AECCafe Guest Blog
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing specialist for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors, and can be found at www.deltek.com.
April 29th, 2016 by Megan Miller
There are many professions that require fact-based decision-making rather than a gut feeling.
Think about it for a minute. Would you go to a doctor who sent you into surgery but didn’t bother to first run tests to confirm the diagnosis? Do you want a pilot who guesses the best place or time to land? Or a mechanic who takes apart your car before first identifying the problem?
All three of these professions rely on facts to make decisions about how to move forward – and Architecture & Engineering (A&E) firms should as well.
Yet, A&E leaders often make quick decisions based on intuition. If you do the same, you could be putting your business at risk. Decisions based on a gut feeling are simply not viable in today’s competitive and highly data-driven marketplace.
Here are three quick questions to help determine whether your plans are based on fact versus gut.
March 31st, 2016 by Megan Miller
Why be good when you can be great?
Many of you have probably read or heard of the book “Good to Great” by James C. Collins. In it, Collins says, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”
That discipline is what separates good firms from great firms – and why it is absolutely critical that you not only set strategic goals, but establish a plan to stay on track and reach your target.
The AEC industry’s project focus makes it a natural environment for implementing strategic changes to boost what your firm is capable of delivering. Given that, here are six steps to move your AEC firm’s project management from good enough to great.
February 29th, 2016 by Megan Miller
Next to your own staff, your clients are the most important assets to your business. Often, A&E firms find themselves dependent on a small number of clients for the bulk of their business.
In fact, the average A&E firm has 37% of its revenue tied up in just three clients. Losing a top client can be a huge blow to any firm, as we all know. Yet, according to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Report, finding enough time to nurture client relationships is a top business development challenge.
So, how can you be sure your client management hits the mark – and offers you opportunity to expand your client base?
February 5th, 2016 by Megan Miller
The process of setting and meeting goals is the engine that drives all project-based businesses, and AEC firms are no different. But setting goals can be difficult – and it can be easy to lose energy and focus with even the most clear and actionable of goals.
Within the AEC industry, firms often set themselves up to fail by setting goals that are unrealistic or vague. You may have a goal, but no actionable plan to make it happen. Or, you may have created a goal that simply isn’t feasible.
So, how do you know what goals are realistic? In a word: benchmarking.
Turn to a trusted resource like the Deltek Clarity Report, compiled from responses to the Annual Deltek A&E Clarity Survey, to help benchmark your firm against the competition and drill down on key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, thanks to Deltek’s 2015 Clarity Report, we know that the average win rate is 47.6% and high-performing AEC firms are reaching 50%. Metrics such as these will help you determine what average firms are doing, what high-performing firms are doing and where you measure up.
December 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
As we get ready to welcome the New Year, it’s only natural to reflect on 2015. Accordingly, I’ve compiled a list of top architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) blog posts that shared Deltek’s insights during the past year.
Each blog contains links to valuable A&E resources. You’ll find benchmarking studies, analyst reports, expert tips, reference guides and more. I invite you to share these resources with your social networks!
“36th Annual Deltek Clarity Report Highlights A&E Industry Status”
November 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
With the holiday season upon us, many people take time to reflect on the relationships in their lives – friends, family and colleagues. But for a project-based A/E/C firm, the relationships that require your attention are your clients.
The most successful A/E/C firms are built on strong client relationships – and their confidence in you as a trusted partner. But as firms grow and work picks up, it can be easy to focus on deliverables and let your relationships fall to the wayside.
The holidays are the ideal time to reconnect with clients and better understand what they need in the coming year. Here are a few steps that you can take to foster a closer relationship with your clients this holiday season.
October 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
As annual budgeting and planning season is in full swing, it’s time to take a look at where your A&E firm stands this year and what you want to achieve in 2016.
Is your firm’s profitability low? Has revenue growth stalled? What do you need to accomplish in the next year and what will it take? You may not know the best way to tackle your 2016 goals, or you may have tried and failed to reach them in the past. So, how can you break the cycle and make progress in the coming year?
In a recent webinar, Doug Reed of FosterGrowth.biz and I discussed “Five Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Annual Planning and Budgeting.” To be successful, you must start with realistic goals. By benchmarking your firm with reports like the 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, you can identify strengths and areas for improvement, allowing you to focus on what matters most.
September 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
Projects with state, local and federal agencies are key targets for many A&E firms. State and local (S&L) architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) services account for $391 billion annually across the U.S. At the federal level, that number is $35 billion. Collectively, the public sector represents 40% of the total U.S. market for AEC projects.
Because S&L funding in these markets closely mirrors the economy, firms have good reason to be optimistic. In addition to the post-recession growth, investment cuts in the last decade mean there’s pent-up demand for infrastructure projects. While federal spending in the past few years has been challenging and disappointing, spending on infrastructure is ticking up again.
August 31st, 2015 by Megan Miller
As football season rolls around, I find myself thinking about cool fall evenings, cheering fans, hot chocolate and A&E firms. I know you probably think the last one is a typo, but it isn’t. Football teams and A&E firms both have a common goal: finding and keeping the best players so they can win.
In the 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, firms reported an average net revenue growth forecast of 6.2%, with some firms forecasting 13.4% or higher growth. The study also shows the average employee turnover rate is 13.7% and the average staff growth rate is 4.7%. These statistics mean that A&E firms are optimistic about growth and are working hard to find the right team members to make further growth a reality.
So, what can A&E firms do to attract and keep the right people? To start, they can learn from successful football teams when it comes to team-building and recruiting.
July 31st, 2015 by Megan Miller
Bench players don’t become part of the starting line-up overnight. In many cases, they first decided that being good just wasn’t good enough and put in the necessary work to achieve a drastic change.
The A&E industry is no different. There are truly great firms; many have been recognized within the industry as best places to work, top design firms or even top emerging firms. But their status often reflects a choice to pursue greatness, followed by introspection and hard work.
What separates these firms from everyone else? In this year’s Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, we broke out a group of high performers – more than 25% of participants – to analyze what makes them so successful.
Let’s take a look at some key areas where the high-performing firms stand out from the competition.