IT issues in engineering firms

The work engineering companies do is extremely complex and relies heavily on the team’s talent, specialized knowledge and capabilities. Without a well-functioning and adopted IT environment, the teams limited resource of time is unnecessarily spent on non-value add (and certainly non billable) activities such as trouble shooting, administrative tasks, double work/rework or the worst yet…waiting.

Whether you’re focused this year on improving billable utilization, overall net revenue per employee or ensuring more accurate and timely billings, addressing these IT issues will help you meet those goals.

From mechanical to civil to geotechnical engineering, we have experience assisting a variety of companies in the industry gain back the time lost on IT issues. We’ve found the most common IT challenges fall into the following categories:

Growing pains. As companies grow, their processes, procedures and structures evolve to meet the new needs. Often IT lags in this respect. A common issue we encounter is that the IT function has not evolved during the company’s growth. For example, a formal ticketing system is not implemented or there is no problem identification and remediation strategy in place. This leaves end users with an inconsistent IT experience and longer response and resolutions times. It also increases frustration as recurring IT challenges get in their way of achieving their work.

Systems not talking to each other. Often we find systems are not connected and it results in data silos with end users often having to look in multiple places for a piece of information. Users may have to manually transfer and maintain data between systems. Not only is this a poor use of a team member’s time, but due to the manual intervention, errors in data transfer increase as do delays in the process. When applications and their databases are correctly integrated, the utility of the whole environment increases.

Missing tools. Having the right tools in place cuts down on the time is takes to answer a question. It can also provide the ability to see insights into your business you would not otherwise have seen. There is so much data these days, collecting and storing it is not a problem. However, analyzing and extrapolating useful actionable insights from it is the key to seeing the full spectrum of your business.

Backups really backing up. We still see firms that have backups “in place” but they either haven’t been checked recently to ensure they are running successfully or the actual strategy behind what needs backed up hasn’t been revisited in years. Not all data is equal.

Band-Aid IT. The duct tape and bailing wire approach (we’ve always done it that way) doesn’t work for growing companies. With a focus on maintaining utilization targets and hitting profitability goals, we commonly see investment into the IT environment is a low priority. So it’s no surprise that we often see organizations that have built up such a technology debt struggle to get ahead of availability and performance issues as they grow the company. These challenges if not addressed will ultimately plague the company and derailing profitable growth.

The good news is with the right approach and insights these challenges can be solved. If you would like to start the journey or simply talk with an expert about how technology can be applied in the engineering field, we’d love to share our thoughts.