9 top features for architecture, engineering, and construction firms

Jun 5, 2018 4:19:12 AM
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Prioritize these 9 critical ERP capabilities in the technology planning for your AEC business

Architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) companies are more and more adopting modern technology to manage their projects and client relationships, but in many cases experience functionality gaps. According to the 2017 KPMG Global Construction Survey, only 31 percent of the respondents use integrated systems for project reporting. As KPMG comments, this “means that most project managers lack the capability to control all elements of the work.” Only 8 percent have a complete project management information system (PMIS) with project and portfolio dashboard reporting.

AEC companies slow in taking advantage of tech innovation

Considering that 82 percent of the companies interviewed incorporate performance targets into all or some of their contracts, lacking project reporting would be a major liability. Project managers likely find it challenging to run their projects to KPIs if they can’t properly track and control them. For 80 percent of these AEC firms, running on schedule is the top KPI featured in their contracts. That may appear to be a basic goal, but many companies find it difficult to get there.

55 percent of the survey respondents feel that the AEC industry is ripe for disruption, and 72 percent give top priority to technology, data use, and innovation in their strategy. That would match our experience in working with AEC companies and helping them modernize their technology environments. However, only 48 percent have developed a technology and data strategy.

Mapping your business goals to any of the many software solutions available can look daunting, but, when you use the right ERP solution that is also optimized for AEC needs, you won’t need to compromise with inferior functionality. Today’s powerful ERP systems can support the standard business and productivity requirements of AEC companies, but they need to be integrated and deployed together with a comprehensive industry solution to enable a company to manage its complex project portfolio. Once that’s done and the solution is in use businesswide, it can deliver most of what an AEC business needs.

Top feature sets for an AEC technology environment

These are the nine most important capabilities AEC businesses need in an ERP system to gain control of their projects and perform to KPIs:

#1. Estimating and bidding with data substantiation to ensure healthy margins and competitive costs

#2. Project scheduling and reporting with transparent cost and resource management

#3. Complete financial management with control over cash flow, expenses, costs, revenues, payments and billing

#4. Timely, efficient, and low-overhead procurement and inventory management

#5. Management and maintenance of machinery, vehicles, and other equipment

#6. Management of the people, materials, and resources involved in delivering project-based client services, including health and safety

#7. Ability to manage individual projects with their changes in costs, resources, schedules, and other details, as well as the financial and operational aspects of the entire project portfolio and its financial and operational parameters

#8. Support for the high-potential, private-public partnerships that are so important in AEC

#9. A technology environment that lets you handle all these aspects of the AEC project business on a consolidated platform that enables your business roles and processes today and as the company grows

 

Close to 60 percent of the companies surveyed by KPMG say that they follow the industry or are behind the curve when it comes to technological maturity. The report doesn’t mention end-to-end software systems like AEC-tailored ERP, but mentions robotics, drones, building information management (BIM) systems, and the use of data and analytics to manage projects.

Before you fly drones over construction sites, you need to set the business on a firm foundation that helps the company increase its profitability and manage project operations for best productivity. Modern ERP can help you accomplish that.

Download our AEC ERP checklist  to learn more about the nine key capabilities your software needs and get started on the process of modernizing your technology platform.

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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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