6 Benefits of Microsoft 365 for Engineering and Architect Firms
Statistics show that technology plays a pivotal role in various industries, and the construction sector is not an exemption. On the other hand, there are many players in any project, right from its initial stages to completion. These include government bureaucrats, architects, builders, engineers, and construction managers. In that case, tracking all these constituent elements with paper-based processes is not an option because they are unreliable. That is where the benefits of Microsoft 365 come in handy. It boosts productivity in virtually every aspect of the operations of architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) companies.
Investing in Microsoft 365 allows you to leverage world-class security, innovative Office apps, and intelligent cloud services to take your business to the next level. Before delving into the benefits of Microsoft 365 for engineering and architect firms, below are the keys to technology adoption within the construction sector.
First and foremost, you need to appreciate that the technology you invest in is only as good as those who use it. User acceptance is part of the challenges you need to address when implementing a new solution, despite the efficiency upgrades and benefits you expect to realize. Training your workers beforehand with your planning team’s help will be necessary if you want to win employee buy-in.
Identification of Inefficiencies
Reduced productivity is one of the pain points for those in the construction industry. Since project overruns end up costing you both time and money, embracing technology is advisable. That way, identifying inefficiencies will be possible thanks to technology, which will help you identify areas where you should focus.
The Implementation Strategy’s Design
Once you identify inefficiencies, you should not allow the pressure and need to boost productivity to become the reason behind deploying any technology. Otherwise, the poor implementation of the solution you choose will be inevitable.
For that reason, you need to start by designing an implementation strategy. The factors worth considering, in this case, include current systems, underlying deficiencies, what is not working, and the layering of the introduction of new technology over a particular period. That implies that you will set up your construction company for success by planning accordingly before rolling out new technology.
Benefits of Microsoft 365 for Engineering and Architecture
Here are some of the benefits that engineering and architect organizations in Atlanta and Charlotte can draw from Microsoft 365.
1. It Promotes Better Business Decisions
Indeed, decision-making is an integral part of the operations of architect and engineering firms. Unfortunately, making informed decisions is not possible if reliable data is unavailable. Integrating Microsoft 365 tools with analytical tools is the solution because it allows you to make better business decisions.
For instance, using Power BI, you can create reports and dashboards that display business performance and KPIs. As a result, tracking your project financials in real-time will not be a problem. That implies that hard facts will become the basis of every decision you make regarding your construction company. So, once you adopt Microsoft 365, you should consider including analytical tools to enhance your decision-making processes.
2. Supports Increased Accessibility
Most activities within the construction sector entail fieldwork. So, accessing project files when working outdoors is a major challenge for most players in this industry. It is worth mentioning that providing your employees with less-than-secure USB drives or setting up servers and VPN connections for accessing necessary information while in the field is no longer an option.
The solution here is getting a Microsoft 365 Business subscription so you can leverage SharePoint. This document management system and OneDrive work together to provide easy and secure remote access to files. That way, one can retrieve the information they need from anywhere without difficulties. This, in turn, promotes continuity of operations.
You only need to ensure that your field workers have laptops, smartphones, tablets, and an internet connection to access the data they need anytime. Also, the backing and syncing of files will be automatic, thanks to the latest cybersecurity defense technology improvements. So, you can be sure your company data will be secure when you opt for Microsoft 365.
3. It Serves as a Useful Intranet
Investing in technology that your employees will not use is a waste of time and resources. That often happens when you attempt to build an intranet, only to realize that the outcome is something your workers are not willing to use. The best part is that you can avoid such an unnecessary expense by acquiring Microsoft 365.
Other than SharePoint, one of the benefits of Microsoft 365 is that it comes with an intranet functionality that your employee will most likely use. In that case, sharing documents with workers regardless of their location will be possible. That, in turn, will promote a sense of community internally for your entity. Some of the benefits of using SharePoint include:
• Saving on time due to the reduction of paper files or disparate digital files available in different servers.
• The ability to conduct revision tracking to ensure a full history regarding each document is available.
• Access to top-notch compliance, which focuses on regulatory checks.
• Provides security updates to keep documents safe, no matter how one accesses them.
4. Facilitates Team Collaboration
Microsoft’s launch of a Teams platform in 2016 continues to prove its usefulness for construction entities focusing on reducing reliance on email. Since construction workers need to collaborate on any project they are working on, sometimes, instant responses are a priority, and email may not be ideal in such situations.
As a chat-based tool, Teams works closely with Microsoft 365 suite to facilitate group and one-to-one chats via messaging, voice or video. And, the sharing of files is instant. Additionally, organizing chats neatly into specific channels using Teams is possible. Consequently, that allows users to categorize communication depending on the stages of a project.
Also, Teams works with several third-party applications, including the project management functionality that construction managers will find helpful.
5. Promotes Automation
Microsoft Flow is an app within the Microsoft 365 suite and is available on devices of all sizes. Microsoft Flow helps construction companies to automate and optimize key processes. That covers various aspects, including HR-related tasks and project management. For instance, you can increase efficiency through Microsoft Flow.
That is possible because of Flow’s ability to automate the mundane elements of such procedures as employee reviews, holiday tracking, and expense management.
6. Improves Project Management
The effective management of projects is at the heart of every successful engineering, construction, or architectural team. Since Microsoft Project Online is part of Microsoft 365, combining the former with Teams allows construction staff to work effectively with internal and external contractors.
Some of the areas where Microsoft Project Online excels include keeping tabs on progress, project resourcing, and tracking variances.
Understand that offering your employees continuous training and education should be part of your priorities if you do not want to invest in technology that nobody will use after a short while. Just-in-time training allows workers to learn what they should know when they need to know it, and you can adopt this approach before implementing Microsoft 365 in your operations.
Also, conducting refresher training courses on new procedures and technologies will ensure that your employees remain aware of the latest advancements that can make their work easier. The benefits of Microsoft 365 are redefining the activities of engineering and architect firms.
If you need more information on the advantages of Microsoft 365 for the construction industry, contact us today!