AIA Practice Management Digest – July 2018


Tech Trends

Manage exposure to common cyber risks, learn about virtual practices, contemplate digital realm impact, and innovate with a virtual design and construction delivery process.


Letter from the editor

By Sara R. Boyer, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Sara Boyer headshot


A personal technology apocalypse:  a Revit fatal error, C4R is down, online meetings aren’t working, conference call lines are inaudible, emails bounce, our home WiFi and repeaters are on the fritz, all the contacts on my iPhone are gone, even my turn signal is malfunctioning.  If someone said the gravitational pull of the earth was off, I would have believed them.  As this issue of the Practice Management Digest wrapped, this was my week, a personal technology apocalypse.  We have come to expect technology to work.  And when it doesn’t, it’s Operation Code Red. 

What if we change our expectation?  The authors of the articles in this issue of the Digest outline various strategies to change our expectations and to make technology work for us. 

“Cyber risks in an architect’s typical day” by Kevin J. Collins, RPLU, Associate AIA delineates 10 specific security essentials to create a more secure environment for your business. 

Ricardo Rodriguez, Associate AIA makes an intriguing point that our profession is highly creative with analog business practices.  Check out the list of industry disruptors in his article “Surviving the end of architecture.” 

Read about the transition from traditional two-dimensional to model-based deliverables in “the inherent value in leveraging a Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) Process by Brian Skripac, Associate AIA. 

And compare two approaches to the virtual office, one as the transition of an existing firm and one as the business model from the start in “Building an office without walls” by Craig Park, FSMPS, Associate AIA and “Business in the cloud: Building a virtual architectural firm” by Peter S. Macrae, AIA, respectively.

The overarching theme of Tech Trends can be far reaching.  These articles offer practical and relevant perspective on a few of the current trends impacting our industry.  What trends are you seeing in your firm?

I would like to especially thank Seth Anderson, AIA for his service as editor of the Practice Management Digest, as well as his mentorship as I step into the role.



Cyber risks in an architect’s typical day
By Kevin J. Collins, RPLU, Associate AIA

Architects encounter cyber risks every day, often without considering the implications of the risks they face.  Building awareness and creating greater understanding of the common cyber risks will help architects manage their exposure to hackers and other bad actors.

Building an office without walls
By Craig Park, FSMPS, Assoc. AIA

The Sextant Group made the move from brick-and-mortar space to home offices for more than two-thirds of their staff. Here’s how building a collaborative culture, empowering employees, and using the technologies they specify has been positive for both their staff and their clients.

Surviving the end of architecture
By Ricardo J. Rodríguez De Santiago, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Architecture portrays itself as being highly creative, yet its business practices are decidedly analog. We need to challenge the notion of what it is to be an architect sans archaic labels by expanding our digital toolkit, providing cross-disciplinary services, and driving value through data-driven insights.

The inherent value in leveraging a virtual design & construction process
By Brian Skripac, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Virtual design & construction evolves our integrated and collaborative project delivery methods to enable our industry to transition to model-based deliverables. This shift—and its results—ensure greater value while achieving our clients’ goals.

Business in the cloud: Building a virtual architectural firm
By Peter S. Macrae, AIA

One architect shares how he launched a virtual firm—leading to tangible benefits for clients, employees, and the firm—and tapped into the global marketplace.



Contribute to the Digest

The next issue of the Practice Management Digest will investigate “Prosperity: Firm Culture.”  Join the conversation and share your firm’s culture with Digest readers . Submission deadline is Friday, July 27th.

We are always looking for topics that you would like to see addressed in an edition of the Digest. If you have topics related to practice management that you’d like explored or articles you would like us to consider, please contact Sara Boyer, AIA, at