With approximately 15 billion dollars in annual revenue and a talent force of over 50,000, professional services firm Jacobs provides engineering, technical, professional, and construction services to clients on a global scale. Their vision is to create a smarter, more connected, and more sustainable world by challenging today and reinventing tomorrow. In line with this vision, they set up the Global Design Automation Program with the purpose of enhancing engineering processes and eliminating mundane and highly repetitive tasks. As part of the Global Design Automation Program, Global Technology Leader Marina Villanueva and colleagues started looking for technologies to maximize and increase automation. Villanueva: “That is how we found VIKTOR.”
After discovering VIKTOR – a platform to build and share engineering applications – in early 2023, Jacobs started the development of several web apps. Currently, three of these are being used and several more are finishing up development. Examples are tools for automated highway barrier design, steel pipe connection design, a Rayleigh Wave calculator, and a Return on Investment (ROI) calculator. Whereas most tools are designed by developers and engineers at Jacobs, the ROI calculator was designed and developed by Villanueva herself. The tool can be used to calculate the ROI of (potential) VIKTOR apps: “Ideas for applications always require funding. This app helps developers or idea owners to get that funding, as decision-makers need to understand what the ultimate return on investment is going to be.”
The ROI calculator app on the VIKTOR platform
Besides calculating the return on investment for existing tools, the ROI calculator has also been used to predict ROI times for other potential ideas that will not necessarily be turned into applications. Villanueva: “It’s good to know the result of your efforts up front. If there is no return on investment, or if the ROI is too far ahead, we can focus on something else instead.”
The Rayleigh Wave calculator. Click on 'pop out' to use the app full screen.
Even though Villanueva, according to herself, is no professional software developer, she does have some Python skills: “I found it very easy and fun to create my own application on the VIKTOR platform. The biggest advantage to me was that I did not have to invest much time designing the user interface myself.” Just like many engineers, Villanueva was more interested in developing the logic behind it all. “Because I could publish new versions of my application very quickly, I could release something valuable within a short amount of time and continue to polish and improve after.”
Jacobs’ rollout of VIKTOR applications started in January 2023 in the Europe region. As a global organization, Jacobs delivers engineering projects all over the world. That is why Jacobs’ strategy is to provide usage across all other regions. Villanueva: “We want to maximize our investment by enabling people from all regions to use the tools we are developing.” Currently, Villanueva is working with organizational change management experts on an engagement plan to increase adoption and maximize the reuse of apps. One initiative is to merge the separate development environments from the UK and Europe and implement ‘multi-region access’ to ensure people from one region can access applications made by the other. In 2 to 3 years time, Villanueva expects that engineers at Jacobs will use applications to automate processes on all projects: “My vision is that automation to deliver technical work becomes the norm, rather than the exception.”
You've just read one of the many use cases of the VIKTOR platform. I hope you found it an interesting read! However, there is much more to the VIKTOR platform than only this specific case. Let me tell you more about us:
VIKTOR is a low-code application development platform that empowers engineers and other domain experts to revolutionize their workflow by effortlessly creating user-friendly web applications with nothing more than Python. The VIKTOR platform consists of the following pillars:
The VIKTOR SDK: Application development is time-consuming and not the core business of many engineers, but web applications are truly an amazing asset. With the VIKTOR SDK, you can build your own Python-based web apps. The SDK takes care of the back-end, front-end, and hosting, so you can easily transform your Python scripts into any web app and start automating the boring.
The Workers: VIKTOR allows for seamless integration with other third-party software packages, such as Revit, Dynamo, ETABS, Grasshopper, and many more. The VIKTOR workers allow you to easily connect your app to these software packages by pushing and pulling data to and from them, eliminating the boring manual work. This way, you can create a whole new level of interoperability, all within a single app, making your VIKTOR app the single point of truth.
The Company environment: VIKTOR comes with a company environment, giving you the ability to provide access to users within and outside your company to use your apps. The company environment is a hub where all developed apps are stored and can be used, much like a library. To top that, end-users do not need to install any third-party tools that integrate with a VIKTOR app to be able to use them. The user management system lets you fine-tune user rights within applications (which have their own user management and database), while also providing valuable insights into app usage. This enables you to measure the adoption of the digital tools developed.
You can build any application you can imagine on the VIKTOR platform. Automating the boring tasks with ease, so engineers can fully focus on their engineering work again.
If this sounds interesting to you or your company, let's have a chat, you can reach me via: email@example.com