How much time does your firm spend… 

  1. Chasing down past project, opportunity, personnel, and financial data?  
  2. Debating the accuracy of whose report is the most accurate?
  3. Complaining about the lack of insight into the holistic view of the your firm’s overall health?

You’re not alone. Turns out only 34% of global decision makers feel confident in their data and, on average, employees spend nearly 2 hours of their day each day searching for information. In the AEC industry specifically – storing, maintaining, updating, and accessing data is one of the most commonly reported pain points.  

Not only is this lack of insights frustrating, but it’s also prohibiting your firm from establishing Predictable Revenue, a vehicle that is proven to accelerate growth and scale in any industry. Last week we discussed the concept of Predictable Revenue and why it’s important to the AEC industry, along with some ways to start establishing this predictability at your own firm.  

The first step is establishing what we call a Single Source of Truth. A single source of truth is critical in not only minimizing the complaints and frustrations of your employees but accelerating your firm into that next-level growth stage by having a centralized location for the storage and maintenance of all of your firm’s revenue data.  

What is a Single Source of Truth? 

In the simplest of terms, a Single Source of Truth refers to one source of data that everyone agrees is the real, and trusted number.  

Imagine a world where your Business Development, Marketing, Executive, Finance, and Administrative teams all refer back to the same system to identify the data they are searching for. Not only does this improve the synchronicity of the teams, but it also decreases the amount of back and forth required to answer quick questions, the risk of needing to locate the same data multiple times, and the chance of not trusting the number in the first place. 

To put this into perspective, picture a time where a member of your Business Development team was asked a question around a past project she couldn’t answer immediately. She then fired off ten emails to ten different colleagues to narrow in on the answer to the question, where she spent a few hours of back and forth to ensure the most accurate numbers. Now, imagine if your Business Developer had one place to go where all ten colleagues had already input and agreed upon the data around that project, saving them all from the email thread.  

What is the Overall Impact of a Single Source of Truth?  

A single source of truth can quickly have immediate impact on your firm. When everyone is on the same page your team knows exactly where to look when they need an answer and exactly where to go when they have data to input.  

Siloed or disjointed systems are a commonality in the AEC industry. Many of the tenured industry vets prefer to rely on spreadsheets, sticky notes, or even tribal knowledge to store and maintain their data. But relying on these systems as opposed to a single source of truth typically means:  

  • Decreased productivity – having to toggle between systems, chase down important data, or debate the accuracy of spreadsheet vs spreadsheet decreases your employees productivity drastically  
  • Increased chance of human error – when multiple team members are storing the same data in different places, there is a high likelihood of something as simple as a typo to completely compromise the integrity of that data 
  • Lack of data-driven decisions – without data that is trusted by all, data-driven decision making rarely occurs. Data in is data out, ergo the saying goes, “Garbage in is garbage out.” With no confidence in the data, it will rarely be consulted during critical decision-making processes.  

How Does This Impact Predictable Revenue?  

As we said earlier, establishing this single source of truth is the first step in working towards a Predictable Revenue model for your firm. When there is intense disparity between the numbers you are using to forecast and predict things like revenue and growth, the numbers might as well not exist at all.  

Leaders who rely on that single source of truth are able to see accurate reports into  

  • What projects have the highest margins  
  • Which business developers are bringing in the most revenue  
  • An accurate Go/No-Go process  

In last week’s blog, we mentioned that part of establishing a predictable revenue model is in understanding your funnel, determining your acceptable average deal size, and defining time frames around what it takes to achieve this revenue. A single source of truth empowers you to narrow in on these items by simplifying the storage and maintenance of the data it takes to build these reports.  

Establishing a Single Source of Truth  

Okay, so we agree a single source of truth is important…. now what?  

Turns out, it’s a lot easier than it seems. Your firm is already storing the data that it takes to power a single system that can act as this single source of truth – you just need a better way to find it.  

It starts with choosing the right partner – a partner who is going to offer you a solution to store and update all of that important data we mentioned. As an AEC firm, you have unique granularities in terms of the data you care about and your partner should understand that.  

By investing in a system that is widely used by your Business Development, Marketing, and Executive teams, fueled by information from your Finance and Project teams – you’ve done the hard part in establishing a single source of truth. But the system is only a means to an end.  

Unless your teams are proactively updating and maintaining this system, it’s easy to fall back on bad habits and lose trust in the reported numbers, so it’s important to engrain consistency at the process level with all team members to keep your system a well-oiled machine. One of our clients’ Executive teams employs this golden phrase all throughout their firm,  

“If it’s not in Cosential, it’s not real.”  

This guarantees that Cosential is being updated and utilized as that single source of truth, rather than yet another disjointed system.  

Remember, Predicable Revenue in the AEC industry comes from understanding your margins, knowing when to chase the right business, and creating those repeatable processesGetting to a place of Predictable Revenue doesn’t end at establishing a single source of truth – it starts here. The next step is understanding that more does not equal better. Stay tuned next week as we uncover what this means and why it matters.  

If you’d like to see what Cosential’s single source of truth could mean for your firm, go ahead and book a demonstration today.