Trends in Collaboration for the AEC Industry & How to Make it a Success in Your Firm

Trends in Collaboration for the AEC Industry & How to Make it a Success in Your Firm

initial.aec was in Phoenix, AZ in early May to present to the semi-annual meeting of the Design Finance Officers Group.  The group is comprised of CFOs and other key financial officers of to 100 AEC Industry Design, Engineering and Construction firms.  Effective methods of project team collaboration in a world of, often, increasingly complex and geographically diverse projects is a very hot topic in firms of this size – as well as most other firms, larger and smaller, that initial.aec serves.

Over the past few years of providing collaboration technologies and implementation we’ve come to learn some consistent principles that play a crucial role in predicting client success in implementing collaboration technologies or any other technologies that require process change as well.  AEC firms spend an average of $4000 per year/per employee on technology acquisition. Yet there are literally hundreds of collaboration technologies in the AEC industry market today – and more are coming.  How does a firm make sense of all the options, let alone create success with them?

Nearly 68% of firms that implement a new collaboration technology “solution” do not have a strong, well-developed strategy, goals and objectives in place before bringing the new technology “solution” in house. In turn, 68% of firms only experience partial success, at best. So how does a firm become one of those top 19%, or at least top 32% of firms successfully implementing collaboration technology?

There are 12 overall principles to creating a successful company collaboration strategy:

  • Strategy before Technology.
  • Carefully consider both individual as well as corporate values.
  • Listen to your employees. That is where, “what your firm knows” resides.
  • Implement and then get out of the way.

  • Set the example and then live it.
  • Integrate as much as possible into the existing workflow and technology set.
  • Blend in a supportive, growth-centered environment.
  • Plan to “measure what manners” to the planned outcome – but don’t try to measure everything

  • Negotiate around obstacles as they arise while keeping the goal in sight.
  • Plan to adapt and evolve to meet inevitable change.
  • Collaboration benefits your customers and large business ecosystem. Use what you’ve gained well.
  • Make both business goals AND improved corporate culture part of your goals.


There are four additional principles that should be considered specifically by AEC industry firms:

  • Commit to integrated project planning and practice.
  • Take your collaboration process to at least your regular project teaming partners.
  • Advocate for and come prepared to develop and lead partnering sessions.
  • Actively sell your clients and prospective clients on your collaborative process.


Initial.aec’s business is formed around helping some of the top AEC firms in the country successfully create the strategies, implementation programs to, in turn make the design, collaboration, project management and other mission critical technologies these firms choose to set them apart in the industry. Contact Us today to see how we can partner with your firm from concept to construction.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]