What's the outlook for the engineering industry. According to Deloitte, the trend is for market growth but they say digital technology will be changing the way many engineering companies work. Are engineering companies ready for this?
Engineering firms already have a lot of competing demands. If they outsource IT services, can they be more successful? Read on to learn what outsourcing IT services can do for your engineering firm.
Any discussion about the benefits or otherwise of outsourcing IT services for engineering firms has to be in the context of the engineering industry outlook. What are the trends in this sector that engineering firms are facing? Can outsourced IT services be of help?
Digital technologies are transforming the way engineering firms operate. These technologies are improving efficiency and productivity. That's important because firms that are having to find better ways to compete in a global market.
Robots are contributing, especially in repetitive tasks. A mechanical arm can carry out a repetitive task for longer, more effectively, and more safely than a human worker's arm can. Automation can improve productivity challenges including shortage of labor.
Specialized drones can help with inspections of civil engineering projects that would be much more dangerous or costly with a human inspection. Surveying can be done remotely and quickly.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making a difference in engineering just as it is in other industries. Design and project planning are certain to benefit. Virtual reality offers engineers fantastic opportunities to pilot and test ideas before committing to production or construction.
Engineers rely on data and other information for much of their work. Cloud computing and connected digital technologies enable engineers to access data more easily including on-site or remotely. As people change the way they work, enabling working from home is an increasingly important option.
Better communication is being enabled with tracking technologies, the internet of things, wearable technology, and more. All of this will change the way engineers work. Technology is already important and it looks very much like it will be increasingly important in the future.
Do the technological developments in the future of engineering make you wonder whether your firm will be able to survive? Technology has always been a potential source of competitive advantage. Failing to respond as competitors get on board is surely unwise.
But how do you engage with these opportunities? There's so much else to do.
You have clients to satisfy and new business to win. You have human resources to recruit, train, and retain. You have assets to maintain and finances to manage.
The answer could be to outsource IT services.
This is a "make or buy" decision. It's like the decision you might make to outsource the manufacturing of a component or make it in-house. Similarly, you could engage an attorney from a law firm or directly employ a lawyer.
What's right for your business depends on several factors. Your firm's size, current capability, the scale of the challenge ahead, and much more needs to be considered.
It's hard to imagine the simplest of businesses in this day and age surviving without some technology. Email communication, telephone, and a spreadsheet application seem to be the least they could hope to get by with. Even these facilities need some form of IT support.
There's no doubt that you need technology and that it's going to be increasingly important. You need to support it and do it effectively and cost-efficiently. Here's how outsourcing IT services can help.
Updating your technology is no small task. Acquiring new technologies takes time and resources.
New technologies have to be researched, sourced, procured, and implemented. They involve new ways of working for your people. They then need support and maintenance.
If you need to get with the program because your technology infrastructure is behind the curve outsourcing IT services can be the way to do this. An outsourcing provider can help you get up the learning curve quickly. That way you start to get a return on the investment in technology more quickly.
Some areas of technology need some specialized skills. Maintaining those skills in-house for just a few occasions they are needed is not cost-effective.
Because an IT service provider is delivering their services to many clients, they are often called on to handle what are unusual issues for you. They, therefore, maintain this capability, and you as a client can call on it whenever it arises.
A problem may arise that you have never seen before. It's not likely that your in-house IT professionals will have the knowledge, skills, or experience to handle it.
The problem is not likely to be unique. Someone will have addressed this problem elsewhere. You benefit from other people's problems when you use the services of an IT services provider's experienced IT professionals.
Setting up and supporting an in-house IT services team is an expensive business. Without the economies of scale that an IT service provider can bring to bear, you can't do it as cost-effectively as they can.
Outsource IT services and you can share in their economies for mutual benefit. Reducing your IT costs means you can pass on savings to your clients by being keener on pricing when bidding for work and be more profitable.
As new technologies come on board, your organization has to change. The change involves not only learning how to use technology but also how to work differently. New ways of working accompany new tools and techniques.
Supporting your organizational learning is key if you hope to leverage the benefits of technological change. This knowledge transfer is one of the benefits of working with an IT services provider.
As technology changes, you have to respond once again with more training and more change. It becomes a continuous process. Your IT services provider can help maintain your skills as well as your technology.
As new technology becomes available, you will need a heads up on what's going to be useful. Acting as a knowledgeable friend your IT service provider can help you decide what is worth getting on board with. They can also help determine what deserves rejecting as a fad or fashion with little real merit.
If you've done a risk assessment for your business you must have identified cybercrime and data security among the greatest threats. These new crimes can be disastrous for your business.
Cybercriminals can damage your business by disabling all your essential technology. They can do this for financial gain or just as an act of mindless vandalism. Either way, the impact is unthinkable.
The theft of data is also an ever-present danger. Theft of personal data and client data can expose you to reputational and legal risks too. Are you prepared for these threats to your firm's survival?
Cybercriminals are sophisticated in the way they use information technology to extort money or steal data. An effective response has to match its level of sophistication. If you don't have this expertise in-house, outsource your IT services to access the skills and experience you need.
Cyber and data security is a core competence of outsourced IT services providers. They attract the best talent in this field and maintain the latest tools and techniques.
Attracting IT talent is difficult. The best people go where the opportunities to apply their talents are most obvious. They know they need to stay at the cutting edge of their field so they go where they can continue to learn and hone their skills.
Outsourced IT services attract this talent.
Establishing and maintaining an in-house IT resource is a difficult challenge. Even interviewing an IT professional requires some technical capability. It's difficult to distinguish between someone who is capable, from someone who can interview well.
Outsourcing overcomes this problem.
Risk management is an important aspect of any business strategy. IT risks are especially important to identify and manage.
So much of a firm's operations depend on the IT infrastructure continuing to work. If that infrastructure fails, you need to have a disaster recovery plan.
Outsource IT services to ensure you have this specialist area or risk management and disaster recovery covered.
Your business is engineering. Supporting IT can get in the way of that priority. Losing focus on the core business can be damaging to your business prospects.
Engineering is a competitive field. With many players, both at home and abroad, you don't want to get distracted from what's important.
Outsource your IT services and the service provider can worry about keeping the infrastructure running. They're better equipped to do it anyway. It's what their core business is about.
In the meantime, you can focus on winning new business, maintaining great client services, innovating, and driving up quality. You succeed or fail based on these factors and not on keeping computers working.
There's no better time to consider this opportunity. Outsource IT services and engage with the technology that will transform engineering. It could be the growth opportunity you're looking for.
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