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The Top 9 Growth Factors for AEC & The Key to Achieving Them

Comfortable. At ease. Relaxed. You’ll never see those words among the qualifications for a great IT leader. The relentless change in technology and business keeps everyone on their toes, and great IT leaders are right there on the front lines questioning everything so they can continually improve. Chief among these questions is “How can technology make us more efficient?”; “How can it make us more profitable?”; “How can we better manage expenses?”

What’s Agility Got to Do With IT?

When we see IT innovation in a company, inevitably there’s an IT leader behind it who asks lots of questions. That’s what affords them the ability to anticipate and embrace change and that’s what creates agility. Granted, “business agility” is quite the overused buzzword, but it’s nonetheless important, because being able to respond and adapt to change quickly is the essence of being a customer-centric business. If you’re responsible for technology decisions for your business, it’s a really exciting time, because with cloud computing, the ability to become more agile has never been greater, and the rewards have never been more attractive or achievable. When you go beyond the buzzword, here’s what it looks like when Workspot customers achieve unprecedented levels of business agility.

Unique Challenges in AEC Firms

A great example of the possibilities that agility brings to business growth is in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. AEC firms have some really unique challenges when it comes to end user computing, not the least of which is the very demanding nature of their power users; CAD and BIM pros need great performance from their workstations – there can be no compromises.

Our AEC customers tell us that to grow their businesses they need to:

1. Win bigger projects in any location
2. Launch those projects faster
3. Participate in more joint ventures
4. Make collaboration easier
5. Hire engineers anywhere
6. Work from anywhere on any device
7. Protect IP and simplify disaster recovery
8. Drive business efficiency & continuity
9. Innovate faster

What are the options for enabling these nine growth factors? Let’s look at the tradeoffs.

Making the Right Technology Choices

Physical Workstations

Local workstations have been the mainstay of end user computing for design engineers using graphics-intensive apps because it’s the only way they’ve been able to achieve the app performance they need when working on 3D models and accessing large data sets. However, physical workstations inhibit growth. Designers and engineers are tethered to their desktops, and can only be productive while in the office. GPU workstations are expensive to acquire and maintain, and because of the nature of AEC projects, an office usually has to be opened near the project site – at significant expense. Of course, this all takes time, so project launches are slower than they need to be. When firms rely on physical workstations, 8 of the 9 growth objectives just aren’t achievable (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9). As for #3 – the joint venture relationships that are so prevalent among these firms – while doable, they’re operationally more painful and complex than they have to be.

On-premises VDI

The show stopper for AEC firms with on-prem VDI is typically poor performance. All your users would have to be very close to the on-prem data center, and even then we’ve been told the performance is just not acceptable. As we pointed out, “good enough” is not good enough for these power users. Even if you eked out decent response times (and that’s a big “if”), an on-prem VDI solution limits growth possibilities in many other ways. If you implement on-prem VDI, you cannot adequately address 6 of the 9 growth objectives! (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, & 9).

Workspot Cloud Workstations

Cloud Workstations have proven to be a transforming technology solution for AEC firms. How is that? The first hurdle is to solve any lingering issues with performance. We’ve done that; our customers are seeing as good or better performance than their local workstations, and that opens a whole new world of possibilities. In this video, Rebecca Yu, CAD Manager for engineering firm Mead & Hunt, has experienced more than her share of virtual workstation evaluations – she knows great performance when she sees it!



Here’s how Workspot cloud workstations enable all 9 AEC growth factors:

1. Cloud workstations can be deployed anywhere in the world, in minutes, giving you the agility to bid on and win bigger projects, globally.

2. Quickly spin up additional cloud workstations to accommodate new projects and dynamically scale up and down to meet resource requirements.

3. Simplify joint venture processes to drive efficiency.

4. Collaborate in real-time on 3D models and large datasets.

5. Hire the best talent anywhere without the need for a physical office.

6. Enable anywhere-productivity and creativity for CAD and BIM experts.

7. Always have the latest OS and patches to augment security & protect IP. Protect the business with “standby” cloud workstations that are activated with one click during a disaster.

8. Reduce or eliminate infrastructure & physical workstations, make better use of IT resources, reduce OpEx.

9. Drive innovation through better collaboration, on-site customer consultation, and highly-functional joint venture partnerships.

In the video below, industry visionary and Mead & Hunt CIO Andy Knauf describes his journey to Workspot on Microsoft Azure. Andy is also interviewed by Enterprise CIO editor James Bourne here. Enjoy!

Ready for a live demo of Workstation Cloud?  Request a demo!