Arcadis, a global design, engineering, and consultancy firm, has built its reputation on providing high-quality, sustainable assets to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities worldwide. Operating in over 70 countries with 36,000 architects, designers, engineers, and project managers, Arcadis helps its clients navigate complex projects by leveraging digital solutions coupled with its design, engineering, and consultancy expertise.
With its approach to using technology to adapt and evolve its business practices to support changing social, economic, and environmental changes, it’s no wonder the company has been around for over 135 years.
The Need to Standardize Global Data Capture
On its continued path for improvement, Arcadis wanted to standardize global forms, documents, and processes to drive consistent data capture to improve quality and increase cross-project collaboration.
A long-time Autodesk AEC Collection customer, Arcadis’ Design & Engineering Service saw the promise in upgrading its BIM 360 instance to Autodesk Construction Cloud to better collaborate by consolidating different document management instances into a single platform. With the adoption of Autodesk Docs, Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro, and Autodesk Build, Arcadis took a holistic approach to improve document, project, and quality management workflows.
However, onboarding an entire enterprise organization of 36,000 onto new technology and embracing a new way of working is a challenging task. To ensure a successful rollout and drive adoption, Arcadis took a methodical approach by:
- Assessing the transition requirements of implementing Autodesk Construction Cloud globally.
- Appointing an international task force to inform the standardization of folders and templates and trial the new folder structure.
- Developing an engaging training program to onboard its workforce, relying on its partnership with Autodesk.
- Creating a feedback forum to continually improve the system.
“The change and people management part of choosing new technology is more important than choosing the technology itself,” says François Appéré, Global Autodesk Platform Director at Arcadis. “For technology to be adopted, you need to focus on having a plan to roll it out and people to champion the new way of working. That’s the only way you’ll be successful.”
Taking a Holistic Approach to Evaluating Technology
The goal of technology is to bring teams together, but with inconsistent technology used across its global teams, Arcadis struggled with getting cross-project insights to improve project outcomes. Project management was also challenging as data wasn’t consistently documented, making it difficult to find information and verify that all project requirements were complete. These factors accelerated the decision to adopt one global design, engineering, and construction platform.
Moving to one platform allowed Arcadis to reduce the number of applications by 10%. The openness of Autodesk Construction Cloud also allows Arcadis’ team to develop applications to integrate within the platform, enhancing their workflows and having easy access to the data.
Appointing a Global Task Force to Drive Organizational Change
Once the team decided to transition from BIM 360 to Autodesk Construction Cloud, the next step was to appoint a global task force to determine how to implement the platform across the organization. The task force comprised more than 25 Arcadians across 15 countries, three disciplines, and three core business units: places, mobility, and resilience.
Their responsibility was to create standardized folders and templates to drive consistency in how information was documented to increase data quality across the organization for cross-project dashboarding and decision-making. Over 1.5 years, the task force met weekly to test roles within the platform, develop the folder structure, and determine the data standards—what they wanted to capture and how. Once confirmed, Arcadis announced that all new Design and Engineering projects would start in Autodesk Construction Cloud.
“My favorite aspect of this project was collaborating with Arcadians from all over the world,” says Josha van Reij, Digital Solutions Product Owner at Arcadis and Global Task Force Lead. “One day, I’d be talking with someone in the United States, and the next day, someone in China. Getting different insights from different countries was impactful to develop our standards and successfully build our folder structure and templates.”
The Arcadis Global Standard
Every project that Arcadis works on is unique, ranging in size and confidentiality. The standardized folder structure and templates needed to support each project type. The solution was to create a new folder structure based on data sensitivity: high, medium, and low.
For example, a high-trust project is where teams openly collaborate on models. In contrast, a low-trust project has more rules and regulations that need to be followed, and files are shared with limited permissions. The latter is for classified or more complex projects.
The permission settings in Autodesk Construction Cloud make this structure possible, as Arcadis can set permissions across the platform for folders and documents. With permission settings revolving around the user’s role, this expedites issue resolution as bottlenecks are removed from the review process. Arcadis spent a lot of time developing this structure to ensure the right people are involved at the right time for projects to stay on schedule.
“We spent almost two months discussing how specific roles should function within the platform,” says Josha. “Instead of sending issues, RFIs, or models to everyone, information is shared with the people who need to provide input, helping to speed up the process.”
The team reduced the number of templates, and they are available in five languages, including English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Mandarin, with the team evaluating additional languages as needed. Projects are also kicked off 20% faster with a standardized folder structure.
Testing on Pilots to Improve Folder Structure and Templates
With the new folder structure and templates, the team began testing on two pilot projects in the United States (US) and the Netherlands. The project in the US utilized Autodesk Build for project management, while the project in the Netherlands used Docs and BIM Collaborate Pro for design and engineering. Arcadis’ Sr. Project Manager, Ann Blanchard, and BIM Manager, Mark Kroezen, were the leads on these projects and part of the task force.
During these projects, Ann and Mark would capture user feedback on suggested improvements and bring that back to the task force for consideration. Direct user feedback helped to refine the folder structure and templates before the wider rollout to ensure the broader team’s buy-in.
“The refined standard project management folder structure and templates intuitively caused project participants to explore the use of all available modules reducing management by email and spreadsheets,” says Ann. “The feedback helped us to improve the management of day-to-day project activities, increasing collaboration and providing our clients with higher-quality buildings.”
A Hands-on Approach to Training Accelerates Adoption
With the leadership team confident in the business value of Autodesk Construction Cloud and the capabilities of Autodesk Docs, Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro and Autodesk Build, the final step was ensuring employees were just as excited to use the new tools.
Arcadis anticipated some resistance to the new way of working. By pairing their Autodesk Construction Cloud implementation with hands-on training and support from Autodesk coupled with training materials created by its leadership team, the global task force, and power users to promote and drive the standardization of Autodesk Construction Cloud across projects, the team had a high adoption rate.
“It was a united effort from both teams to ensure that everyone was trained properly, to increase adoption of the solution and the new ways of working,” says Josha. “And teams looked forward to the training.”
Arcadis used different techniques to appeal to all learning styles when teaching its new standards,
relying on videos, written training materials, and online and onsite training sessions. The team also selected 10-15 projects to pilot the new standards, with Autodesk’s consulting team traveling onsite to provide training and support.
Overall, the feedback from the team was positive, and they liked that the training was clear, structured, and provided a gamification aspect to drive engagement.
By appointing a global task force and focusing on training, Arcadis has onboarded over 8,500 users – both internal and external – across 980 projects since Aug. 2022. They intend to reach 19,000 users by Dec. 2024.
"The change and people management part of choosing new technology is more important than choosing the technology itself.”
Global Autodesk Platform Director, Arcadis
The Continued Path to Innovation
With global standards and a consistent way of working, the sun never sets on Arcadis’ projects, as Arcadians in the Netherlands can easily collaborate with colleagues globally.
“Standardized data capture allows our teams to collaborate on projects regardless of location to share expertise and balance their workload. It also allows our leadership team to have insight into how a project is progressing by looking at the metadata of the files,” says François. “Using certain indicators, they can search, and the information immediately populates.”
In addition to Arcadis’ leadership team, its clients have access to data to see what’s going on, which has improved relationships.
The new way of working has also attracted more interest from clients and potential clients. And the more data they collect, the more insights they can derive to improve how they work and deliver projects now and into the future.