I read an interesting White Paper from Deltek last week, looking at where AEC firms are focusing their energy this year. Conducted in November and December 2011, Deltek’s survey polled 430 decision makers at primarily US based AEC firms.
Not surprisingly, Marketing & Business Development and Cost Control are the two key themes for AEC firms in 2012. 70% of respondents said that increasing business development is their biggest priority this year.
This is something we are seeing across all regions. Most AEC firms have now begun to implement a BIM strategy, but the majority are still in the early stages of communicating a joined-up message. One of the areas the Deltek paper addresses, is how architects and engineers can make the most of Business Intelligence, in order to win more work.
A trend we are noticing, is the need for AEC firms to demonstrate their BIM credentials. This is important for a number of reasons. The more data firms can gather on how proficiently they can deliver on a project, the more confidence they can instil in clients, prospective clients and their supply chain partners. It's one thing to say, 'Oh yes, we can deliver this project to BIM Level 2'. It's quite another thing to actually be in a position to back up the words with hard evidence. This includes metrics from past or current BIM projects and performance data on individuals in the team, who will be hands on delivering the project information and working alongside the client and the GC.
And when this information is identified, it is vitally important that the business development teams are fully briefed on what it all means. More and more firms are being requested to complete BIM-readiness questionnaires these days and, as clients become more knowledgeable about BIM, those forms will be requesting ever increasing levels of detail. The phrase 'BIM Execution Plan' is already becoming a familiar refrain and this is not going to go away.
No longer can AEC firms simply trade on their past reputations. They need to come up with a new message, one which truly differentiates them from their numerous competitors. We came into this recession, at the end of 2008, on the back of a near 10-year boom. We should now be bracing ourselves for a 7-10 year down- cycle, which is currently only 3 years old. It is those firms who can capture relevant, objective, BIM-related performance data, who will be the real winners in the continued lean years, which lie ahead.
Here is a link to the Deltek paper: