Solving the challenge of having to use many different collaboration platforms, as required by clients and partners.

Hey there, welcome to ‘Under Influence Architecture and Design.’  

We’re your hosts—Alex and Borris.  

We run a company called ArchIT. We help architecture design and engineering firms make technology their competitive advantage.  

The concept of this series is to prove that companies who aren’t using the proper technology are basically designing while drunk.  

Now we know what you might be thinking—sometimes you get a couple of glasses of wine in you, alter your mindset a little bit; it can help you come up with new perspectives.  

And we’d agree with you. By the keyword, there is sometimes.  

You can’t design without technology all the time. Especially with Covid-19, which has taken a huge toll on the industry, you have to ask yourself how you are gaining an edge.  

Many people out there are just surviving, but you’re not one of them. You’re listening to this podcast to try and discover new ideas and tools to stay ahead. So let’s learn something together.  

On the podcast, we’re going to talk about some of the top complaints, pitfalls, and issues we hear from our customers—and today we’re talking about information management.  

Let’s get to it. 

Many of the smaller engineering and architecture firms we work with become frustrated when trying to manage all the different tools required by their clients.  

Because smaller firms have to pair with larger firms to use their tech, they are constantly bouncing between different tech depending on the client.  

For example, on a very basic level, one client might require meetings through Zoom while another uses Microsoft teams.  

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  

This problem can go much deeper when we start talking about project management.  

Some firms might use high-level, modern tech like ProCore, while others still use Excel spreadsheets.  

Ultimately, employees just want to get their work done as fast as possible. And having to juggle through different technologies to complete tasks makes that more difficult.  

This is an example of having too much technology. With too much technology, it’s tougher to collaborate effectively, thus hindering productivity.  

Information management, or keeping all of your data accessible in one place, tends to be what suffers most from too much tech. You may find yourself asking: which tools should I go to in order to complete a task quickly and efficiently for a client?  

It’s all about keeping data easily searchable and attainable. Tracking down spreadsheets through hundreds of folders is time-consuming, which is why a centralized system with a searchable catalog can be so beneficial as compared to traditional information management through folders and spreadsheets. 

The problem is, this sort of centralized system isn’t easily available. Still, there are ways to stay better organized in order to streamline productivity.  

Take access management as a subset of information management. Many small firms have to sift through hundreds of different passwords just to access data in the first place.  

This is where a technology tool like LastPass can be helpful. We’ve been impressed by LastPass, which can serve as a great launching point to consolidating your information management and feeling less overwhelmed.  

LastPass is easy to use—all you have to do is download the software and start inputting your passwords. Once your passwords are in, you can create shared folders and distribute that information to clients, or whoever may need access to the various programs you’re using.  

The initial input is intensive. As you go forward, onboarding and offboarding, creating specialized teams, and adding new passwords require additional attention. Having an IT person to manage this is important, just as with my Cloud Tools.  

A tool like LastPass could help to save each employee at your firm 15-30 minutes per week. That means at a 50 person firm, you could be saving up to 25 hours per week in switching costs (the time it takes for employees to switch between project to project).  

Conservatively estimating productivity cost at $50 per hour, LastPass could save your firm upwards of $1250 dollars per week.  

Many firms exist in a bubble without even knowing that information and access management is a problem—this is just how we do things.  

But this is a dangerous mindset. Not only can firms lose money on production costs, but slow accessibility and miscommunication can lead to losing clients, a much bigger loss.  

If you’re reading this and thinking that it’s not for you; how is that possible?  

To us, the implementation of software like LastPass is a simple, actionable step you can take to increase productivity (and in turn, save money) at your firm.  

We’re not affiliated with LastPass, and bear no allegiance to them. There are other companies that provide similar functionality.  

OnePassword and DashLane are also great solutions; we just use LastPass ourselves and can vouch for it.  

Check out PCMag’s Best Password Managers of 2020 to discover what software can best work for your firm.  

If you have questions for us or suggestions on what to talk about on the Pod, you can find us here.  

If you have questions or need help please reach out to us.  ArchIT specializes in providing IT services for architecture, design, and engineering firms