From Disparate Data to Consolidated Systems: DesignInc’s Transformation

October 03, 2023
DesignInc: From Disparate Data to Consolidated Systems

An interview with Scott Huston, Head of Knowledge, Systems and Compliance at DesignInc Sydney

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’s project-based solution for A&E firms – and experienced time savings, increased efficiencies and more time to focus on delivering projects.

DesignInc is an architecture firm that places people at the center of design. The company’s Sydney branch has over a hundred architects, urban designers and support staff from over 35 nations.

Each year, it works on roughly 30 different projects, from schools and education spaces to residential buildings, laboratories and airports – which can be difficult to manage when limited by disparate systems and manual data processes.

We spoke to Scott Huston, Head of Knowledge, Systems and Compliance at DesignInc Sydney, to find out more about how it consolidated its systems with Deltek and is now bringing essential project information together in one place.


The Real Impact of Disparate Systems

“Previously, we had a lot of disparate systems,” says Scott. “And they had limited document management capabilities that meant obsolete documents were introduced to working practices or even audits.”

Scott tells us that designers couldn’t access the information needed to stay on track and deliver projects efficiently. “Our people could overdesign and not notice until they’d overspent on their fee. For us, it was a matter of ensuring our people were able to keep an eye on the project program.”

The architecture firm also lacked insights into wider business operations. And DesignInc’s directors didn’t have the visibility they needed to forecast future projects or profitability.

“Gaining insight into what was happening across the whole business was definitely a challenge before we started using Deltek’s solution,” says Scott. “All the departments we have are so broad, and they’re run by so many people, each with a different way of approaching and calculating projects. Teams kept data in their own spreadsheets, and information was siloed.”

Everything in One Place

DesignInc initially implemented Deltek’s project-based solution to improve the company’s audit process. “We have to conduct regular surveillance audits as well as those for ISO re-certification, so we brought in Deltek to make sure we could do everything in a controlled and recorded manner,” says Scott.

As part of the implementation, DesignInc consolidated its systems and brought all its project information together in one place. “Deltek is the central focal point for a lot of our systems and the knowledge that we need to manage and capture,” says Scott. “With Deltek, our people can access project emails, documents, and drawings with the flexibility and security required to work collaboratively and compliantly – wherever they’re based.”

The firm has been experiencing rapid growth and Deltek’s solution has continued to support successful project delivery and streamline compliance. “It’s always been applicable at different stages throughout that growth. It’s expanded as we expand, and we've really built a strong supplier-client relationship with Deltek,” says Scott.

New, Data-Driven Insights

As a business that’s constantly juggling several projects at once, having easy and consistent access to the right information at the right time helps DesignInc simplify project management and audit processes. But that’s just the beginning. “The benefits we’ve experienced go far beyond more robust auditing,” says Scott.

With new insights, the company can put a lot more emphasis on sales forecasting, focusing on key metrics to ensure a strong cash flow.

“Accessing all these critical insights has been invaluable,” says Scott. “We can track all our different milestones and costs with Deltek – and it’s bringing different departments together, streamlining processes, and keeping project managers on track.”

DesignInc’s directors are benefitting from increased visibility too. “Deltek has helped us ensure a broad overview of what's happening in the business,” says Scott. “Directors can use the consumable data to make more intelligent decisions. And even people who aren’t necessarily numbers people can make sense of the data without being bogged down by lines and lines of numbers.”

Overall, Scott views Deltek as a crucial change in DesignInc’s way of working. “It’s like 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 rely on day in, day out.”

The Top Three Benefits of Implementing Deltek’s Solution for A&E Firms

1. Compound time savings

“With Deltek, we usually save 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, it adds up.”

2. Added value to clients – and more time for designers

“Deltek has helped us be more efficient and empowered our people to be more productive. For example, our designers are spending less time on admin and more on designing. We’re working with a greater level of agility, going back to earlier versions of documents and responding quickly to changing client demands. Both our employees and customers benefit from that. Ultimately everyone has a better overall experience.”

3. Simpler compliance and project audits

“Deltek has been really, really good on the auditing side of things. It helps streamline the entire audit process so it’s easy to answer questions and find the right information. Auditors have even come away asking what system we’re using because it streamlines their job as well. 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.”

Power Project Success with Deltek

With Deltek, DesignInc was able to improve its audit and compliance processes – and ensure data visibility, champion efficiency, and deliver better experiences for its clients and its people.

To discover what you could achieve with Deltek, get in touch with one of our experts.


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About DesignInc Sydney

Born from three Australian architecture and design practices coming together in 2000, DesignInc is a powerful union of design talent, professional expertise, and multidisciplinary skills.