Share

Share this

Use the icons below to share this page with associates that you think would be interested in BST10.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail
Contact

Contact BST Global

Fields marked with an * are required
 


 Contact Us By Phone 

Embrace Digital Disruption


Javier Baldor
JavierBaldor
Executive Vice President
BST Global

The Internet of Things (IoT) is probably the most important technology trend affecting businesses today. But, how did it come about? And more importantly, what can you do about it?

Read More

What’s Next? Seizing Opportunities in a Digital Economy

Javier Baldor
JavierBaldor
Executive Vice President
BST Global
Imagine, for a moment, life without personal computers. We have become so accustomed to instant access to news and information, that the loss of it would completely transform our way of life. In today’s technology-driven society, that’s a difficult thing to picture. But a world without personal computers is exactly what the former leader of a major mainframe computer manufacturer predicted in 1977. Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), once argued against the PC, stating: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Today in hindsight, this prediction seems almost comical. But at the time, this prediction meant major trouble for a company that hesitated to adapt to a rapidly changing world. What is it about change that is often so apparent and accepted by some, but unseen or considered threatening to others? Fear of the unknown, laser focus on the present, and lack of foresight can all cause aversion to change. But, just as computer giant DEC faced disruption in the 1970s, we too face another crossroads – with a technological disruption that will reshape our industry unlike anything else before. In this post and my next, follow along as I take a deep dive into what this technological disruption means for the architecture and engineering industry. WHAT IS THIS CHANGE? Of all the technology trends that are taking place right now, perhaps the biggest one is the Internet of Things (IoT). Simply put, IoT connects devices such as everyday consumer objects and industrial equipment to the network or internet, enabling information gathering and management of these devices via software. IoT is the one trend that is going to give us the most disruption, as well as the most opportunity over the next decade. Why do I say this? According to Cisco, 50 billion things will be connected to the internet by 2020. Fast forward just five more years, and that number jumps to 1 trillion connected devices by 2025 (McKinsey Global Institute). That same year, McKinsey also predicts that IoT will generate up to $11.1 trillion USD a year in economic value. In short, it will become the largest technology market ever. According to Goldman Sachs, there are five key verticals of IoT adoption: Connected Wearable Devices: Fitness Bands, Smart Watches and Glasses Connected Cars Connected Homes: Smart Thermostats, Appliances, and Entertainment Systems Connected Cities: Smart Meter Technology, Traffic Lights, and Parking Industrial Internet: Robotics, Factory Automation. The last two verticals present a tremendous opportunity for engineering consultancies, who will soon, if not already, be expected to leverage these new technologies into client projects. I have only scratched the surface of the power of the Internet of Things. Join me for my next post where I’ll explore more about what you can expect from IoT and share some tips for what you can do about it now. Has your firm started planning for the Connected Cities or Industrial Internet verticals? If so, what have been your biggest hurdles? Let us know in a comment below. Author’s Notes: This is the third post in a series on major trends affecting the architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting industry. A version of this post titled "Digitale Disruptie" appeared in Dutch in a Witteveen+Bos publication.

Seller-Doers: AE On-The-Go

John Mathew
JohnMathew
Product Director
BST Global
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. 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!

A New Reality: How Digital Technology will Transform the AEC Industry

Eduardo Niebles
EduardoNiebles
Manager Director
BST Global
As an industry, we are in uncharted territory. When will an Uber-type company change the AEC industry as we know it, and how can we plan to be a part of it? We read how Mega-trends are redefining the world--in all cases, digital technologies top the list. Financial technology ("FinTech") companies, more flexible than their big bank counterparts, are forcing changes. The amount of information collected and interpreted is growing. No CEO wants to look back and reflect failing to prepare for this fourth 'industrial' revolution. I agree the convergence of various types of digital technologies happening all at once is a key trend. I am, however, of the opinion that we will not witness an Uber-type scenario in the AEC sector. Digital technology will serve as an enabler and not a disruptor to the industry. It will enable new business models to innovate, redefine experiences, and fortify sustainable businesses. The visible impact of digital is how people can now work in a more collaborative way. Social, mobile, cloud, and BIM allow for architects, engineers, surveyors, contractors, and others involved in a project to work from one set of drawings. Moreover, while it is easy to become an Uber driver, the AEC sector necessitates skilled and credentialed professionals to drive creativity, intuition, and judgment. They have the experience to know what questions to ask. Hence, I can envision a new type of AEC firm arising as a result of digital - the digital consultancy. What is a digital consultancy and how can today's firms begin the digital transformation? The digital consultancy represents more than the use of technology to improve operational efficiencies. Rather, it is about creating the environment for employees to gain the knowledge and skills to innovate and build the capabilities to deliver the specific customer value which leads to better shareholder value. It is about data, people, and knowledge. The distinction is placing employees and customers at the center of everything it does as it moves into the digital economy. Consider the following concepts as a strategy map to begin your digital transformation: Communicate the mission - Elevate technology to a chair in the boardroom. The responsibility falls on the CEO. In many ways, the CEO is the Chief Digital Officer. Disrupt yourself - Don't look to disrupt your entire business at once. Keep your primary revenue source intact, but look at the edges of your business to innovate new services and new customers. Use real time information to measure your disruption and get the necessary feedback. Enhance your talent - Hire, train, or create the necessary roles to build the capabilities to deliver customer value. "Data Scientists" or “Digital Engineers" could be new roles to augment new services such as data mining or analytics to smart city schemes. Find new partners - Look to partner with technology companies. Why wait for these digital natives to come in on their terms? Create partnerships to learn from them. Create an ecosystem of partners that can innovate, invest, and offer better customer experience. The consultancy that figures out that the opportunity is for digital to transform the work itself will become the disruptor. There is no opting out of digital transformation-- have you started discussing your digital scenario?  

Technology Deep Dive: Cloud Computing

Javier Baldor
JavierBaldor
Executive Vice President
BST Global
There is no denying it – our world is changing rapidly. Each day, new technological, societal, and economic developments are transforming the way business is conducted across the globe. And the relentless question weighing on business leaders’ minds worldwide is: “Am I ready?” To help you prepare for this shift, we’re launching a series of blog posts exploring major technology trends, based on findings from technology companies like IBM and Microsoft, business information and analytics providers like IHS, and private equity firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). Over the next few weeks, follow along with us as we take a deep dive into how these emerging technological advances will affect your firm both today and in the not-so-distant future.   Trend One: Cloud Computing Our first technology trend is by no means new. By now, you have likely heard of cloud computing. And if you’re not already using it in your daily business life, you’re almost certainly using it in your personal life. Do you have an online banking, Facebook, or email account? Then, you have experienced the cloud. Put simply, cloud computing allows you to store and access data and programs over the Internet instead of on your personal computer. With one application, users can log in and access all the programs they need in the cloud – anything from file sharing databases to word processing systems to project management software. The recent rise of this technology in the business world is staggering. This year alone, IHS projects that global business spending on cloud-related technology will reach an estimated $174.2 billion. Three years ago, that figure was nearly $100 billion less at $78.2 billion. And by 2017, spending on enterprise cloud computing will soar to a projected $253.1 billion. That’s a 200% increase in just seven years. So, what is driving this wave to the cloud? A number of factors, according to KPCB's 2014 Internet Trends Report, including: The rise of computational power at the core of digital infrastructure triggered by a 33% decline in global computing costs annually since 1990. Richer digital information sparked by a 38% decline in global storage costs annually since 1992. Faster collection and transfer of data due to a 27% decline in global bandwidth costs annually since 1999. The increasing pervasiveness of smartphones caused by a 5% decline in global smartphone prices annually since 2008. The advantages of adoption within your organization are extensive. For starters: cutting costs, driving efficiency, scalability, and accessibility, just to name a few. What’s more, organizations with high cloud adoption reported almost double the revenue growth of their peer companies that were cautious about cloud computing, according to an IBM survey of more than 800 international business leaders. And the applications for the technology go beyond storage and security. The cloud adopters surveyed by IBM reported using the technology as a differentiator to support data-driven decision-making, reinvent customer relationships, and leverage companywide expertise. Nonetheless, when considering cloud solutions, it is imperative to look beyond the benefits of the technology and understand the risks and challenges of implementation. A recent survey by KPMG explored the obstacles businesses faced during the cloud adoption process. Among the top challenges cited were: Implementation costs too high Integration with existing architecture Data loss and privacy risks Loss of control Lack of visibility into future demands and associated costs To combat these challenges, we are seeing the emergence of industry best practices as cloud computing becomes more commonplace within the business world. In a recent Microsoft-released survey, more than 2,000 global business executives were asked by 451 Research to share best practices for driving a successful cloud computing project. The top-ranked best practices included: Have a well-defined architecture for security. Understand who the end-users are. Train users to be cautious with access and security. Have a well-defined architecture for performance. Have a phased approach starting with pilot testing. Has your company implemented cloud computing technologies? If so, share some of your cloud-related best practices in a comment below! Author’s Note: This is the first article in a five-post series on technology trends affecting the architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting industry.

5 Steps to Becoming a Collaborative Social Business

Eduardo Niebles
EduardoNiebles
Manager Director
BST Global
How important is social business to your organization? When asked this question by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, more than 70% of executives in the professional services industry said social business was important or somewhat important to their organization today. Each year, we learn of more and more companies around the world that are transforming their organizations and creating value through the use of social networks, software, and media that enable connections between people and information – or, what is more commonly known as social business. But as this trend continues to grow, major challenges are emerging. In addition to the absence of a strong business case and too many competing priorities, the lack of an overall social business strategy was among the top barriers identified by social business executives in the Moving Beyond Marketing survey. Currently, there is an overwhelming number of social business best practices, tools, and processes available online – a quick Google search of the phrase yields more than 1 billion results. However, before this complex organizational change can take effect within your company, you must first develop a clear strategy to guide the process. As you explore the opportunities of this global trend, use these steps to make the social business path easier to travel:   1. Learn the terminology. The phrases social technology, social media, and social network are often used interchangeably. However contrary to popular misconception, they do not mean the same thing. Begin your process with a clear understanding of the different terms: Social technologies are the tools and systems that connect people and information, regardless of time and location. Social media are those places where people come together in a digital environment to create and share information. Social networks are the accumulation of the people you know, and the people they know, as well as how you all are connected. By understanding the differences between these terms, it becomes clear that a social business must encompass all three to succeed – first, by activating your networks, then by leveraging media and technologies to foster business value.   2. Establish a clear objective. Determine what you are trying to accomplish with your social outreach. For example, are you looking to improve informed decision-making by creating seamless working teams that act on real-time information? Efficiently solve organizational challenges using social technologies that allow you to quickly canvas your network for additional input and insight? Or gain knowledge on emerging trends that present new business opportunities? Avoid the need to start big, or have grand plans – focus on specific objectives that recognize the value of working in a digital ecosystem (and how you will measure your success in achieving these objectives).   3. Understand your customer and market. Determine who makes up your audience. Will your network include employees? Customers? Partners? Or some combination of the three? After you determine whom you are seeking to reach with social, learn about what engages them in this digital economy. What are their likes? Whose tweets are they following? How do they perceive your organization?   4. Identify your influencers. Look within your organization for the individuals that are digital natives. Who is already active in promoting the organization via connected devices? And how can your organization combine the content these influencers are sharing with the content that your organization is creating?   5. Select and/or develop your technologies. Identify the social media sites already in existence that can be embraced within your organization. Or better yet, conduct a survey to identify social media sites that your employees are already using for collaboration. Can you leverage blogs, LinkedIn Groups, or Twitter chats? These channels are aimed to encourage commentary, engage your network, and facilitate the sharing of quality content. And for those looking for additional security or features, building an internal social technology may be preferred over using public social media sites. Over the next two years, Gartner predicts that 50% of large organizations will have internal social tools. However, the research firm also estimates that through 2015, 80% of social business efforts will fail in achieving intended benefits because of poor leadership, an overemphasis of technology, and the lack of a company-wide social business strategy. To ensure successful implementation of a social business initiative, it is imperative that leadership understands how their people currently work, whom they work with, and what their needs are to improve those processes. Has your organization taken steps towards becoming a social business? If so, what has your initial experience been like?

What is Social Business?

Eduardo Niebles
EduardoNiebles
Manager Director
BST Global
Tweet, Like, Pin, Comment, Share. Repeat. The pervasiveness of social media in our everyday lives is undeniable. From keeping up with close social ties to reviving dormant relationships, nearly 75% of all online adults use social networking sites, according to the Pew Research Center. And it should come as no surprise that this number is only going up – eMarketer projects that the global social network audience will reach 2.55 billion by 2017. What began as a means for people to connect, share, and embrace information in a community network through sites like Facebook, YouTube, and China’s Qzone has rapidly evolved beyond personal use into the era of social business. But, what exactly is social business? By now, you may have heard Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’ concept of a social business that purposefully seeks to solve major social problems like poverty, education, and health care. Surely this is a noble endeavor, but one that should not be confused with the topic of this post. The social business that I am addressing is one that uses social media to develop new forms of communication and collaboration – where organizations are creating their own internal social networks and leveraging information gathered from social for competitive advantage, business intelligence, insight, and value. A social business is not an organization that has merely combined social computing and social media attributes like Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts to their processes. It is one that promotes and encourages the notion of collaboration through social among its employees, partners, and customers to create business value. So, what makes a social business? There are three distinct characteristics:   1. Engagement The empowerment of the individual is fundamental in a social business. It is about allowing employees to engage with customers, partners, and their peers in ways that establish a network of collaborating communities. These communities can add valuable insight from multiple directions to solve major business challenges.   2. Transparency A social business looks to capitalize on the view of one version of the truth by removing all boundaries (e.g. disconnected databases, disjointed business management systems) that would prohibit collaboration. It takes advantage of the massive amount of business intelligence coming from different sources, and directs the right pieces of information to where they can be most useful in helping capture new business opportunities.   3. Agility A social business also harnesses the ability to capture and provide real-time information in order to anticipate how markets are evolving. It leverages the ability to instantaneously provide the most current information to employees so that they can make informed decisions with customers regardless of time and location. Furthermore, the use of mobile and cloud technologies to complement your social strategy deployment ensures that your community is connected whenever and wherever they are.   Whether leveraging existing social media sites or developing custom internal communication networks, many organizations that have implemented social business concepts – like the American Red Cross and Nestlé UK, for example – are seeing benefits that go well beyond facilitating collaboration to the realization of major organizational objectives. Take, for example, the recruitment of talent. The 2014 Moving Beyond Marketing survey by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte found that nearly two-thirds of respondents felt social business sophistication was at least somewhat important to them when selecting an employer. The same survey found that 83% of maturing social businesses are using social to improve leadership performance and talent management. The infographic by MIT Sloan Management below highlights even more benefits maturing social businesses are realizing. Becoming a social business is an extensive internal process that takes much consideration beyond simply what technologies will be used. What social media sites do you currently use in your personal life that you think could be leveraged within your organization? Share your ideas in a comment below.

Our Digital Future

Javier Baldor
JavierBaldor
Executive Vice President
BST Global
BST Global Executive Vice President Javier A. Baldor shares five mega technology trends that will re-shape the way consultancies do business. Our world is facing unprecedented technological, societal, and economic changes. How can your organization prepare to prosper in this evolving climate? In this presentation, BST Global Executive Vice President Javier Baldor gives you a look into five mega technology trends that will re-shape the way you do business in the future. Learn about the latest available findings from the world’s leading IT research firms such as Gartner, Forrester and IDC, leading technology companies like Google and Cisco, and also private equity organizations like Goldman Sachs and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.


Technology

The way we work today is transforming. Technology innovations in mobile, cloud computing and storage, and team collaboration have allowed companies to enhance connectivity and maximize operational efficiency like never before.

Get Updates

Receive the latest news, updates, and industry trends right in your inbox.