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BST Global CEO Talks AI at EFCG’s CEO Conference

25 Sep, 2023

At EFCG’s 34th Annual CEO Conference in Denver, CO, AEC firm executives discussed some of the industry’s biggest challenges. From September 18–20, 2023, attendees: 

  • Heard the latest on AEC performance as EFCG analyzed the state of the industry using its annual CEO survey   
  • Connected with experts and industry leaders as they spoke on today’s top M&A, financial, and strategic trends and innovations 
  • Networked with peers across a three-day experience 

The Panel Keynote Introduction & Session

On Tuesday, September 19, BST Global CEO Javier A. Baldor delivered a panel keynote introduction on “How AI + Big Data Will Transform the AEC Industry,” identifying some of the industry’s most fascinating technology trends — ChatGPT, big data and machine learning investments — before joining the highly anticipated keynote panel discussion.  

Javier shared that the data-driven consultancy of the future requires a strategy centered on three core tenets:  

  • Embracing breakthrough innovations like ChatGPT through education and action  
  • Becoming data-driven by defining a holistic big-data strategy  
  • Investing in AI and machine learning to gain predictive, project-based insights

By adopting these emerging technologies and processes that embrace data intelligence, team intelligence and project intelligence™, the data-driven consultancy of the future is not only within reach, it can truly be realized. 

The spotlight keynote that followed, titled “The Race to the Top: How Our Industry Can Make the Most of the AI Opportunity,” included a stellar lineup of industry executives: 

  • Javier A. Baldor, CEO, BST Global   
  • Kate Harris, President, CEO & Chair, Stanley Consultants  
  • Jesse Kropelnicki, CEO, Verdantas  
  • Carey Smith, Chair, President & CEO, Parsons Corporation 
  • Bret Tushaus, VP, Deltek   
  • Marcus Quigley, Partner, Technology Practice Lead & Moderator, EFCG 

The group discussed one of the fastest-growing technologies in the AEC industry — artificial intelligence — and how it’s opening a wealth of opportunities for firms. AI-driven tools in the AEC industry hold great promise for streamlining workflows, fostering collaboration to cultivate innovation, automating routine tasks, and identifying and analyzing complex patterns, leading to more accurate predictions, improved operations, and optimized designs. The panel explored how AEC firms are leaning into AI, capitalizing on AI investments and planning to use it to their competitive advantage. They discussed how firms envision the future with AI, and what they are doing now to set themselves apart. 

Javier contributed to the conversation with some key remarks to questions raised by EFCG’s Marcus Quigley: 
Question: Does BST Global have specific quantitative expectations, goals or ROI on its AI investments?
Javier A. Baldor

“We have set a target ROI of 10X value for our clients as we design and introduce our suite of AI and machine learning offerings.

We led an industry survey of the world’s top consultancies and learned that revenue leakage on projects stood at 6% of those firms surveyed and they wanted to cut this in half.

According to EFCG, in 2007, it stood at 12%, and 15 years later, it remained unchanged. If you look at the broader professional services market, SPI’s Best-of-the-Best Performance Advantage (Top 30) is at 26.50%. This is a prize of about 15%.

Utilization, according to the Clarity report, stood at 61.5% in 2005, and in 2021, it had gone down to 58.5%. SPI’s Best-of-the-Best Performance Advantage (Top 30) is at 74.50%. This is another prize of about 16%.”

Why is this important? Javier added that for every 1 percentage point increase in utilization, you take ½% straight to the bottom line. 


Javier shared that each of these areas can represent a meaningful opportunity to drive significant performance improvements by leveraging predictive insights derived from AI and machine learning technology.  


With BST Insights, for example, project managers can accurately predict the future of a project’s performance with 95%–98% accuracy 30 days in advance. The project manager can course correct, materially and positively changing the project’s trajectory and ultimately the project’s outcome. 

Question: How are you differentiating yourself in the market?
Javier A. Baldor

“We are differentiating ourselves along two major themes and areas. The first is to leverage AI in everything we do to foster a data-driven consultancy. It’s all about data, specifically predictive analytics. Next, it’s all about the user experience. It has to be consumer-grade — think Apple- and Google-class experiences. This is what today’s workers expect. We are the only ones in the world today delivering both AI-powered and consumer-grade offerings in the marketplace.”

The Breakout Session

Javier also took the stage Tuesday afternoon to lead a breakout session titled "How AI + Big Data Will Transform the AEC Industry.” In this session, Javier examined how these technologies can be applied in the AEC industry to foster the data-driven consultancy of the future.

During the Q&A session, Javier had a healthy discussion with AEC leaders. Here’s one example of that discussion:
Question: I want to understand the effort involved with unifying data. Our firm has a lot of different systems — ERP, CRM, HR, etc. — which means a scattered data set. Do you have any experience with companies like ours and how they were able to unify their data?
Javier A. Baldor

Javier’s response: “Sure! I think it comes down to the underlying mission. Everyone wants to hit a homerun out of the gate. They want this uber data architecture, but you’ve got to step into this. Do you want to work more internally, or do you want to work more externally to start? On the internal side, for instance, ERP, HCM and CRM data are great places to start, and then you can build off of that. If you start at that basic nexus, you have a treasure trove of information that you can mine and correlate data from. I think where people struggle is that they try to do too much out of the gate, and that’s why it’s really important to understand what the core mission is, and then build off of that. Define the mission and the scope of what you want to accomplish. Have a data strategy that can add to that.”

The Big Announcement

Javier also shared a big announcement! This spring, BST Global will be hosting the industry’s first AI Summit, where AI and innovative technology experts will explore the emerging trends converging on the AEC space. You can sign up for alerts about this exciting event here.

BST Global is a proud conference partner. BST Global appreciates the opportunity to participate in events like EFCG’s CEO Conference, and looks forward to future engagements. Check out our Events page to find out where else we’ll be — we’d love to see you at some of our sessions!