Burns & McDonnell drives rapid growth with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and aec360

Company Overview

Burns & McDonnell is a leading full-service AEC firm with over 7,000 employees operating in offices across the globe.


HSO ProServ implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 and their aec360 engage solution as the firm’s new business development, marketing, and relationship intelligence platform.


With aec360, Burns & McDonnell has:

  • Increased the quality and visibility of the firm’s contacts and relationships
  • Improved pipeline and backlog reporting, leading to better forecasting and resource planning
  • Facilitated cross-BU collaboration to compete more effectively in pursuits

Burns & McDonnell drives rapid growth with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and aec360

Company Overview

Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, Burns & McDonnell is a leading full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental, and consulting solutions firm. The firm’s staff of 7,000 professionals around the world includes engineers, architects, construction professionals, planners, estimators, economists, technicians, and scientists, representing virtually all design disciplines. Burns & McDonnell partners with their clients to plan, design, permit, construct, and manage amazing facilities all over the world, with one mission that has remained unchanged since 1898: Make our clients successful.

The value of aec360 engage

With aec360, duplicate contacts at Burns & McDonnell were reduced from 24% to less than 6%.

“Getting our sellers/doers to properly manage contact records was a struggle. We had a mountain of duplicates and spent a crazy amount of time trying to manage our data, which led to data emergencies. The ERM and contact sync tools in aec360 have been a huge value for us, saving our people a lot of time, and adding credibility to our contact data. This trust has been a major part of our CRM success.”

Shawn Hickey
Senior CRM Business Analyst
Burns & McDonnell

A clients-first culture drives strong growth

With a long history of exceptional client focus and delivering cutting-edge projects, Burns & McDonnell has ascended to the top of many industry rankings of the nation’s leading design and construction firms, including:

  • #10 in the ENR Top 500 Design Firms (2019)
  • #1 in the ENR Power and Transmission and Distribution industries (2019)
  • 2019 Design Firm of the Year (ENR Southwest)

This success has led to further growth for Burns & McDonnell, a trend that has accelerated in recent years. Now with over 7,000 employees, the firm plans to hire more than 1,000 new professionals per year for the foreseeable future, a growth rate of approximately 15% year over year.

From skeptics to believers

Historically, Burns & McDonnell had not viewed the use of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system as a strategic priority. “Previously, there wasn’t a lot of buy-in for leveraging a centralized CRM system,” explained Shawn Hickey, Senior CRM Business Analyst at Burns & McDonnell. “Our prior tools didn’t really do what we needed as an AEC firm, which resulted in people creating a lot of decentralized Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint sites.”

To meet the firm’s aggressive growth objectives, Burns & McDonnell knew they needed to change their perspective on CRM software. Firm leadership was convinced they were leaving money on the table as each of the firm’s business units were working independently with different tools and missing out on cross-practice selling opportunities.

“With the emergence of cloud-based applications, we had a new opportunity to deploy a centralized CRM platform that was available to our staff from their mobile devices in the field, and really prove the value that CRM can offer to our business,” noted Hickey.

The journey to change

Burns & McDonnell began a search for a new CRM platform that would help them take advantage of the latest cloud and mobile technologies. The firm evaluated solutions from Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft, ultimately asking Salesforce and Microsoft to bring forward their best partners. “We know that our industry has unique CRM needs,” explained Hickey. “We didn’t want a generic system that we would have to customize extensively to meet our needs – we wanted something that was built for our industry.”

The final decision was an easy one. “Not only was the cost of the Microsoft solution less than the alternatives, but the industry expertise of HSO ProServ with their aec360 solution was a major difference-maker,” Hickey described. “We didn’t have to teach them what’s unique about our industry, so we were able to hit the ground running and save significant time and money.”

With the help of HSO ProServ, Burns & McDonnell implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud, utilizing the pre-configured aec360 industry solution.

  • Phase I focused on enterprise relationship management (clients, contacts, and relationships) and getting all of their employee’s contactssynced across their phones, Outlook, and CRM.
  • Phase II focused on supporting marketing and pursuit (opportunity) management processes including automated go/no-go approvals.

Changing the perception of CRM

By implementing aec360, Burns & McDonnell has gained a centralized firm-wide view of their contacts and relationships, streamlined business development operations such as legal reviews, and improved cross-practice coordination to win more business. “This success has changed the perception of CRM across all levels of the firm,” described Hickey.

The industry-specific functionality provided by the aec360 solution was key to the success of this project. “The aec360 team was able to jumpstart our project and provide a solution that addressed the unique challenges in our industry. Without that, we would have never gotten this initiative off the ground,” explained Hickey

A bright future with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Burns & McDonnell looks ahead to a bright future with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and aec360 as a key part of their success. “We are driving our CRM strategy forward,” said Hickey. “We’ll be rolling out Microsoft Dynamics 365 to manage our marketing events, create a centralized database of project and employee experience, automate the creation of proposal documents, and to deploy a resource planning tool that will integrate our pipeline management practices with our process for staffing new work. With Microsoft Dynamics 365, the possibilities are really endless!”

Michael D’Alesio is VP, Customer Care at HSO ProServ | Michael has served in many roles during his tenure in the Microsoft Partner Channel for the past 25-years.  Michael currently is responsible for supporting, enabling and strategically leading the HSO ProServ Team responsible for HSO ProServ D365 installed based customers to accept, adopt the Microsoft platforms to ensure they attain business value and user adoption.

Gary Mills serves as Senior Vice President of Finance, Planning & Analysis for HSO | ProServ. Gary’s diverse industry background brings a unique perspective to the company, with more than 30 years in corporate finance, banking and commercial real estate.

In his role as CFO of HSO | ProServ, Brian Lounds leverages deep experience implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to drive excellence into the organization’s financial and practice management practices. Having worked with Dynamics solutions since 1998, he has a strong understanding of technology solutions and their application
to business initiatives.

Whit McIsaac is CEO of HSO | ProServ and brings over 20 years of leadership experience in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem to drive the group’s overall business strategy. Whit was Co-founder and CEO of aec360 and legal360 prior to merging these practices into sa.global, where he served as CEO of the Americas prior to launching HSO | ProServ.

Andy Yeomans brings nearly 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics sales and marketing experience to lead the HSO | ProServ sales organization. Under Andy’s leadership, the organization has shown strong growth and has consistently been recognized by Microsoft as a top performing partner, winning multiple Microsoft Inner Circle and Partner of the Year awards.

Jan Dahl Sorensen’s deep experience with Microsoft Dynamics gives him a unique foundation to guide the HSO | ProServ client success team. As part of the original development team under Damgaard Data, Jan has been working with the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions since 1995.

Joe Stuckey is EVP and Director of CRM Product Development for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM product development efforts across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Joe leverages the power of Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform technologies to design and develop purpose-built industry solutions.

Paramesh Rajan is VP, Technology at HSO | ProServ. Paramesh has served in many Microsoft Dynamics project and program management roles over the past 20 years, and currently drives the development of the organization’s vertical ERP and HR solutions and outsourced development services.

A highly respected Microsoft Dynamics veteran, Jen Wisemore serves as CAO for HSO | ProServ. Jen was instrumental in the launch of sa.global’s US subsidiary in 2007 and has served in a wide variety of roles within Microsoft Dynamics consultancies across sales, pre-sales, program management, and leadership capacities.

John Aschenbrener is Director of Delivery Services for HSO | ProServ. John brings over 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics project and program management, consulting, and architect experience to his current role where he is responsible for driving PMO standards, methodology, and overall project delivery.

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In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Sean Skiver brings nearly 25 years of broad Microsoft Dynamics experience to provide strategic leadership around product development and client delivery services across the organization’s solutions and industry segments.

Amy Spencer leads the team that is responsible for go-to-market strategies, messaging, and demand generation in the US.

Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The College of New Jersey and has 25+ years of experience in marketing management for technology and professional services companies.

As Vice President of Human Resources for HSO, Kristen Ramerini is responsible for initiatives including recruitment, onboarding, professional development/career progression, performance management, culture, and employee retention. Prior to her position with HSO, she worked in human resources and recruiting for Seviroli Foods on Long Island and CCN, Inc. in New York City. She holds an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University and is PHR certified.

Darren Gooding is VP of Delivery for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM delivery across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Darren applies his 25 years of experience and HSO’s industry focused intellectual property to successfully deliver large-scale, global engagements that ensure customer success.