As clients work toward a digital transformation, where do you see the biggest gap in service?
What we hear most often from our clients is that the consultants they brought in to help with any number of initiatives don’t fully understand their business or possess the technical aptitude to consult at a deeper level. We can fill this market gap because we couple our consultants with comprehensive knowledge in engineering, architecture and construction services, and industrial systems. As a result, we are able to provide clients with advice and strategies rooted in technical realities and give them confidence in the process and outcome. We’re also mindful of implementing technology solutions that won’t lock customers into debt or vendor restrictions as they look to progress within this digital environment.
What exactly do digital transformation and business optimization mean for clients?
Thanks to advances in computing power and speed of information, there is more data at our fingertips today than ever before. Unlocking this data creates enormous opportunity, such as the ability to better understand asset criticality and condition to prioritize capital asset planning and investments. Getting the data out from its silos and organizing it in a way that makes sense to ultimately drive more business efficiencies can benefit our clients greatly. But there has to be an underlying business objective; businesses don’t just transform for the sake of transformation.
In a rapidly changing world, how can owners and operators secure their most valuable assets?
As organizations move from on-premise software to the cloud, there are a lot of security challenges that must be considered at the enterprise level. Additionally, from an operational technology perspective, our clients’ deployment of more and more connected field devices can create new and unforeseen vulnerabilities.
Our security consulting professionals take a holistic approach when evaluating a client’s overall security posture. We start by developing a comprehensive security road map and strategy, considering all risks, as well as regulatory components and compliance requirements. We use the road map to inform our recommended solution and implement the right one to monitor potential threats and define incident response protocols, helping keep the most critical infrastructure safe and secure.
How is 1898 & Co. set up to evolve with future demands and innovation?
I believe organizations should constantly be looking at market dynamics and forecasts for inspiration on how to disrupt themselves, stay ahead of the game and be prepared to make necessary improvements. That’s why we are continuously asking ourselves how we can bring automated options to clients so they can mobilize cost-effective solutions. Looking to the future, many traditional services will be automated to some extent. While we’ll continue to lean on our fundamental understanding of engineering and construction disciplines, we’ll increasingly blend technical capabilities with consultative practices to give clients an advantage during the next wave of innovation.
What’s the story behind the name?
While 1898 is the year Burns & McDonnell was founded, there’s more to it than that. The turn of the century was a time of rapid change, relatively speaking, for America as electricity and water infrastructure finally arrived in rural areas. With that change came opportunity, much like today with the pace of change that’s occurring. We also wanted to capture the spirit of our founders and their enterprising nature. These two young men from California who, upon graduating, decided to bet on themselves. They packed up everything they had and moved to Kansas City, Missouri. That was a big, bold move at that point in time, and we’re trying to capture the same with 1898 & Co.
The other part of our name — “& Co.” — is a recognition that our key differentiator is that we are and forever will be inherently connected to Burns & McDonnell; combining our engineering and construction capabilities with business consulting, technology and security excellence enables us to provide an all-inclusive offering. The “&” also joins us with those we serve. We partner with our clients because we’re very much invested in their success.