Technology is something that all firms must embrace to stay competitive. Project based firms both large and small especially benefit from investments in technology. According to the results of the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity Report, A&E firms understand the necessity of technology yet are primarily applying it to project execution and management as part of strategic plans to gain a return on investment. The report also addressed challenges to the adoption of technology and the initiatives to overcome these challenges.
Applying Technology Trends
Based on Clarity results, A&E firms have identified the value of applying technology to their core operations and have invested in solutions that streamline project execution (60%) and project management (59%). Nonetheless, investments in other integrated functions like business administration, human capital management, resource and financial management all have shown modest declines year-over-year. With projects as the focal point for A&E firms, they have yet to take advantage of technology for integrated administrative functions. Not only can these technologies improve business processes, but they can also attract new employees with a forward-thinking attitude.
Technology Trend Challenges
The Clarity report showed the ranking of the top technology trend challenges facing firms in an upcoming three-year period. The challenges were like those from last report, with the top three being: 1. cost of technology, 2. prioritizing which trends were most applicable to business, and 3. employee education on trends and their application to A/E/C. However, this year firms appeared to be less challenged by a lack of time to invest in learning about technology trends, and more due to the lack of a champion to lead a technology initiative.
As part of the study, firms were asked to identify the importance of emerging technology to their business. The Internet of Things (IoT), geo location and augmented/virtual reality were chosen as the most important emerging technology. Though not at the top, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and wearable technology saw a considerable increase from last year. It is interesting to note that larger firms showed a broader focus on and higher interest in emerging technology trends.
Strategic Plan for Implementing Technology
In the survey, 73% of respondents indicated that creating a strategic plan for implementing technology trends was a high priority. Educating staff on technology trends is key to moving the initiative forward. Looking at the Clarity report’s top technology trend initiatives, businesses want to identify and develop subject matter experts to help with deployment and adoption within their firms. Businesses are also prioritizing the development of budgets for investments to manage costs.
Overcoming the Digital Transformation Dilemma
As seen in the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity report, while some A&E companies are slow to accept technology, a greater openness to adoption and investing in solutions that will streamline business processes will bring forward a digital transformation. Projects will be delivered, and businesses will operate more efficiently. In the end, customers will be satisfied thus protecting the bottom line.