The net revenue growth forecast for A&E firms is the highest it’s been in 10 years. Based on the findings from the 43rd Deltek A&E Clarity Study, the industry has rebounded from the pandemic with full pipelines and an optimistic future outlook. Meeting that demand comes with serious challenges, with labor shortages and rising costs being most prominent.
Firms are turning to technology to empower their teams and improve project delivery. They’re prioritizing the right investments over simply purchasing the newest technology. Here are the top insights from the study and some guidance for ensuring that technology investments deliver positive ROI.
Top Technology Challenges for A&E Firms
The top technology challenge professional services firms are facing is the inability to invest time in learning. With full project pipelines, firms are dedicating resources to completing client work, limiting the time they can spend on learning new technologies. Small firms struggle with this issue the most, though it’s a prominent issue for medium and large firms as well.
Technology costs, which topped the list in last year’s report, was the second most commonly cited challenge. Firms are also struggling with prioritizing which trends apply to their organization. With so much technology to choose from, many firms are understandably unsure which trends to pursue. Finding the right fit, whether it be data science tools or digital twins—for the firm and for their client base—isn’t easy.
Other challenges include educating employees and clients about trends, lack of champions to drive technology adoption and limited corporate openness to emerging technologies.
A&E Firms Are Focused on Getting it Right
Firms are honing in on the initiatives that enable them to take a pragmatic approach to technology adoption and integration.
When asked about their top three technology initiatives:
- 64% said creating strategic technology implementation plans.
- 47% said educating staff on technology trends.
- 46% said identifying and developing technology subject matter experts.
This pragmatic approach is a good way to enter into digital transformation. However, firm leaders should be careful not to get stuck in a cycle of endless planning. One way to cautiously approach technology is to look for ways to expand usage of current tools. This can provide quick wins and competitive advantages without requiring significant investment or onboarding time.
Internal Champions Can Take on Challenges and Lead Key Initiatives
To take on technology challenges in the short term, firms should engage tech-savvy employees as internal technology champions. Technology champions can help improve the ROI of technology in the following ways:
- Fill current skill gaps by leading the charge to incorporate technology into project execution.
- Promote and expand adoption of existing technologies throughout the business.
- Identify the most viable technology investments and trends for the firm.
Only 36% of firms ranked this as one of their top three initiatives, meaning that many are missing an opportunity to address current gaps in technology planning and adoption.
Which Technologies Should A&E Firms Focus On?
To help guide technology planning, A&E firms should look at technology as falling into two buckets. Technology that supports project delivery, such as smart infrastructure and digital twins help firms remain competitive and address common challenges in the building process. Business-optimizing technologies, like data science and next-level project management tools can be used to automate repetitive tasks, empower workers to make more informed decisions, and ultimately improve client satisfaction.
For more insight into which technology areas A&E firms should focus on, watch the webinar.
Focusing on these areas will enable firms to address some of their biggest concerns:
- Attract and retain talent by appealing to the next generation of employees, who want to work with companies that give them access to the latest technology.
- Prepare for disruption. As innovation continues to transform the A&E industry, the right technology will help firms future proof their businesses.
- Increase revenue streams by identifying the ideal services and delivery methods that lead to competitive advantages and higher profits.
Dive Deeper Into the Technology Insights from the Deltek Clarity Study
Firms aren’t investing in technology for technology’s sake. They’re focused on making the right investments that will enable them to increase productivity and compete for projects and talent. With the right guidance, they can take on the opportunities and challenges ahead. For more technology insights, download the full report.