Connected Productivity: AEC Software Should Help Increase Billable Hours

Architecture, engineering, and construction firms need to keep the focus on winning new business and keeping customers loyal. Technology helps, but it’s only half the equation. The other half is determining how to apply that technology to the goal of having a Connected Firm. In this blog article, part of our series on the Connected Firm, I address Connected Productivity 

We work with many architectural, engineering, and construction management firms, and one of biggest challenges we see are a large number of inefficient processes. The problem is that many AEC ERP software solutions have no connectivity to the software your staff uses every day and where they spend most of their time…software like Outlook, Excel, and Teams. Connected Productivity puts your staff in an environment where your AEC ERP software is fully integrated with those applications and others. 

AEC ERP Software Without Connected Productivity Comes With a Cost

Any time that’s wasted moving between systems is lost revenue. Worse yet, your staff avoids using a system that’s not easy to access and easy to use—even something that everyone needs to do like a completing a timesheet. The result of not having Connected Productivity? Unhappy staff, low user adoption, late or poorly completed processes and non-billable time.  

Help Employees Efficiently Access Data in the Software They Like to Use

Our aec360 ERP software is designed with Connected Productivity in mind. Outlook is typically the software application that gets opened in the morning, stays open all day, and is widely used by the entire staff. This is a perfect environment for Connected Productivity to drive efficiencies for your employees and collect data essential to managing your firm. Here’s a good example. 

The following screenshot shows an employee reading an email in Outlook. When the email is opened, aec360 immediately knows who the sender is and can provide us with their profile and contact record. aec360 will also tell the user about the sender’s company and if there are any open opportunities or leads with that company. In addition, the system will show all the past and future activities with the sender’s company. Any of these items can be entered or edited directly here. 

Perhaps the most valuable information that Microsoft and aec360 provide is intelligence about your firm’s relationship status with the sender’s company. Based on the number of touch points, aec360 provides a relationship score for the employees in your firm who have had contact with the sender’s company. To top it off, there’s also a direct connection to LinkedIn to get relationship intelligence from an external source. 

How many systems would your employees otherwise have to access to get this information or edit this data? 

Work Directly With Everyone’s Favorite Management Software: Excel

Another example of Connected Productivity is demonstrated through how aec360 is integrated with Excel, one of the most popular business applications on the market today. The following screen shot shows a user who has journal entries to post. With the click of the mouse, the entire data entry process is moved to Excel. Most importantly, all the data entry rules from the ERP software are still in play when the user is in Excel. The user is where they want to be, and there is no lost functionality or security. 

Why is Connected Productivity Important?

Without it, your employees must leave the software they like to use every day in order to fulfill a process in your ERP system. Navigating to entirely different system is wasted billable time. It delays any process, frustrates users, and hinders collaboration. With aec360’s focus on Connected Productivity, your employees will be more efficient, and your processes will be completed faster. Better still, your employees might actually like using your ERP system! 

With aec360, you can have a Connected firm. Let us show you more in our on-demand webinar, How to Achieve a Connected AEC Firm with Dynamics 365 and aec360.

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