Drive Your Business Forward with Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Results

Posted by Megan Miller on May 22, 2019

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For Architecture & Engineering (A&E) firms, good enough is never good enough. Firms are constantly looking for better ways to manage projects and run their businesses.

Although firms are thriving in a healthy market, according to the 40th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Industry Study, firms are facing challenges that center around three themes: technology, people and processes.

Technology

This year, the Deltek Clarity report features a section on technology trends to identify how technology is impacting the A&E industry. Traditionally, A&E firms are slower to embrace new technology for a myriad of reasons including cost, acceptance from clients, investment needed to learn and many more. More firms are looking to technology to differentiate their firm, increase efficiency, and attract new talent.

Firms identified which top emerging technology trends are most important to their businesses and the top three are Internet of Things, geo location and big data. Although more firms identified these trends as important, many of them are struggling with how and where to apply them to their business.

Many firms are looking to implement technology trends for project management and project execution, but not nearly enough firms are seeing the value of technology for other areas of their business. Here are a few metrics that highlight the need for firms to embrace technology to improve their business and create a competitive advantage in the market:

  • 66% of firms identified creating a strategic plan for implementing technology trends as a top technology initiative, showing a significant number of firms do not already have this in place
  • Nearly half of respondents cited moderate to low visibility on project performance metrics indicating that although many firms have solutions to manage projects, they aren’t using them effectively or are not providing adequate access to key personnel
  • 40% of participants have not upgraded or replaced their HR solution in more than five years, which leads to inefficient hiring processes and missed talent management opportunities
 

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People

Finding qualified candidates and retaining high performers continue to be top challenges firms of all sizes are facing and it’s impacting nearly every aspect of their business. Financial leaders reported finding and retaining qualified staff as their top challenge; project management leaders identified staff shortages and inexperienced project managers among their top challenges; and business development teams cited finding time to nurture client relationships at the top of their list of challenges.

Now is the time for firms to focus on their employees and truly make them a priority by providing career development plans, offering more learning opportunities and modernizing performance management to improve the employee experience. Technology is key to a successful strategy in HR so firms can assess the people side of the business and prepare for the future of the industry. Here is a pulse on where the people side of the business stands today:

  • Employee turnover increased to 13.8% this year
  • Staff growth has remained consistent at 4.2%, but many firms also reported an increase in the number of open positions
  • Only 45% of firms have succession plans and only 30% have career development plans for their staff. Firms also identified succession and career development planning as their top challenge managing talent.
  • Three quarters of firms are taking 31 to 90 days to fill positions

Processes

With projects at the core of A&E businesses, having efficient processes to deliver projects is critical to success. But, according to this year’s results, firms are still facing challenges when it comes to managing projects. While many firms have formal project management processes, they aren’t being used on all projects. In fact, only 48% of firms are using a clearly defined project management process for 75-100% of their projects. Coupled with only 28% of firms indicating a large majority of their project managers have formal PM training, firms are putting their projects and their profitability at risk.

Streamlining processes can help more than just projects as seen in this year’s report. The top financial initiative this year is overall business process improvement so now is the time for firms to take action, identify inefficiencies and make plans to eliminate the waste. Less than half of business development teams are using any formal business development process, making it difficult to be efficient and effective with limited business development time. And, as mentioned before, the talent management side of the business is just waiting for process improvement so firms can find and acquire talent faster and improve the experience for current employees.

Driving Your Business Forward

Although the industry is facing challenges in these areas, overall the A&E industry is healthy and excelling. But, for many firms, it may not be good enough. The Deltek Clarity report delivers dozens of industry benchmarks, industry trends and key initiatives to help firms like yours better understand how you measure up against the competition and identify what success looks like in the future. Now is the time to build a strategy to address your top challenges in the areas of technology, people and processes so you can stand out among the competition and drive your business forward.

LEARN MORE

To learn more about the results of this year’s Clarity Report, you can download the complete report and join us for our Clarity A&E Webinar Series. In the webinar series, we will take a deep dive into each section of the report to identify top challenges and initiatives; review key benchmarks and trends; and provide recommendations for how to drive your business forward.

 

About the Author

Megan Miller is a product marketing manager with Deltek and works with architecture & engineering firms around the world to help them improve their business processes through technology and thought leadership with resources like Deltek Clarity and Deltek’s leading project-based software solutions. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn.