Architecture firm transforms client experience with secure cloud collaboration

Perkins+Will CIO Murali Selvaraj has tapped cloud collaboration and identity management services to help architects and clients better share information on high-stakes projects.

Changing the culture for an 82-year-old architectural firm that has traditionally treated technology as a support function is no easy feat. But it's one Perkins+Will CIO Murali Selvaraj has embraced, implementing single sign-on and collaboration software to help the firm win more business.

"People don't talk too much about technology in the architectural and engineering [industry]," says Selvaraj, a trained architect, who manages IT for architects spread across 30 offices worldwide. "And when they do, it's about how to get the client to visualize the building model, or go from pre-fabrication to construction faster."

But Selvaraj has a mandate from CEO Phil Harrison to transform Perkins+Will using technology to create a more "compelling user experience" for clients, mostly CEOs of corporations and other large organizations. "He is tech-savvy and knows what he wants to do," says Selvaraj of Harrison. "He wants to use technology as a catalyst for change, rather than as a support function."

Client collaboration in the cloud

Selvaraj is in an increasingly common position, as 84 percent of CIOs are expanding beyond traditional IT delivery to innovation management, according to a recent Gartner survey. The digital transformation is afoot at Perkins+Will, whose multi-year projects include the Haramain High Speed Rail in Saudi Arabia, the Shanghai Natural History Museum in China and a Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the U.S.

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