“I’ve never been busier.
I go home spent every night.
I just don’t have time to think about anything new.”
I’ve been advising design professionals for over three decades, and it seems I hear these refrains whether we’re in good economic times or challenging ones.Even for firms with well-diversified portfolios, the cyclical nature of real estate and the low profitability threshold of the design profession means that principals have learned to make do with less staff in lean times, yet hesitate to add staff even in a sustained upturn.
Now imagine the one on the left is twice as tall.
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate, and ignore everything not directly related to your core business — but recognize that that attitude could be shortsighted, foreclosing unseen opportunities to advance your firm’s productivity.
It invariably does more harm than good when principals reduce investment in marketing and technology, out of fear that there aren’t enough resources for these critical business drivers — even though those investments are the ones that can best elevate the firm’s baseline for productivity and profitability. Good firms continuously make themselves better in good times and tough times by reinvesting in themselves.
Resources like those offered by our friends at PSMJ are a fantastic way to improve your firm’s business process. Unfortunately, when it comes to analogous strategies for adopting technology (beyond the standard Autodesk training), most firms have nowhere to turn.
In the digital age, it’s certainly no secret that embracing enabling technology is every bit as important to your success as your client work itself, but it can be a challenging, time-consuming process.
Because tools like Autocad and Revit are pricey, massively complex, and unwieldy without significant training, many principals tend to assume that any tech tool will require similar commitment of profits and personnel. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
When you think about how easy and efficient it is to use web-based professional tools like Arazoo, it’s clear that this is the direction future developments in business tech will follow. They are easy and lightweight to use, quick to adopt, are browser-based and require no special equipment, and develop an immediate ROI — even if you are as busy as you’ve ever been.
A lot of that busy work stems from product/material research and selection. Too often it involves work you’d probably rather not deal with — like digging through emails, rifling through old project drawings, and when that fails, trying to track down former colleagues — just to figure out why something got specified or why it was detailed or configured a certain way.
This is unnecessary, time-consuming additional work. It takes up valuable time you’d prefer to spend on design, and makes those deadlines feel even more imminent. But you can mitigate that stress if your firm has a coherent plan to capture institutional knowledge.
With a product knowledge management platform like Arazoo, you don’t need to go to the ends of the earth just to figure out lessons learned about a product from a previous project, or to find that custom cutsheet you saved months ago.
Arazoo is a data rich, searchable, organized platform to save individual and collective product knowledge, memorialize lessons learned, share it with your team and clients — and easily find it again. How easily? Well, we did a little test to see. Results? Up to 75% faster.
As you use Arazoo, the amount of time you need to access your product knowledge goes down—and the value of that knowledge goes up.
Using Arazoo quickly becomes a virtuous cycle of time savings for your team, allowing you to spend more of your billable time doing actual design work—and less time looking for information you’ve already saved. If busy is the new normal, embrace smart tech to shoulder some of that burden. And then maybe you’ll be able to get home on time more often than you do now!
About the Authors:
Barry LePatner, Esq., Hon. AIA, has worked with architects, engineers and owners to make their businesses smarter and more efficient for four decades. Barry is the Co-founder and Chairman of Arazoo.
Brad Cronk, AIA, LEED BD+C has been an owner’s rep and project manager for nearly 20 years and is Co-founder of Arazoo.
Meet Arazoo at THRIVE 2016 - THE A/E/C INDUSTRY SUMMIT.
They are a sponsor and exhibitor at the event to be held October 12-14 in Nashville. In addition, LePatner will present A Brave New World: Who Will Survive and Who Will Thrive When Technology Reshapes the A/E/C Industry? This session spotlights seven advanced technologies that will enable the A/E/C industry to take major steps toward increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability in the next ten years. Don't miss out on all the exciting learning and networking opportunities at THRIVE 2016 - THE A/E/C INDUSTRY SUMMIT!