Insights from the experts.
by: Mike Antosh, Director of Engineering Applications
It is common for companies in the engineering industry to have a corporate structure with multiple disparate business units; traditional Information Technology (IT) and Engineering are two such units. IT fills the important role of providing software and network resources across the enterprise, but their success is measured on delivery, not adoption. Their approach is a break-fix model with no real responsibility for the end-user’s success or failure in most cases. This raises particular concern for engineers providing business-critical services that rely on IT to provide many of their mission-critical tools. However, the highly specialized nature of the engineering process presents nuances that make it nearly impossible for IT to deliver an out-of-the-box solution that the engineer or designer would actually use without significant customization and governance applied. This disconnect results in engineers having difficulty finding value in the tools that IT provides. Yet, without proper context, IT struggles to provide tools that are useful to the engineer. This gap often results in failed implementations and costly inefficiencies within the engineering workspace.
In recent years, as businesses have been challenged to deliver larger projects with global work-sharing, a number of engineers have taken an interest in improving the technology offered by proactively working in the gap between IT and Engineering to ensure that data and processes are aligned to the business and that fellow engineers are adopting the technology. These folks are the go-to people when problems occur and the ones who resolve complex issues behind the scenes, with a combination of analytics, programming, and specialized application knowledge. These individuals and the companies they work for started to recognize the value of their talent, and a new discipline was born - Engineering IT.
Engineering IT is complementary to traditional IT. It ensures not only the right tool selection, but also provides coaching and structure to make them work for the engineer. This specialization brings context and applies workflows, as well as strategy and governance. It bridges the gap between Engineering and IT.
For those companies who do not have functional Engineering IT roles or cannot pull engineers from their primary functions to take on technology improvement projects, there are service providers available, but not all are qualified. Many software providers and purely IT players claim to implement engineering solutions, but few have Engineering IT in their wheelhouse. They lack a basic understanding of engineering principles, budgets, schedules, and construction deliverables. Engineering IT requires expertise in these subjects and a good functional knowledge of IT processes to provide the skills, insights, and context to be truly successful. The right implementation partner will maximize your investment and allow tools to be used to the fullest extent, ensuring user adoption and satisfaction, while maximizing investment.
ProLytX is an Engineering IT firm based in Houston, TX and is a leader in this field, coaching clients to success with a unique combination of skills. If you want to learn more about ProLytX and how we can help you bridge the gap between IT and Engineering, call us at (832)540-8465.