Four paths to tech-enabled transformation

Tech-enabled transformation takes on many forms and requires companies to take the initiative whether its internal development or partnering with other firms to realize their full potential.

By Morrissey Goodale February 28, 2022
Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology

Whether it’s software as a service (SaaS), artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML), it seems like every A/E and environmental firm is pursuing a word soup of technology solutions to make it “faster, better, stronger.”

Whether the ultimate goal is to double stock value, eliminate internal inefficiencies, break out from a crowded field of competitors, or be at the forefront of the movement to disrupt the industry, there are four paths available to achieve a “tech-enabled” transformation of your business model. The paths vary in length and difficulty. And the payoff, for many, is still unknown and far from guaranteed.

1. Internally develop proprietary products or services: This is by far the most common approach at play and can be found right now in firms of all sizes and types. Its genesis is a blend of (a) articulation in a firm’s strategic plan to be “innovative” and find “technology” solutions, (b) a willing and very able cohort of super-smart millennial and Gen Z designers, engineers, and scientists brimming with tech-enabled ideas, and (c) record amounts of cash available for firms to invest (or “burn” if you’re cynical) in tech initiatives.

2. Partner with technology companies: This approach recognizes that oftentimes the fastest way to bring a great idea to “market” is through the agency of others. This strategy marries the core competency of the AE firm (understanding the needs of their clients) with that of the technology firm (ready-to-deploy technologies).

3. Launch tech subsidiaries or ventures: This path is generally reserved for the industry’s largest players. They are best positioned to bring together a critical mass of market and technology subject matter experts to deliver either (a) a specific set of tech-enabled solutions to clients in a variety of national markets or (b) a variety of tech-enabled solutions to one particular vertical.

4. This is the fourth and fastest path for AE and environmental firms to pursue a tech-enabled business model. Similar to the U.S. market for EVs, the number of tech firm acquisitions by AE and environmental firms is small.

– This originally appeared on Morrissey Goodale’s websiteMorrissey Goodale is a CFE Media content partner.