveys to gauge the attitude toward your current solutions and processes. Make changes where necessary to improve user adoption and employee buy in. The more your staff embraces the tools at their disposal, the more connected your firm will become.

Lack of standardized business processes 
Standardized – and efficient – business processes are the foundation for effective operations. Disconnected firms often struggle to develop and maintain effective business processes that are adopted by all users and all departments. When business processes are not implemented – or followed – the firm may struggle with mission-critical tasks, such as data gathering and management, project planning and execution, client billing, hiring and retention, and more.

Review your business processes to determine if they are up to date with your current operations. Ensure that you have a process in place for all operations and tasks, and that the processes are communicated throughout the organization. The more effective and embraced your processes are, the more likely you staff are to execute their roles efficiently and accurately.

Ineffective business intelligence 
The final factor we often see in disconnected firms is a lack of effective business intelligence and reporting capabilities. For your firm to be successful, you must be able to capture and manage a wide range of data related to client relationships, past and current projects, staff and prospective hires, outreach and marketing, and much more. You also need to be able to analyze that data in real-time and develop useful reports based on your findings.

Review your business intelligence capabilities and processes. Consider your ability to capture, manage, and analyze data. If you struggle to accomplish any of these mission-critical tasks, your firm may not be as connected as possible.

Identified concerns? Our experts can help
If you identified any signs that your firm may not be as connected as possible, HSO can help. We have the AEC industry expertise and solutions needed to help you address any operational issue and develop a truly connected firm.

Contact us to get started

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