Jon Frost of BWB Consulting explains the importance of consultancy businesses’ approach to data and technology flowing directly from corporate strategy, in the first of a new series of blogs which cut through the hype on digital transformation.
CE’s Digital Transformation group have identified five principles to make a success of digital.
The first, and most important point, is that your approach must flow from your corporate strategy. Digital transformation should never be about technology as an end in itself, it should always be about helping you get to where you want to be as a business.
So the starting point on any digital transformation journey is to go back to the basic questions – How do you want to engage and be engaged by your clients? What value do you want to deliver to them? How do you plan to deliver it? At specific stages of the asset lifecycle, or perhaps all of them? Only when you are clear on these questions and you know your way forward is it worth investing time in developing the capability to use data and insights to get you there.
BWB is an integrated, multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental design consultancy. We’ve built our reputation around technical excellence and achieving exceptional levels of client satisfaction.
The pressure to get serious about digital transformation has come from multiple sources. Over recent years our clients, both public and private, have come to us with increasingly complex and challenging projects. In parallel, in 2017 BWB became part of the CAF Group, a global transport engineering business. This opened up a new pool of resource and expertise to support our existing technology-heavy work in areas like smart cities.
Only when you are clear on these questions and you know your way forward is it worth investing time in developing the capability to use data and insights to get you there. Jon Frost
Therefore, digital transformation at BWB is driven by our corporate strategic response to some of the very basic questions I laid out at the start of this blog. We know we want to be engaged as trusted, whole life advisors to our clients. We also know that we’ll do that by expanding our service offerings to encompass the entire lifecycle of their projects – and that we’ll execute the strategy through a continually evolving digitally led service delivery model.
Flowing from these answers we’ve created a digital transformation strategy with two core objectives:
- To expand BWB services across the entire lifecycle of our clients’ projects and, furthermore, evolve those services to meet the growing demand from clients for innovative digital solutions.
- To optimise day-to-day operational processes by automating them where possible to improve their speed, reliability and general efficiency, whilst simultaneously improving the digital competency and skills of our people.
Executing the BWB digital transformation strategy
The execution of this strategy is led by Deetu, our digital technology and innovation hub. Deetu coordinate special interest groups from across the business. These groups are tasked with understanding how data and technology development will meet client needs and improve the services we provide. They also focus on improving our productivity and ultimately the profitability of the business.
We are also investing in strengthening the digital skills and capability of our people. This includes a cadre of data apprentices, mentored by Deetu, to work alongside BWB's delivery teams to further develop and embed digital skills across our entire business.
It is worth mentioning here that Deetu operates as a separate company with its own distinctive brand. This has given us the capacity and capability to develop new services such as our “digital first” stakeholder engagement and consultation platform, Engage.
So many opportunities, so little time!
Perhaps our biggest challenge has been something that you might think is a nice problem to have!
With four operating groups, 11 specialist disciplines, and 70 different services the breadth of experience and skill across the BWB group, like many multi-disciplinary consultancies, is vast.
All of these highly skilled and creative people are not slow in identifying digital transformation opportunities and challenges. Understanding “which horse to back” has become a significant issue in its own right.
If you are serious about a digital innovation you need to be able to cut through the noise and make a clear-headed assessment of which initiatives are going to deliver most value to the business.
Fundamentally, it is vital to make informed decisions about when and where to deploy a finite digital transformation resource.
We’ve tackled this by developing a framework to rapidly assess the viability of digital transformation initiatives, decide if we should invest effort into an idea, or just as importantly if we need to shelve it for another day or, indeed, consign it to the bin!
The campaign, Cutting Through the Hype runs over the summer of 2021 and is led by ACE's digital transformation group. This blog is the first of a series of five exploring digital transformation. Download your copy of the report below.