IT Challenges Facing Canadian Engineering Firms
Our specialty is providing dynamic IT solutions and support to engineering firms across Canada. Thanks to our work in this area, we know that engineering professionals face a variety of industry-specific IT challenges. We also know that engineering professionals are busy and often don’t have the time or technical know-how to face these tech challenges strategically. That’s why we’ve created a quick-reference guide about the biggest IT issues that engineering firms face and the strategies they can deploy to address them.
Engineering Firms in Canada: Industry-Specific IT Challenges & Solutions
The most pressing IT issues for Canadian engineers and the innovative solutions that will address them
There’s no doubt about it – engineering firms are run by some of the greatest minds in the country. Engineering is a particularly skill-based field that requires intelligent and strategic professionals at every level. However, this doesn’t mean that Canadian engineering firms are immune to challenges in the realm of information technology.
However, with the right approach, IT can be a secret weapon for engineering firms of all kinds. With the right strategies and support in place, engineers can harness IT to help them work more efficiently, secure better business opportunities, and exceed client expectations. However, in order to reach these new heights, engineers must first understand the IT issues they face so they can start deploying customized strategies to solve them.
The Top IT Challenges for Canadian Engineers and Strategies to Address Them
The fact of the matter is, IT really does impact every aspect of operations for engineering firms. No matter the project or the size of your engineering team, your IT infrastructure and resources can either make or break operations, depending on the challenges you face.
Here are the top areas where engineers are facing IT challenges and some strategies to respond effectively:
Productivity & Workflow
Maintaining a good workflow through optimal productivity is critical – especially for busy and business-focused engineers. There are a variety of IT bottlenecks that can have negative impacts on productivity and overall workflow in engineering firms. Check out the biggest productivity IT challenges below.
- Weak front ends – When your front-end technology is weak, your team is constantly left reinventing the wheel and productivity can take a major hit. Make sure your firm’s IT solutions offer a consistent and streamlined means of accessing, storing, and transmitting critical project data.
- Poor system integration – When your IT resources aren’t strategically integrated, your team will constantly be struggling to import and export data across your network. Make sure all the moving pieces in your network system are integrated to allow for seamless coordination.
- Sub-par analytics – Analytics exist for the very purpose of optimizing system functionality and connectivity, so when you’re not using analytical tools, your firm is missing out on a huge opportunity to optimize digital operations. Make sure you’re using analytical tools to collect, organize, and utilize network data in a strategic way.
- Mismatched problems & solutions – Very often, IT can leave engineering firms feeling overwhelmed which leads professionals to panic and invest in “one-stop” or “big-hype” IT solutions. However, you won’t see any improvements to productivity and workflow unless you take the time to find the right IT solutions for the specific IT issues you’re up against. The best way to do this is to partner with an IT professional for the engineering industry.
- Communication – Like any other business, engineering firms rely on open and streamlined communication in order to get work done and keep clients and vendors up-to-date. For engineers who are often working on time and labour intensive projects, maintaining strong communication is critical and tedious IT issues can chip away at team communication. Check out the biggest issues below.
- Collaboration breakdown – When your IT infrastructure isn’t running optimally, your team can’t collaborate to the best of their ability and projects can get delayed as a result. Make sure your firm has reliable collaboration tools in place and that they are configured strategically for optimal use.
- Miscommunication – When your team doesn’t have easy and streamlined access to critical resources, it can be very difficult to keep everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals. Make sure that your IT infrastructure is positioned to support optimal and instantaneous information sharing so that no team member is ever left out-of-step.
- Security – There’s no denying that IT security has become the most pressing concern for businesses in all industries. Engineering firms are, of course, no exception. Firms need strategic IT security mechanisms and procedures in place to protect company data and continuity. When IT security isn’t approached sufficiently, a variety of challenges can arise that directly affect a firm’s livelihood. Check out the leading threats below.
- External threats – Cybercriminals are getting more savvy and sophisticated than ever before. Particularly, they’re constantly looking for gold-mine targets and engineering firms fit the bill. If your system isn’t positioned to prevent, identify, and respond to external threats like ransomware and malware, you’re leaving your firm’s continuity vulnerable. Make sure your system infrastructure is protected with multiple layers of security to prevent unauthorized access and data disasters.
- Internal threats – Believe it or not, internal team members are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. When your team doesn’t know what threats to look for or how to respond to suspicious activity, your data and continuity are at risk. Make sure cybersecurity is an open team conversation. Get cybersecurity policies and procedures on paper and make sure they’re accessible to all team members. Make sure to pay attention to strict access controls and team cybersecurity awareness training.
- Mobile Capabilities – The Cloud has made it possible for engineering professionals to take advantage of dynamic mobile work capabilities. However, if mobile IT resources aren’t streamlined and secured appropriately, the innovation can leave your team frustrated and your network vulnerable. Check out some of the key challenges related to mobile technologies below.
- Office-to-field communication – Your team in the field needs to be able to seamlessly connect to your administrative team. When your mobile IT solutions are not positioned to support optimal office-to-field communications,
- what’s the point of using them? Make sure your mobile technology is perfectly and securely positioned to keep projects moving.
- Remote employment – Mobile technology has made it easier than ever to acquire talent from around the globe. However, if you’re not making use of mobile technology efficiently, you could miss out on the opportunity to partner with bicoastal or international engineering professionals. Make sure your company is equipped to provide remote employment capabilities so you can take advantage of large-scale collaboration and growth.
- Support & Planning –Finally, many engineering firms think that IT optimization is a one-off job. However, the reality is that IT management is a long-term commitment and should be prioritized consistently. When you aren’t putting a consistent effort into supporting your network infrastructure and planning for the future, your system could start to lag. Check out the key challenges when it comes to support and planning below.
- Unreliable support – Having IT support is one thing, but it means nothing if it’s unreliable. Engineers work with a lot of different IT resources and industry-specific applications. When there’s unreliable or disorganized support for these critical resources, work simply can’t get done efficiently. Make sure any IT support you invest in is reliable and that your support team has experience supporting corporate engineering applications.
- Lack of understanding – Making decisions about IT solutions and support often doesn’t happen in the right way. This can result in investments in IT solutions that aren’t customizable or the right fit for your firm. Instead of going for whatever fast deal is immediately available, make sure you understand the specific benefits of any IT solution or support provider you invest in.
- Lackluster teamwork – Above all, IT challenges are faced best when your entire team is on the same page. When you start making IT changes without consulting all levels of your operational team, confusion can arise and you may be impacting processes you didn’t even consider. Get everyone on the same page about IT priorities and then make a team effort to find the best solutions for the job.
Finding the Right Support Partner: Managed IT Services for Canadian Engineers
Now that we’ve gone over some of the key IT challenges that engineering firms face and some recommendations for addressing them, you may wondering where to start. The reality is, IT optimization and management is an ongoing responsibility and it’s best to take it step-by-step. Don’t jump in all at once or look for one-size-fits-all solutions.
Start by taking an inventory of all the IT resources you use and brainstorm ways in which they could be better optimized. Talk to colleagues in the engineering industry and see what they’re doing in terms of IT optimization and strategy. Above all, the biggest recommendation we can make is to reach out to a professional team of IT consultants who have experience in IT for the engineering industry.
In fact, if your engineering firm is tired of facing tedious IT challenges, why not reach out to the team of IT professionals from EngineeringIT? Our team specializes in helping Canadian engineering firms get on top of tech challenges and streamline operations with strategic IT solutions. We can help you with everything from initial consultation, infrastructure optimization, ongoing management and support, and everything in between.
If you’re ready to address your firm’s IT challenges once and for all, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Engineering IT anytime at (403) 879-8841 or via email at email@example.com. We’re on standby, ready and waiting to help you optimize your IT infrastructure for the long haul.