Global Giant AECOM Builds Custom Project Software for Its 100,000 Employees

AECOM puts Bentley ProjectWise at the fingertips of its knowledge workers worldwide.

The winner of the “Innovation in Project Delivery” category at the Be Inspired Awards at this year’s Bentley Systems Year in Infrastructure conference was the international multidisciplinary engineering and project management consultancy AECOM. In London, AECOM presented a Bentley ProjectWise implementation that extended the reach of the collaboration and project management platform across its 600 offices in 150 countries worldwide, supporting a potential user-base of 100,000 knowledge workers.

In the finalist presentations, Phoenix-based global project collaboration manager Kevin Albright described the different constraints AECOM faced. The platform needed to support company-wide adoption of building information modeling (BIM), achieve near-instant information sharing, support multiple languages, help workers be self-sufficient in IT, eliminate disciplinary or information silos and create a common user experience.

Albright said ProjectWise was “the obvious choice” as it was “the most mature tool,” scalable and flexible and it did not require everyone to be using other Bentley products.

AECOM ProjectWise project start-up wizard. (Image courtesy of AECOM.)

AECOM ProjectWise project start-up wizard. (Image courtesy of AECOM.)

As a strategic partner, AECOM worked closely with Bentley Systems to expand use of ProjectWise via a network of seven data hubs in North America, Europe, the Middle East, southern Africa, southeast Asia, Australasia and South America.

AECOM’s implementation also made ProjectWise simple to implement. Albright showed how new users could click on simple system icons and use software wizards to help set up projects—supported by what Albright called “just-in-time learning tools: what you need when you need it.” Strikingly, the system was rolled out with the support of just three IT staff.

Integrated with AECOM’s intranet and other corporate systems, the multi-hub ProjectWise system gives AECOM staff a consistent window into the company’s back-office and project delivery systems. It provides rapid and reliable access (at LAN/WAN-type speeds) to the most up-to-date information on any project, maintained by cache servers using delta file transfer (i.e. reconciling file differences rather than updating entire files).

ProjectWise landing page dashboard shows more than 3,000 projects, around 6 million documents, 68,000 user accounts and 23,000+ active users. (Image courtesy of AECOM.)

ProjectWise landing page dashboard shows more than 3,000 projects, around 6 million documents, 68,000 user accounts and 23,000+ active users. (Image courtesy of AECOM.)

Though its use was not mandated, ProjectWise was already in extensive use within AECOM and, in just over a year, the number of early adopters grew 400 percent to just over 20,000.

Albright said the project benefits included reductions in “lost” information within AECOM, less rework due to working on wrong information and the creation of detailed histories and knowledge bases for each asset. Project start-up time was reduced by automation and the simplification of project administration.

While ProjectWise cloud replaced the use of local hard-drives, helping to centralise system administration under a handful of individuals worldwide. If the system increases resource utilization by just 2 percent, AECOM will save hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis.

The Be Inspired jurors applauded AECOM for achieving its ambitious goal to connect its multinational network of offices, and were impressed by the early grassroots adoption of the platform, calling the results “a testament to its initial ease of use.”

For more information, please visit the AECOM website.

About the Author

Paul Wilkinson is a London, UK-based writer and technology consultant specialising in cloud-based collaboration solutions for the architecture, engineering and construction sectors. He also monitors related developments in fields including mobile computing, building information modeling, social media and big data. His industry blog is at