According to the latest AEC research, it is clear that AEC Firms are struggling to make greater use of data in their business. These challenges are not isolated to just one area, but rather span the entire data spectrum, including:

Unanet Infocenter
  • Data Accessibility
    • Over one-third (35%) say lack of data availability hinders their ability to use it.
  • Missing or Inaccurate Data
    • Nearly half (47%) indicate that missing or inaccurate data is a challenge.
  • Forecasting
    • Over half point to forecasting as their most significant financial (58%) and project-related challenge (57%).
  • BI Tools Used to Capture, Measure, and Report on KPIs
    • Primarily spreadsheets 35% Mix of tools (spreadsheets + BI software) 59% One common BI tech software 6%

Left unaddressed, these challenges become major bottlenecks to turning data into information and better insights. Worse yet, inaccessible or incomplete data can often yield misleading information altogether.

One clear obstacle to making better use of data is the business applications and tools AEC Firms use (along with how those tools are leveraged). In the research, Unanet learned that most AEC Firms are using a mix of business intelligence tools and spreadsheets, but over one-third use spreadsheets alone to measure and report on key performance indicators. The use of a single common business intelligence (BI) platform is rare (6% of all AEC Firms surveyed).

This medley of tools, or over-reliance on spreadsheets that have limited capabilities, leads to challenges when it comes to accessing and leveraging data for competitive advantage:

Nearly half of AEC Firms indicate that not having sufficient tools to access, integrate, and analyze data (45%) is a significant challenge for them.

Over one-third say not having sufficient tools to communicate performance metrics (35%) is a hindrance. Data integration is also a challenge, as most organizations say their applications are only partially integrated (66%) and one in ten indicate not at all.

The potential pay-off of overcoming these challenges is compelling. Cross-referencing revenue and profitability with company use of data shows that companies that use data on a regular, daily basis to operate their business significantly outperform those that do not.

For AEC Firms wanting to bring their data into focus, the good news is the solution is often right at their fingertips. The first (and most difficult) step is ensuring data is captured in a standard fashion across the organization. Once you are collecting data in a standard way, you can turn it into actionable insights to drive better decision-making and accelerate business growth. One recommendation is to conduct a survey of your internal systems already in place to ensure these are being leveraged to overcome some of the more common data challenges. Often, improvements to data visualization, workflow automation, and integration across your business systems are readily achievable once you have the data in place.

Click here to access the full AEC Inspire Report.