The pandemic has highlighted how critical resilience is for success in a rapidly changing world. Severe shocks to public health, increased consumer demand and supply chain disruptions have led to devastating consequences across industries, not least the engineering and construction sectors. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted normal operations, many engineering and construction firms accelerated their adoption of cloud technologies to ensure their ability to continue business. For companies hoping for uninterrupted services in future disruptions, the mix and manner of how they leverage such cloud technologies will be a key to their success.

 As the U.S. economy fluctuates, it becomes increasingly clear that engineering and construction executives must be prepared for a sustained period of higher interest rates. To ensure their ventures remain strong, business leaders are turning risk management into a competitive advantage. Businesses are investing in their resilience, preparing for changes with scenario-based foresight tools and monitoring early warning signs so they can adapt quickly to emerging crises and opportunities. Armed with well-thought-out contingency plans and reimagining how their technology stacks impact operational resilience, many firms are working toward creating an unshakable platform from which they will survive and thrive amidst unpredictable market conditions. This article unpacks how businesses are leveraging technology to strengthen their operational risk management and turn it into a major competitive advantage. Drawing from customer stories, the piece explores how organizations can tap opportunities for growth by focusing on resiliency in today's unpredictable markets.

Adapting to Unforeseen Changes in the Marketplace

 As firms continue to face an ever-changing landscape, adaptability to unforeseen changes has never been more critical. The organizational capacity to be agile, pivot quickly and stay informed about industry trends is paramount to ensure longevity. With advancements in technology and changing client needs, firms must possess the capability to respond quickly to stay competitive. The key to success lies in embracing a culture that values innovation and is nimble enough to pivot when necessary. 

Cloud-based platforms enabled engineering and construction firms to transition smoothly during the pandemic─a clear indication that having an innovative culture is essential for success. These platforms provide powerful collaboration tools that allow project teams to work together remotely while giving them access to vital documents and data from anywhere in the world─even during times of uncertainty, like pandemics. As a result, more firms are now looking to drive their innovation efforts through comprehensive evaluations of technology solutions needed to strengthen their operations further. At Egnyte’s AEC Summit, AET discussed how technology innovation is a key strategy for businesses seeking process optimization.


Diversifying Market Portfolio to Weather Economic Downturns

 In the world of design and construction, the ability to stay afloat during tough economic times is crucial. One factor of resilience that cannot be ignored is diversifying your market portfolio. By expanding your services into different sectors, you can reduce the impacts of market fluctuations, ensuring that your business continues to thrive. Monitoring market fluctuations is key, and by doing so, firms can stay ahead of potential challenges and remain on a path of sustained growth and success. In a time of economic uncertainty, opportunities still exist for engineering and construction companies through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Department of Defense initiatives. These government-funded projects offer potential growth to businesses in the industry.

 To undertake projects with the Department of Defense (DoD), engineering and construction companies must comply with Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards. By doing so, these firms increase their chances of accessing new opportunities emerging from both DoD initiatives and infrastructure legislation. Achieving compliance with CMMC requirements is no small feat, but it is an essential step if firms want to stay competitive and avoid falling behind in the ever-shifting market landscape. With these requirements in place, firms can continue to deliver high-quality work while ensuring the security of sensitive data─a win-win for both firms and their clients. Egnyte's AEC Summit showed how ERRG leveraged CMMC compliance for reduced risk and secured federal opportunities. ERRG’s journey presented key insights into navigating these changes with precision─revealing new pathways to success in a changing world.


Attracting and Retaining Strong Leaders and Employees

 Firms have long depended on their ability to attract and retain top talent to be successful in a competitive industry. With a burgeoning number of projects and clients to handle, hiring and keeping the right people is more critical than ever. Companies that prioritize their employees' needs and create a positive work environment are more likely to retain key workers, even during challenging times. Firms are developing creative ways to retain employees, including introducing them to cutting-edge technologies and offering more flexible work options, like remote working. In short, companies that actively nurture their employees create a win-win situation in which both the firm and its workers thrive.

 A firm’s operational resilience largely depends on its ability to attract and retain talented employees who embrace innovation. It's critical to identify and hire solid professionals who can handle unexpected events efficiently and proactively. An effective hiring strategy should focus on bringing in individuals with experience and training that are essential to perform critical organizational roles. During Egnyte's AEC Summit, Rob Sloyer of KAST Construction and Michael Rensing of GBBN Architects emphasized the need to navigate a highly competitive labor market and retain valuable talent. In doing so, businesses can ensure continuity and avoid disruptions in their operations. The aim of attracting and retaining competent employees is vital to long-term success, and it's an investment worth making.


Safeguarding Data Integrity and Maximizing Outcomes

 Preserving data integrity within engineering and construction firms is a critical priority, particularly in an age where unchecked cyber-attacks threaten business operations at any given moment. By continuously safeguarding the authenticity, consistency and accuracy of their project data and documents, companies can ensure that they operate with accountability and confidence. This level of attention not only mitigates the risk of reputational damage due to data breaches; it also supports the organization’s operational resilience and protects clients’ sensitive data from unintended exposure. Ultimately, data integrity is more than just a necessary check-box exercise; it is a decisive factor in securing recurring work as well as ensuring the business’s longevity.

It is essential for engineering and construction firms to maintain operational resiliency by unifying, protecting and controlling project data and documents. This can be achieved by adopting cloud platforms enabling efficient collaboration with project teams and integration with a diverse range of industry tools to access the latest project files. Additionally, it is important to implement permission controls to ensure that data is accessed only by authorized personnel. Protecting data is equally crucial, with threats like ransomware posing a significant risk to firms. By adopting a multifaceted approach to managing project data, engineering and construction firms can remain competitive and agile in the face of evolving challenges. At Egnyte’s AEC Summit, there were several sessions focused on operational resiliency. MG Engineering discussed controlling content sprawl in email and Commodore Builders discussed working from anywhere and any device with Procore and Egnyte.

Resilience is the key to success, yet its development can be laden with pitfalls. Firms must prioritize adapting to meet the changing needs of their business model, review how their portfolios are diversified, keep the best team members around and protect data security relentlessly. Through these measures, modern engineering and construction firms can become more nimble and better equip themselves against any external event or challenge. The remaining step is for firms to explore solutions that allow them to implement these strategies successfully. With a versatile business model and strong foundation, any organization can persevere through difficult times and emerge more resilient than ever before.

Learn more about building resiliency from the Egnyte AEC Summit on demand.

Kevin Soohoo

Kevin Soohoo is director of AEC for Egnyte, a modern content and sharing platform depended on by thousands of AEC firms worldwide. With 15+ years of experience in the construction technology space, Kevin is responsible for supporting Egnyte’s AEC vertical and its growth efforts.