Tech Trends Overview

Deltek , 14 July 2021

The latest Deltek Clarity Industry report explores how architecture and engineering (A&E) firms in Asia Pacific (APAC) are reaching their digital goals, and identifies common barriers to tech adoption.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed architecture and engineering (A&E) firms into a new working paradigm. Firms in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore followed their counterparts around the globe in rapidly tooling up the workforce to survive and thrive in a remote working environment.

But what tools have firms come to rely on, and what new innovations will set practices apart in an age where every firm has had to move to a more digital environment?

The latest Deltek Clarity – Architecture and Engineering Industry Study has answers to these questions, and more. The report surveyed over 600 decision-makers across EMEA and APAC to understand how firms in different regions are responding to new trends, what KPIs they’re measuring, and how your organisation compares.

Emerging technologies: data is still king

The pandemic has likely shone a light on operational shortcomings in some firms, leading to a new hunger for data and analytics. The survey results certainly reflects this, with global respondents saying they consider data science, big data and machine learning as the most significant emerging technologies.

Firms in APAC report an even higher level of interest in data technologies than the global average. Big data (80% vs 73% total sample), AI (78% vs 69% total sample) and machine learning (77% vs 72% total sample) rank among the most important technologies for their business.

However, this focus on data technologies isn’t consistent across the A&E industry. Architects in APAC have their own technology focus, with data science, natural language processing and geolocation topping the list of most impactful technologies among our respondents. Compared to their counterparts in engineering firms, architecture practices are more likely to favour Blockchain technologies (70% vs. 64%) but devalue AI (68% vs. 83%) and machine learning (70% vs. 80%).

But while firms see the value of different emerging technologies, actual adoption rates in APAC are surprisingly low across both engineering firms and architecture practices. The most used technology in the region is big data (45% report applying it in their business), but all other technologies are used, at best, by just one-third of firms.

Digital maturity: architects aspire to increase maturity in five years

In the past year, firms have clearly made progress in their goals of digital transformation. In this year’s Deltek Clarity report, 18% of participants described their firms as digitally ‘mature’ or ‘advanced’ compared to only 9% a year ago.

Firms in APAC lead the way in digital maturity, with 26% from New Zealand and 20% from Australia identifying as digitally ‘mature’ or ‘advanced’.

But there is still work to be done for APAC firms to reach their digital maturity aspirations. Today, just 1% of APAC firms describe themselves as digitally ‘advanced’, but 38% expect to reach this level of maturity in the next five years.

Challenges and solutions: cost continues to curtail progress

So, what’s standing in the way of firms increasing their maturity on the digital transformation spectrum?

According to the Deltek Clarity survey, the cost of technology is the main barrier for APAC firms, with 64% of respondents highlighting it as one of their top technology challenges. But cost isn’t the only obstacle on the path to digital transformation:

  • 52% have difficulty prioritising applicable technologies
  • 43% report employees aren’t educated about technology trends
  • 30% of architecture practices report a lack of technology champions as a major barrier

However, there are clear signs that firms in the region are aware of their challenges – and ready to solve them. Nearly half of APAC firms surveyed (47%) plan to develop strategic plans to implement emerging technologies. The same number of firms are also planning to create a budget for strategic investment.

Explore all the technology trends for APAC firms – and much more

This article has offered a snapshot of the technology trends impacting A&E firms in APAC. It shows an industry facing many challenges but with signs of renewed resolve and digital ambition following a challenging year.

But the full Deltek Clarity report has much more to offer. Read the full report to learn more about the technology landscape in APAC and EMEA, get a breakdown of project management and financial challenges in the A&E industry, and explore benchmarking data to see how your firm compares to others in your region – and across the globe.

Download the full Deltek Clarity A&E Industry EMEA and APAC Report.

For more analysis, listen in to the 2021 Clarity Report webinar – How does your practice compare? (now available for CPD On Demand, free for ACA members).