See How Engineering & Construction Firms are Boosting Productivity

The industry races to unify data to lower bid costs and streamline delivery – all while meeting rising customer expectations


May 24, 2023. 5 min read


Anna Gravina

Director, Global Head of Engineering and Construction Digitalization, Salesforce

It’s no secret that the economy is feeling shaky, which means smart engineering and construction (E&C) firms are taking a closer look at their foundations. A top concern: How to manage resource allocation and capacity when demand begins to fluctuate and inflation introduces fresh volatility into commodities markets.

E&C has always been prone to ups and downs. Firms that successfully manage these thorny times are turning to technology that gathers and stores information efficiently, enabling employees to make smarter decisions faster and drive revenue efficiently at scale.

It’s a tall order. E&C firms endure a strenuous process to win new business. Large firms frequently spend $1 million or more on bids that can take months to assemble. And when they do win bids, E&C can only claim real wins when they hit agreed on milestones in complex, sprawling projects. A missed deadline or change order can quickly erode margins.

Surprisingly, many firms lack the core tools to manage these risks properly. Legacy systems squirrel away data in a host of silos, making coordination in a complex industry difficult. But 60% of E&C leaders are investing in end-to-end digitization to future proof their firms. The rest of the industry needs to step up if they want to thrive in a market that grows increasingly competitive.

Here are four areas that leaders are addressing with technology.

#1 Managing Opportunities: Select work that’s right for you by unifying your data

Bidding for new projects is costly and time-consuming. How do you determine which projects are most worthwhile for you?

You may have lots of data on past bids – which you won and which you lost; which were actually profitable and which were not. To give all that data meaning, you need to unify it on a platform to share with the right people. But many firms are mired with legacy systems that make access to all the data available nearly impossible. In fact, many E&C organizations are a conglomeration of mergers and acquisitions. The information is scattered across a Frankenstein network. The setup makes it nearly impossible to track bid and project patterns by region or project type or sector.

High turnover also makes a centralized database even more important. A single source helps bidding, staffing, and project managers see every step and any dependencies. It can also streamline and support risk-mitigation processes like stage-gate bidding. Or it can identify the most appropriate projects early and avoid potential roadblocks to success.

According to data analyzed by the Salesforce Global Engineering and Construction Team, E&C organizations that integrate front and back-end systems for a single source of truth among customers, projects, employees, and third parties see revenue growth improve by 3% to 5%. Bidding costs drop by 15%-20%.

According to a Salesforce survey of over 3,500 businesses, organizations that use Salesforce Customer 360 to manage relationships and nurture opportunities see IT costs drop by 25% while users generate insights 29% faster.

#2 Managing Relationships: Nurture opportunities more efficiently

E&C businesses have to manage a complex network of relationships. The list is long and includes leads, customers/owners, suppliers, subcontractors, vendors, and project partners.

It’s important to build a comprehensive view of your entire ecosystem to manage the different pieces efficiently. Once your data is unified, you can deploy artificial intelligence (AI) to automate a wide variety of tasks, freeing your professionals to attend to more productive activities. For example, AI-led data analytics can help to map stakeholder relationships and identify decision makers and influencers. It can help you identify the best partners for your projects. Or even more importantly, it can help you avoid partners who regularly kill your margins with change orders or exhibit poor safety performance.

Based on our surveys of Salesforce E&C customers, the organizations that use data, analytics, and AI to choose, engage, and manage third parties can save 3% to 5% on procurement costs by offering self-help options where appropriate. You can also automate AI-tailored customer journeys to help nurture leads, ensure continued engagement, and be top of mind when the next RFP comes out. In fact, we have found that E&C organizations that use AI to manage relationships and nurture opportunities can improve CSAT scores by five to 10 points.

#3 Managing Resources: Mobilize the right teams and defend your margins

So, you’ve won the work. Now it’s time to deliver — and see just how accurate your forecasting, pricing, and risk assessment was. It’s time to mobilize teams, manage resources, track project performance, and execute effectively.

With digitization, our teams have seen E&C businesses improve resource utilization by 20% to 30%. For example, do you need an environmental engineer with extensive experience? Build “skill libraries” – detailed profiles with up-to-date CV and client knowledge. Then add in AI-powered recommendations to supercharge the selection process. “We get really excited about a future where we can leverage AI to match up the best talent at the right time for the client to meet their needs,” says Brian Rose, Vice President of Business Solutions at Jacobs. “That’s what I’m pretty stoked about.”

Learn how one of the largest engineering and construction firms in the world is using digital transformation to grow efficiently. Listen this Dreamforce 2022 on demand session with Brian Rose, Vice President of Business Solutions at Jacobs.

#4 Managing Execution: Mitigate risks and optimize asset operations

Once the project starts, you need end-to-end visibility of project progress to ensure things go smoothly. Automation is critical here.

With automation, you can identify and rank risks early. Then you can bring in internal experts to resolve issues. AI-guided analytics can help you plot data and display risks by areas or domains, such as environmental, financial, technical, or contractual. Then the right managers can step in. You can also automate alerts for upcoming tasks, check that you are on schedule, and project financials.

When E&C businesses automate these kinds of tasks, Salesforce teams have seen them increase project productivity by 10% to 15% and accelerate decision making and case resolution by 30% to 40%.

Win, execute, and thrive with the right technology

With robust and scalable data-analytics, AI, and automation capabilities, any E&C organization will find it easier to mitigate risk, identify, bid, and win the right work.

Want to learn more about how to streamline costs and improve productivity in engineering and construction? Request a call with your Salesforce account team.


More Resources


Grupo Antolin Accelerates into New Products with Salesforce

On-Demand Webinar

Elevating the Employee Experience at Professional Services Firms


Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.