Streamlining Complex Tenders: NIRAS’ Technological Leap with Microsoft Azure

Dardan Dashaj

Dardan Dashaj

Go To Market Lead - Azure

Læsetid, 4 min.

In the competitive world of engineering consultancy, standing out is crucial. NIRAS, an industry leader, has turned to Microsoft Azure OpenAI to improve their approach to extensive tender processes. With a focus on innovation and staying ahead of technological trends, NIRAS has embraced Azure’s powerful AI capabilities to automate and optimize operations, ensuring they’re not only competitive but also efficient.

“We want to stay ahead of the technological innovations and that’s why we have integrated Microsoft OpenAI into our operations. Our aim is to improve our offerings, optimize operations and create value for our customers.” Reza Matin, Project Director, NIRAS

Unveiling Efficiency Through Automation

The drive towards digitalization at NIRAS was spearheaded by the realization that to improve service delivery and operational efficiency, leveraging the latest AI technology was not just an option but a necessity. Azure’s AI tools, particularly in automating the tender writing process, have provided NIRAS with an edge, allowing them to handle large volumes of data with speed and accuracy.

“In the realm of tendering and proposals, a critical question often arises: Have we previously drafted a proposal for a specific client or topic?” Jonas Larsen, PMO Lead and Project Director at NIRAS says and continues: “To answer this, gaining a comprehensive overview of all past proposals was essential. This is where the technological process of Azure Search came into play, indexing and aggregating all our existing tenders and proposals in one accessible location.”

NIRAS moved from manually sifting through mountains of documents to a sophisticated system that identifies the most relevant data quickly, thus enhancing their decision-making process.

Optimizing the Tender Process

At NIRAS, a company of over 3,000 individuals, the focus has been on optimizing the tender writing process, particularly within the largest business segment that spends the most time on tenders. This segment, known as NIC (NIRAS International Consultants), specializes in submitting tenders for large procurement projects. Their tender process is meticulously detailed, allowing for precise identification of areas for optimization.

“We have implemented an AI solution aimed at enhancing the efficiency of NIC’s tender process. The goal is to examine the entire procedure to identify further opportunities for improvement. Suggestions from the NIC team have been considered, focusing on recruitment, large tenders, and specialized smaller tenders” Reza Matin says.

The approach varies based on the type of tender. For EU tenders, which typically follow a set framework, the system allows for the creation of tailored prompts based on this framework. This contrasts with other types of bids, which may require breaking down into smaller components without a clear framework, necessitating a more customized approach to ensure timely and effective tender submissions.

Building upon this foundation, NIRAS layered AI technologies to enable users to effortlessly locate the information they need. And the integration has also allowed NIRAS to delve deeper into more advanced functionalities. “Initially, when this journey began, AI capabilities were not as developed. However, as time progressed, so did the capabilities and functions of the AI we employed, allowing for greater reuse of the technology” Reza Matin says.

 

“Our decision to utilize Microsoft Azure OpenAI was a natural progression, as our operations were already anchored in the Azure ecosystem. This integration has significantly enhanced our ability to leverage AI’s capabilities in conjunction with other services we use.”

Jonas Larsen, PMO Lead and Project Director, NIRAS

Beyond Cost Savings: A Leap in Productivity

NIRAS emphasizes that the use of Azure goes beyond mere cost savings. It’s about aligning with the current wave of technological advancements and finding that sweet spot where technology meets business need.  

“Successful outcomes depend on crafting and sustaining the right conversations with our business partners. They need to recognize the benefits of our solutions – this is vital. With their in-depth knowledge of clients and the tendering process, they are invaluable in helping us create prompts that deliver results. Our goal is clear: to deliver value. Thus, a continuous and in-depth exchange about needs, exemplary cases, and value is vital,” Jonas Larsen notes.

Collaboration equals Innovation

Both Jonas Larsen and Reza Matin is stressing the importance of a good and close collaboration with the vendor when breaking into new territory. The journey of NIRAS began in-house, with key team members taking the initiative to navigate the then-unfamiliar territory of AI.

The partnership with Microsoft has then been pivotal in accelerating this transition. “Microsoft has been instrumental in providing continuous support and facilitating access to expert engineers for specialized queries. This direct dialogue with Microsoft has proved to be dynamic and invaluable, significantly contributing to NIRAS’S ability to stay ahead of the curve in the competitive landscape”, Reza Matin concludes.

 

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