Digital Builder Ep 63: Upskilling, Vision, and Relationships: Three Secrets to Technology Infusion

Autodesk wouldn't be where it is today without our incredible customer base. We're proud to serve construction firms of all sizes, from solo contractors to multinational enterprises.

That's why we work tremendously hard to ensure that you maximize your team’s potential and ultimately streamline your projects. 

If you're wondering how exactly we do just that—well you're in for quite a treat. Our latest Digital Builder episode gives you a backstage pass to Autodesk's Customer Success team. 

Hear from Alli Scott, Autodesk's Director of Customer Experience & Industry Advocacy, and Brandon LaCourciere, our Senior Director of Global Customer Success. As experienced leaders in construction and technology, Alli and Brandon have a unique understanding of how you can achieve new levels of success. 

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On this episode

We discuss:

  • The meaningful partnership that Autodeskt’s Customer Success team offers to our customers
  • Top priorities of leaders like Brandon and Alli
  • The role of digitization in construction success
  • How companies are addressing the labor and skills gap in the industry

The biggest focus of Autodesk's Customer Success team

First things first. Why does Autodesk have such a robust Customer Success organization? What exactly does the team do for you?

Brandon answered this question by emphasizing that his team’s primary goal is to understand and fulfill customer needs. They align their efforts with the customers' visions, leveraging tools and resources within Autodesk to support them.

"Our focus and responsibility are largely around enabling customers through the tools and resources available within our organization to empower that," he remarks.

In other words, the Customer Success team fosters a deep understanding of users so they can drive more successful implementations of Autodesk's products and get more value from them. 

How digital adoption helps firms win

As key players in Autodesk's Customer Success group, Alli and Brandon ​​work hand-in-hand with customers to transform digital challenges into growth opportunities.

Here are some of the wins customers have achieved from digitizing their processes. 

Promoting operational efficiency

"At a very baseline is creating more operational efficiency," says Alli. 

And when it comes to streamlining operations, no win is too small. 

As Alli points out, "When you can save small moments, those small moments add up, and that makes a big difference for a lot of our customers." 

To that end, part of her team's role is to help customers succeed when using various pieces of technology—be it Autodesk products, third-party solutions, or tools that users develop themselves."

"It's our responsibility as a technology provider to help pave that path and be a GPS that demonstrates what the map to success looks like," she adds.  

Improving safety

Beyond increasing productivity, Alli says that one of the most profound impacts of digitization in construction is enhancing safety protocols.

"Operational efficiency is the baseline, but then from there, it becomes so much more. We see customers advancing in their safety workflows," she remarks.

"Safety is still a huge issue for so many of our customers. Brandon and I both came from the industry. It's something we have a lot of personal stories about, and we want our friends and family to go home safely at night. So when we can infuse technology to improve lives and make people go home safe... that means something. And that's where technology can help."

Going beyond data reports and dashboards

Brandon, for his part, has seen massive strides in how construction companies leverage data. During recent briefings, he noticed a shift where, instead of just wanting attractive dashboards, customers are now more interested in behavioral mapping.

"When I talk about behavioral mapping, what I mean is: What was the intended outcome of a decision made? More importantly, how do we provide a more informed experience?"

Brandon says this shift shows that customers are getting smarter at using data to influence decisions and outcomes. 

"To hear customers pivot away from, 'I want your beautiful graphics' to 'Illustrate the performance of my business'—that's exciting to hear from our briefings and discussions."

Capturing the correct data also helps firms understand where to invest resources and which areas of the business to optimize. 

"If I know what the end state of data looks like, it makes it easier for me to say, 'I need to go into 3D asset control' or 'Maybe I need to optimize my ERP solutions.'"

"But if you don't have that data-centric approach at first, it's tough to nail what that next step is.

Addressing the skills gap in construction

If you're concerned about the labor and skills gap in construction, you're definitely not alone. 

According to Alli, "Brandon and I and the entire customer success team—even up to Jim Lynch's leadership team—talk to customers about this daily. The labor issue is something that's very personal, and it's harrowing to a certain degree."

Focusing on school partnerships and upskilling

One of the ways construction companies are addressing the skills gap is through partnerships with educational institutions. 

Alli explains, "Construction companies are building relationships with not just high schools or colleges, but middle schools, elementary schools, trade unions, and local craft houses. And there's more and more investment coming in from private and public institutions that are saying, 'Hey, we need to be able to not just attract a workforce, but train our workforce.’"

She continues, A big part of that is digital skills. And that means attracting digital natives or creating a digital skill set for upskilling folks who might be newer to technology.”

In line with this, Alli brings up the Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Center, which helps construction pros acquire new skills and certifications. 

"We revamped it at the beginning of last year, and it has just skyrocketed with folks that are now learning the tools and getting their certificates of completion."

Alli adds, "In the last less than 18 months, we had over 55,000 course enrollments, something like 15,000 certificates completed. That's a lot of badges and expertise being added to LinkedIn profiles. It's so exciting to see people embracing it."

Focusing on retention

Of course, overcoming labor issues isn't just about bringing in new talent. Equally important is retaining our existing workforce. We must ensure construction professionals today have the proper balance between work and downtime. 

As Brandon puts it, "We forget sometimes that there are people who are also really struggling, working 80-plus hours a week, dealing with complexities in their days and lives. It's those challenges with capacity that cause safety incidents in the job site."

He continues, "Sometimes I'm quick to say we need to recruit new people, but at the same time, we need to invest heavily in the existing market, user base, and customers. Because if they're not happy or safe, we will have a much larger recruiting challenge."

Ultimately, addressing the talent shortage is about bringing more people while at the same time figuring out how to empower and inspire our current talent pool.

New podcast episode every week 

Digital Builder is hosted by me, Eric Thomas. Remember, new episodes of Digital Builder go live every week. Want to learn more about the inner workings and musings of Autodesk's Customer Success team? Catch the full episode on your favorite podcast platform.

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Eric Thomas

Eric is a Sr. Multimedia Content Marketing Manager at Autodesk and hosts the Digital Builder podcast. He has worked in the construction industry for over a decade at top ENR General Contractors and AEC technology companies. Eric has worked for Autodesk for nearly 5 years and joined the company via the PlanGrid acquisition. He has held numerous marketing roles at Autodesk including managing global industry research projects and other content marketing programs. Today Eric focuses on multimedia programs with an emphasis on video.