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Best Engineering Software 2023: From Back-Office to Front Office

Review the best engineering software for 2023 and compare pros and cons of each tool to get the right tech you need for your firm.


Whether you're a small engineering firm or a large company, you need the right software to successfully execute projects and increase productivity. For engineers, that usually calls for two types of software: back-office operations software and a program for design, development, and calculations. 

Together, this tech can improve your output and position your firm to operate as efficiently and profitably as possible. Let’s evaluate the top software for engineers by comparing popular features and pros and cons.

Best Engineering Software 2023 for Back-Office Operations

Engineering is a highly competitive industry that demands precision. Projects are complex and you’re forced to adapt to changes, constraints, and evolving client needs. Back-office operations software can help you succeed despite these challenges.

A cloud-based business solution enables your engineering firm to more effectively manage projects, staff, clients, and administrative tasks related to accounting and billing. Organized dashboards measure your performance against initial plans, track cash flow, forecast financials, and help keep all stakeholders aligned.  

With improved communication, reliable data, and streamlined workflows, you can deliver better results for clients while increasing revenue for your company and keeping employees satisfied. Here’s what you need to know about four notable software programs for back-office operations, so you can easily find the right one for your engineering firm. 

BQE CORE

Ranked as one of the best engineering software platforms, BQE CORE is a powerful project management software created by an engineer and architect specifically for project-based firms. They founded BQE Software after struggling to find an effective solution for their own projects. 

Now, BQE CORE is a popular PM platform for engineers, architects, consultants, and other service providers to prevent project issues, automate manual processes for time and money savings, and track essential metrics. In real-time, see KPIs related to your team’s performance, budget,  utilization, and profitability, all from one dashboard.

BQE CORE lets you manage complex engineering projects from bid to delivery, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. It simplifies repetitive tasks that distract from the essential parts of your business and helps you avoid bottlenecks, going over budget, missing milestones, and misallocating resources. 

Schedule a demo of BQE CORE to see how it can enable your firm to maximize revenue for better ROI on every project. 

bqe core best engineering software 2023

Features:

  • Real-time project tracking 

  • Customizable, automated reports

  • DCAA-compliant time and expense tracking 

  • Smart billing 

  • Invoicing and online payments

  • Project accounting

  • Payroll management

  • Budget tracking

  • Gantt charts

  • CRM

  • Mobile app

  • Seamless integrations with QuickBooks, Stripe, Xero, and more

Pros:

  • Manage multiple business functions in one platform

  • Real-time business intelligence 

  • Highly customizable

  • Time-saving templates for projects, proposals, and invoices

  • Simplifies timesheets and expenses 

  • Automates repetitive manual tasks

  • Reduces costly, time-consuming errors and duplicate work

  • Proactively identifies project improvements

  • Replaces spreadsheets

  • User-friendly interface

  • Works on mobile and desktop

  • 24/7 customer support 

  • Integrates with tools your firm already uses

Cons:

  • The number of features, reports, and customizations may initially overwhelm users who want to take advantage of everything. Fortunately, BQE offers award-winning support and training, making getting to know BQE CORE easy.

BigTime

BigTime is Professional Services Automation software geared toward engineers, architects, accountants, and consultants to allow them to build better processes for project management, time tracking, and billing and invoicing. It claims to streamline everything from winning new business to managing deliverables and analyzing results. Its goal is to help you make the most of your firm’s valuable time and eliminate many project pain points.

Features: 

  • Time and expense tracking

  • Customizable invoices

  • Metrics dashboards and reporting

  • Resource planning

  • Projected budgets vs. actual hours comparison

  • Skills matching

  • Project planning board

  • Integrations with popular software

Pros:

  • Standardizes processes

  • Automates routine tasks

  • Improves resource and staff allocation

  • Shares real-time analytics 

Cons:

  • Confusing custom reporting process

  • Limited number of customizable fields

  • Clunky mobile version

  • Doesn’t allow you to delete irrelevant fields 

  • Invoicing features don’t work for every project type

  • Difficult import process from QuickBooks

  • Requires you to manually fill in client information every time

Deltek

Deltek provides project-focused software for engineering and architecture firms. It offers multiple solutions, including Deltek Vantagepoint and Deltek Ajera, with project, pipeline, and resource management features. Both programs can help engineering firms keep projects on track, on time, and on budget, so you find success by increasing profitability, streamlining cash flow, and making better business decisions faster.

 

bqe core deltek best engineering software 2023

Features: 

  • Milestone and deadline tracking

  • Staff utilization

  • Capacity forecasting

  • Project performance data

  • Interactive billing

  • Cash management

  • Role-specific reports and dashboards

Pros:

  • Provides 360-degree project view

  • Strong accounting and invoicing features

  • Allows you to add custom fields

  • Easily correct timesheet errors

Cons:

  • Software bugs and glitches

  • Cumbersome reporting 

  • Steep learning curve

  • Doesn’t include revenue forecasting

  • Lacks timesheet checks and balances

  • Fewer integrations than similar platforms

NetSuite

NetSuite is a business management solution that’s widely recognized as the first cloud computing software. More than 20 years later, NetSuite offers project management capabilities that help organizations proactively identify and prevent issues, stay organized, and deliver successful projects for greater client satisfaction. It wasn’t built with engineers in mind, and includes some ecommerce and sales features that likely aren’t relevant to your firm. 

Features: 

  • Reusable project templates 

  • Project dashboards 

  • CRM 

  • Budgeting

  • Timesheets 

  • B2C and B2B ecommerce

  • Order management

  • Mobile time and expense tracking 

Pros:

  • Real-time KPIs and project status 

  • Automated project templates replace manual setup 

  • Records project issues at the task level

  • Automatically applies time and expenses to projects

Cons:

  • Expensive

  • Not ideal for smaller firms

  • Outdated dashboard design

  • Overwhelming feature set 

  • Not built for engineering firms

  • Poor product support 

Best Engineering Software 2023 for Front-Office Projects

Technical engineering projects require design and mathematical software with advanced features for developing ideas, creating blueprints and schematics, verifying feasibility, and sharing intent with collaborators.

The right tools for your firm’s client-facing projects allow you to more easily concept and share your work, adjust and improve it quickly, and correct any errors along the way. From 2D drawing and 3D visualization to simulating and validating your work, engineering-specific software helps you streamline, problem-solve, and boost efficiency.

MATLAB

MATLAB is a popular engineering design tool that lets you visualize, simulate, and test your work. It’s considered a top technical modeling software for validating designs using physical models and analyzing the data. Used by millions of engineers worldwide, MATLAB is an excellent resource for bringing ideas to life and delivering value to clients faster, thanks to a more efficient development cycle. 

 

bqe core matlab best engineering software 2023

 

Features: 

  • 2D drawing 

  • 3D imaging 

  • Customizable dashboard 

  • Data management 

  • Statistical analysis and simulation 

  • Reporting and statistics 

  • Graphical data presentation 

  • Multi-domain modeling 

  • Real-time prototyping

Pros: 

  • Validates design with physical models

  • Simplifies analysis and testing

  • Enables quick iteration through model updates and simulation

  • Lets you isolate individual components in models

  • Visualizes progress to stakeholders through automated, shared reports 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 

  • Slow responsiveness

  • Uses significant computer memory to run simulations

  • Not intuitive for first-time users

Python

Python is a ubiquitous programming language for software development, machine learning, design, and analytics. It’s gaining popularity for developing graphic design applications, including 2D imaging and 3D animation. 

Python is seen as an alternative to MATLAB, with Python boasting nearly twice as many users as MATLAB. Compared to MATLAB, Python offers more features, is open source (anyone can contribute to new features), and best of all, it's free.

Features:

  • Open source

  • Diverse set of packages and modules

  • Platform independence

  • High-level language

Pros:

  • Free

  • Versatile

  • Easily to download and modify the source code

  • Allows you to build prototypes quicker

  • Constantly introduces new features 

  • Gaining popularity 

Cons:

  • Slower than other programming tools

  • Requires extra effort to use on mobile

  • High memory usage

  • Not easy to test

Rhino

Rhino is computer-aided design software with a stellar reputation for its 3D modeling capabilities. It allows engineers and architects to rapidly prototype and develop complex models, and then analyze, simulate, and finalize designs for production. 

Rhino is a robust free-form surface modeler that uses NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational Basis Spline) geometry. This creates the most accurate modeling technique and makes Rhino more flexible and precise than other programs. 

 

bqe core rhino best engineering software 2023

Features:

  • 3D modeling

  • Model creation tools, including lines, curves, surfaces, solids, and meshes

  • Construction aids

  • Real-time rendering

  • 2D drawings

  • Digital fabrication

  • 3D capture

Pros:

  • Helps create even the most complex models

  • Simple import and export to other software

  • Users report great cost-benefit

Cons:

  • Sharp learning curve

  • Large files are slow to save

  • Other software is more optimized for 2D drawing

  • Complicated UI

Mathcad

Mathcad is an engineering calculation tool that helps firms solve problems and standardize their processes. It's equipped to handle everything from the simplest equations to complicated, multi-step engineering analysis, allowing you to save time and avoid errors in every calculation. With Mathcad, you can easily document the design process and analyze your engineering projects and data in a repeatable way.

Features:

  • Calculations transparency

  • 700+ built-in functions for more advanced calculations

  • 3D visualization

  • Content protection

  • Engineering process templates

  • ​​Comprehensive documentation

Pros:

  • Saves time and prevents errors in calculations

  • Integrates seamlessly with CAD solutions

  • Intuitive user interface

Cons:

  • Limited functionality for 3D visualization of data

  • Lacks automatic equation solving

  • Not as popular as tools like MATLAB

BQE CORE Project Management Software for Engineers

Project management software allows your engineering firm to efficiently execute high-quality deliverables, streamline communication with clients and colleagues, and run a more profitable business. 

BQE CORE was built for engineers, architects, consultants, and more in the professional service industry to completely transform your day-to-day processes. It adds automation, accuracy, and ease to your project management, accounting, time and expense tracking, invoicing, analytics, and more.

BQE CORE has everything you need to plan resources, budgets, and timelines for more successful projects. Get easy access to real-time metrics and project updates that help improve your productivity and profitability.

Schedule your free BQE CORE demo today to get started simplifying your operations and driving more revenue. 

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