Everything in one place: DesignInc shares its experience with Deltek PIM
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See how DesignInc Sydney is using Deltek PIM to streamline efficiencies and create better experiences for employees and clients alike.
When you’re working on dozens of projects at a time, having the right access to the right information is an essential component of success. Australian architecture firm DesignInc discovered this first-hand when it deployed Deltek Project Information Management (PIM) – and discovered four major benefits.
With offices across Australia, DesignInc is an architecture firm that places people at the centre of design. The company’s Sydney branch has over a hundred architects, urban designers, and support staff from over 35 nations, putting a shared language of design at the heart of an international culture.
Each year, DesignInc Sydney works on roughly 30 different projects, from schools and education spaces to residential buildings, laboratories, and airports. This work is overseen by the company’s Head of Knowledge, Systems and Compliance, Scott Huston.
“My role as Head of Knowledge, Systems and Compliance started out with a focus on knowledge management, but has since grown to cover facilities management, business systems and workflows,” he says. “It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.”
A time for change
One of Scott’s first responsibilities was to oversee the implementation of a new Deltek PIM platform and ensure user engagement across DesignInc Sydney’s teams.
Deltek PIM allows organisations to save time and work more efficiently, providing easy access to project emails, documents, and drawings from one central location.
The software was initially implemented to improve the company’s audit process during projects. But as a business that is constantly juggling several projects at once, having easy and consistent access to the right information at the right time has led to numerous additional gains.
“We have to conduct regular surveillance audits as well as those for ISO recertification essential to our business, so we brought in Deltek to make sure everything was done in a controlled, recorded, and auditable manner,” says Scott. “The benefits we’ve experienced, however, go far beyond more robust auditing.”
"PIM usually saves a couple of hours through automatic document transmittal alone. If we do this once or twice a week across five or six different sectors, we’re looking at roughly 24-hours a week saved. There are other time savings too, even email filing – if you save a minute every time you file an email, over 100 staff, 20 times a day that adds up. This means our people can spend more time focused on the things they do best."
Scott Huston, Head of Knowledge, Systems and Compliance, DesignInc Syndey
Keeping the effects of the pandemic at arm’s length
One of these benefits is improved visibility into DesignInc’s resource allocation. Before, resourcing was done largely on an ad-hoc basis, with different teams keeping information in their own spreadsheets. With Project Accounting (PA) added to their existing PIM solution, DesignInc gets visibility into all its projects at once, instantly identifying what resources are available to allocate to projects in need.
This was especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, where a lot of work, including DesignInc’s lucrative airport projects, was put on hold without warning.
“Deltek really helped us to keep a lot of jobs, and ultimately a lot of people,” says Scott. “In many cases, instead of making redundancies, we could just move resources to other projects where they were needed.”
Emails, documents, and drawings exactly where you need them
Vitally, having all documents and project data accessible from a central location also meant DesignInc had everything in place to switch to remote working when the time called.
Deltek PIM provides access to the latest versions of emails, documents, and drawings, meaning Scott and his teams had the flexibility and security required to work successfully and compliantly in an unexpected business environment.
PIM simplifies document capture, organisation, submittals and transmittals, and collaboration. So, as resources were reallocated and remote working became the norm, everyone was still able to access the necessary project information.
“With Deltek PIM, we were as well prepared as we could have been for a situation that took everyone by surprise,” says Scott. “You can upload a document or drawing into PIM from anywhere, have someone who's working remotely check or edit it, and then grab it again when you’re back home. It makes that kind of collaborative, remote working really seamless.”
This marks a big improvement for DesignInc, as previous solutions had limited document management capabilities that could see obsolete documents introduced to working practices or even audits.
There are huge time benefits that come with PIM’s information management, too. Email filing alone sees incremental savings that can add up in a noticeable way.
“It’s completely unobtrusive and makes it so easy for people to file all their project-related correspondence and emails,” says Scott. “It’s the kind of thing that saves you a minute or so every time you do it, but multiply that by 100 staff around 20 times a day and those hours really add up.”
New, data-driven insights
With Deltek PIM, DesignInc has also benefitted from improved visibility into essential project data. Using these insights, the company has been able to put a lot more emphasis on sales forecasting, taking a metricised approach to ensuring the required cashflow was coming into the company.
“Accessing all these critical insights have been invaluable,” says Scott. “We’ve been able to look at data daily to make sure that everything we had planned was still viable during a really tumultuous period.”
The company is now beginning to take a similar approach to its marketing and business development, mining the data within PIM to develop successful strategies and win new contracts.
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Four big benefits of PIM
Overall, Scott views Deltek PIM as a step-change in DesignInc’s way of working.
“It’s one of those leaps, like a mobile phone,” he says. “You don’t remember what it was like before you had the functionality you now lean on day-in, day-out.”
Here are four of the biggest benefits in his own words.
1. Time savings
“PIM usually saves a couple of hours through automatic document transmittal alone. If we do this once or twice a week across five or six different sectors, we’re looking at roughly 24-hours a week saved. There are other time savings too, even email filing – if you save a minute every time you file an email, over 100 staff, 20 times a day that adds up. This means our people can spend more time focused on the things they do best.”
2. New efficiencies
“The templates within Deltek PIM make updating existing documents really easy. We moved our office last year, so we had to go through the whole process of changing our address, updating headers and footers, and making sure all the different registers were accurate. With PIM, we used a macro to fly through the different templates and make sure there were no obsolete documents – it made my job a lot easier.”
3. Added value to clients
“Deltek PIM allows our designers to spend more time designing. And we can work with a greater level of agility, going back to earlier versions of documents to quickly respond to changing client demands. Both our employees and customers are always going to benefit from that. Ultimately everyone has a better overall experience.”
4. Architecture Compliance and Project Audit
“Deltek has been really, really good on the auditing side of things. It just helps streamline the entire audit process so it’s easy to answer questions and find the information you need. Auditors have even come away asking what system we’re using, because it streamlines their job for them as well. And, ultimately, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the amount of work we do without a lot of these certifications – especially our government and airport projects.”
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