5 Tips to Jump-Start Your A&E Firm’s Innovation

December 13, 2022
5 Tips to Jump-Start Your A&E Firm’s Innovation

Business and innovation planning are vital to future success. But you can’t invest in every plan. So how do you pick the right strategy for your architecture and engineering firm? Explore five tips to jump-start your firm’s innovation.

On the path to digital modernization, firms need to make the right choices (and take the correct approaches) when it comes to business and innovation planning.

Why Is Innovation and Business Planning So Important?

The 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Survey asked hundreds of architecture and engineering (A&E) firm leaders from North America about their biggest technology challenges, and which investments seem the most significant. The results demonstrate just how important proper innovation planning can be.

‘Lack of time to invest in learning’ and ‘cost of technology’ were in the top three emerging technology challenges for a significant proportion of firms — regardless of organization size.

  top technology trend challenges by company size

In addition, there’s little consensus on the right technologies to invest in. Geo Location, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Internet of Things, Big Data and Data Science Solutions, all rank high for importance across different firms.

  Tips to Jump Start Your AE Firms Innovation

Trying to decide where to invest technology budgets is far from straightforward. But with the right investment strategies, you can make the most of limited resources while still driving your business forward in a way that aligns with your firm’s strategy.

Optimize Your Business Planning and Innovation Using Five Key Strategies

Every business needs to base innovation spend and planning on its unique challenges and business strategy. There are a few tried and tested principles that can help guide you as you assess your firm’s needs — and the solutions available to help you innovate and grow.

1. Avoid a patchwork approach to technology investment

If you see your challenges as separate hurdles, it’s all too easy to try and solve each problem in isolation with an individual point system. But this can lead to challenges later on, including fragmented data, siloed teams, and inefficient internal processes.

So, if you’re investing in new core IT solutions, it pays to choose holistic systems that bring your data together in one place. With a single source of truth, you can better align teams across your firm, and make better-informed decisions based on trusted data.

2. Make the most of your IT spend with cloud solutions

Finding the capital expenditure budget for significant, one-off innovation spend isn’t easy. But modern cloud solutions can help you move innovation from capital to operational expenditure and become more flexible and agile in how you deploy new digital solutions.

Beyond reduced deployment administration and costs, cloud solutions also deliver ongoing benefits in the form of continuous updates, improved security, and simplified management. If you’re not already using cloud solutions, this can be a significant move that helps you get more innovation from less budget.

3. Keep an eye on employee experience

While it’s easy to focus your innovation spend and plans on new tools that improve efficiency and revenue, don’t neglect the impact of creating a better employee experience.

Tools that offer a great employee experience can help your team work more effectively, while improving morale. The right tools can also transform talent management by attracting potential hires looking to work at companies with advanced technology and retain employees by offering innovated solutions that reduce busywork and cumbersome processes.

Considering 78% of firms surveyed in the Deltek Clarity Study identified ‘finding and retaining qualified staff’ as one of their most significant business challenges, it’s clear that employee experience must be a big factor in your business planning and innovation. And with 89% of engineering firms expecting new hire salaries to increase in the future, it could have a big impact on your headcount costs as well.

4. Consider your needs today — and tomorrow

Whether you set your innovation and business plans annually or quarterly, you’ll want to make sure your plans include a long-term perspective. When it comes to new digital solutions, it’s all too easy to base your investment plans on situations that are prevalent today but could shift significantly over the years.

You can’t predict the future, but you can overcome the risk of short-term planning by looking for digital solutions that are built to be open and flexible. When assessing platforms, look for ones with an application programming interface (API) that you can use to integrate new systems over time. And make sure you focus on working with vendors that have a proven track record supporting their products — and working alongside A&E firms.

5. Make the most of your data

Regardless of how the technology landscape evolves in architecture and engineering, there’s one truth the industry can agree on: those that are better informed make better decisions, and those that make better decisions build significant competitive advantage.

That’s why it’s always worth including data and analytics as part of your innovation and business planning. Insights into your projects, people and business can help you improve agility, de-risk your decision-making, and create a business that’s more profitable.

When you start assessing how to drive your data strategy forward, keep the unique needs of the industry in mind. While there are plenty of solutions available to help firms turn data into insights, few drill into the industry project planning level. And even fewer have proven experience supporting architecture and engineering firms.

Deltek Can Help Simplify Innovation

Deltek supports architecture and engineering firms around the world to help them innovate and make informed decisions. With comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like Deltek Vantagepoint or Deltek Ajera, available in the cloud and on-premises, firms can consolidate project and firm data in one place to deliver a single source of truth.

And with mobile support and an intuitive user experience, along with extendable modules that enable customer relationship management (CRM), project and resource management, and accounting and business intelligence features, Deltek ERP solutions support firms today and tomorrow.


See why A&E firms like yours trust Deltek to support their growth, innovation and success.

Deltek ERP solutions have proven experience supporting architecture and engineering firms

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