In a webinar from Deltek about the implementation of potent, digital technology in engineering businesses, we heard from engineering firm Tonkin Consulting about how they used gamification theory — and pizzas! — to drive engagement in their powerful, post-COVID technological solutions.
This webinar is the first of a four-part series organised by Deltek titled “Survive and thrive by harnessing the power of digital technology”, and features Baseel Mohamed, Chief Financial Officer at Tonkin Consulting and Bret Tushaus, Deltek’s Vice President of Product Management. Tonkin Consulting offers intelligent solutions around infrastructure planning, construction, environmental consulting, land development, marine and riverine solutions, and other engineering services.
Tonkin Consulting used a great deal of excellent technology before the COVID-19 crisis, but much of the functionality within the solutions remained untapped. The crisis forced staff to embrace the use of new digital mark-up softwares for design review and collaboration and depend less on paper.
When the pandemic struck and staff began working from home, they had to find ways to replace legacy paper-based processes. People had to better use the technology at hand to ensure the business continued to function smoothly. Whilst the team were already comfortable using video conferencing and screen sharing they had to quickly learn to use additional features and tools to enable team collaboration.
“We decided to gamify the entire experience,” says Mohamed. “We needed our people to use these technologies, and to use more of their functionality. We’ve now come to a point where people use deep and powerful features of software solutions on a daily basis.”
How was software engagement gamified? The business set up competitions and awards around who could use a particularly useful function of software in the most powerful or most creative way.
Tonkin also gamified some financial, operational and efficiency targets to keep staff engaged.
“At one stage, we said that if we hit a certain target, we’d have pizzas delivered to everyone’s home — that is about 150 people across Australia,” Mohamed says. “We hit that target, and management of that pizza order was a project in itself!”
“But then the gamification continued. We asked everyone to post a picture of themselves enjoying the pizza, with their family or whoever they shared it with, on our internal company page. That helped people become more comfortable with software functions for collaboration, and it became a completely normal process.”
Bret Tushaus, Deltek’s Vice President of Product Management, agrees that one of the most powerful technological upgrades a business can undertake is to simply learn to use current technology to its full extent.
“We’re seeing a lot of customers accelerating their technology plans at the moment, and others are saying they don’t want to mess with anything,” Tushaus says. “Many are looking at the COVID-19 interruption as a bit of a reprieve, a time to do some things that had been put on hold — upgrading to the latest version of the software, for example. It may seem trivial, but it can be a big deal.”
In the recent Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Industry Report , a survey of 600 senior executives and managers from engineering and architecture businesses in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle-East and Africa regions, not a single respondent reported their digital transformation maturity as being ‘advanced’.
One simple way to develop greater confidence in current systems without the effort and cost of a full digital transformation, Tushaus says, is to ensure full use of the current solutions’ functionalities. This way, the business evolves rather than transforms, which is just as beneficial in the long term.
“The big opportunity is to use this time to learn to use your hardware and software to its full extent, as Tonkin Consulting did,” he says. “It simply means spending some time figuring out how you can use various capabilities to benefit the organisation, to work more efficiently and to better access and manage resources.”
One other benefit for the Tonkin crew was the fact that its implementation of Deltek Vantagepoint — a project-based ERP solution hosted securely in the cloud — had been completed on the very day that most Australian CBD workers were told to work from home. This set up the organisation for immediate success.
“That made our work so much easier,” Mohamed says. “Because of the cloud platform, we could actually get things done, no matter where our people were working. They were not restricted in terms of what they could access — everything was available.
“Plus, it was a period in which we might have been strapped for cash. The fact that we could still manage invoicing and payments efficiently with quick turnarounds, while slicing and dicing the business to analyse profit margins and performance of various parts, gave us deep vision and very much worked in our favour.”
In these challenging times, one of the most powerful technological upgrades an engineering company can make is to simply use current technology to its full extent. To learn more, register now for the webinar on 5th November where senior leaders share their insights.