Life in a design firm can be described in many ways – creative, demanding or collaborative might come to mind for many architecture and engineering (AE) professionals. For those that deliver projects while also bringing in new work to their firms, mobile is an apt description for how they spend their days. Can your business systems keep up?
A recent study by the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) confirms that seller-doers are as important as ever to a consultancy’s success, and their business development efforts are on the rise. According to SMPS, a majority of AE firms utilize the seller-doer model, while larger firms also employ full-time business developers. In these scenarios, business developers typically focus on identifying and securing new clients while seller-doers look to cultivate existing client relationships. All told, the amount of time that seller-doers spend on business development has grown over the past decade and is expected to continue over the next 10 years.
Today’s design professionals are more mobile than ever…
This trend is driving AE firms to evolve their technology, and look to leverage tools that span the settings that their seller-doers work in and the various tasks they perform while on-the-go. Working on projects, cultivating relationships and bringing in more work requires many AE professionals to spend time at their desks, at project sites, and in client offices.
In my experience, I’ve found that design professionals often perform tasks and drive processes while moving between these settings.
Some common scenarios include:
- A client manager is visiting a client, meets someone new, and wants to quickly create a new contact in their business system – as a precursor to adding more details to the contact later in the day.
- During a project site visit, a project manager learns of some additional services that might be needed, and quickly logs a new opportunity for further follow-up and pursuit upon returning to the office.
- At the end of the week, a discipline lead needs to review and approve timesheets while away from the office so that his or her staff’s time can be posted and invoiced.
Indeed, as AE practitioners navigate these types of scenarios, their contribution to business success is enhanced by their ability to work while on-the-go.
All told, today’s design professionals are more mobile than ever, working in and out of their offices, both selling and doing. Their business systems need to be mobile as well – in a broader sense than just mobile applications on a smartphone or tablet, though. The new reality is that AE firms need business systems that span surfaces – including laptops, tablets and smartphones – and travel with their staff as they pursue and deliver projects.
Has your firm implemented a mobile app or mobile-accessible web interface for your employees? Tell us some of your lessons learned in a comment below.
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BST Global Product Director