One of the biggest challenges in any architecture or engineering firm is keeping everyone on the same page. We see this in the Deltek Clarity Report, where 59% of firms surveyed described ‘managing dispersed resources’ as one of their top three challenges, and 57% said the same about ‘coordination with clients’.
These challenges only grow as firms deal with the rapid pace of change across the industry, the technologies they rely on, and the world itself.
So, how can you help keep your team aligned across every location — even in the wake of constant change? For many firms, the answer is making the most of portable devices to deliver an on-the-go single source of truth. But it’s not quite as straight forward as handing everyone a smartphone or laptop and sending them on their way.
In fact, there are five surprising trends in mobile device adoption across the industry that are transforming how firms operate. In this blog, we’ll explore these trends — and what they mean for firms looking to optimize their productivity.
1: Mobile Productivity Is Limited by Legacy Infrastructure
Even if you’re able to get mobile devices and laptops into the hands of your people, there’s a chance you won’t see the benefits if everyone’s still connecting to legacy, on-premises infrastructure.
And according to our reports, this situation could be common across the industry: 31% of Deltek Clarity respondents identified managing legacy systems as a top challenge, and 35% said the same about maintaining physical infrastructure.
While, in theory, firms can unlock mobile productivity by migrating to the cloud, we know it’s not so simple in practice, as shown by the 31% that say migrating to the cloud is a key IT operational challenge.
Cloud migration and adoption continues to be an uphill battle for some architecture and engineering practices. But only by solving this crucial challenge can firms make sure they’re ready to make the most of mobile devices. Explore five benefits of the cloud in this blog.
2: Security and Mobile Can Co-Exist — If They’re Handled Correctly
Data and cybersecurity challenges are some of the greatest obstacles faced in the architecture and engineering space (69% of Deltek Clarity respondents named this as one of their top three IT operations challenges).
Mobile devices only add to the complexity faced by security teams, with 55% of respondents in a Ponemon Institute Report saying smartphones represent the most vulnerable endpoint at their organization.
Mobile devices don’t have to come at the expense of security. But firms that want to embrace mobile working must ensure they collaborate closely with IT and security teams to roll out new devices and apps in a way that balances security, mobility and accessibility.
3: Industry-Specific Applications Can Unlock On-the-Road Productivity
While your team is probably used to scrolling through email clients and other general productivity apps on their smartphones, we’ve recently seen dedicated architecture and engineering apps really come into their own as well.
Now, the likes of AutoCAD Mobile make it easy to bring designs and models on the road, file-sharing apps can help teams connect with vital project information from anywhere, and job-specific tools like Deltek + ArchiSnapper save valuable time by streamlining core processes like punch lists and site inspections.
Many vital back-office solutions also offer mobile companion apps to help employees save time and minimize admin burden. For example, Deltek Ajera offers a mobile app to help employees manage expenses while on the go, while Deltek Vantagepoint’s mobile features help employees manage timesheets and expenses from their smartphone or tablet.
4: Mobile Devices Must Work Well Alongside Your Systems — Today and Tomorrow
On their own, mobile devices support all kinds of apps that help people work smarter. However, the true value of portable devices is also being able to access and add to core systems based in the cloud.
Ensuring your mobile devices play nicely alongside your back and front-office solutions is a vital part of mastering the many benefits of mobile working. However, it isn’t enough to just ensure interoperability today. You also need to make sure future technology deployments maintain the delicate harmony between your cornerstone applications and mobile devices.
Get this right, and you can reduce the risk of siloed or inaccurate data and help ensure everyone is working from the same source of truth — no matter what device they’re using.
5: Mobile Solution Adoption is Growing, but Still Has a Way to Go
Mobile device adoption is growing rapidly across businesses and consumers. For example, only 35% of Americans owned a smartphone in 2011, when Pew Research Center’s reports began. Today, 85% do.
While adoption continues to grow, the Deltek Clarity Report shows further room for improvement across architecture and engineering firms. Seventeen percent of respondents put ‘collaboration and communication’ in their top three project management challenges, and 14% said the same of ‘having the right software tools’.
The figures show that not every business is seeing the full benefits of seamless, anytime, anywhere communication tools. Firms should remain on the lookout for opportunities to further digitalize processes, modernize their infrastructure, and embrace mobile apps and devices.
Discover 9 Industry Modernization Trends
Mobile devices are transforming how architecture and engineering firms operate. But they’re just one part of the digital ecosystem. To learn the other ways your peers are modernizing and transforming operations, get the white paper: 9 Steps to Digital Modernization.
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