An industry-wide survey is aiming to find out how much progress firms have made with their digital transformation plans and also how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their digital strategy, writes Mark Coates.
In the 1987 film Wall Street, Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko famous said: “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” A white paper by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in 2012 highlighted that more effective sharing of data within and between organisations can unlock £149bn of operational efficiencies and £66bn of new business and innovation opportunities in the UK alone.
By introducing mandatory BIM Level 2 compliance on all central government procured public projects in 2016, the UK government established legally binding requirements which are estimated to save a fifth of costs during construction and the lifetime of the asset. With the public sector accounting for 40% of construction spend, driven by central government as the largest client, the direction of travel is clear - businesses involved in construction have to digitise and if they do not, eventually they will die out.
While improving productivity, efficiency and certainty have been huge drivers in the move towards digital adoption. The arrival of Covid-19 has accelerated this process. “I have heard chief executives say they have made five years’ progress on their plans to transform in two months, “ said Nelson Phillips, professor of innovation and strategy at London’s Imperial College Business School. The much talked about ‘luxury’ of digital transformation has suddenly become essential.
In a new initiative, the Major Projects Association is partnering with Bentley Systems on a landmark study about the extent of digital transformation in major projects delivery. It should take around ten minutes to complete. The aim is to produce a ‘state of the nation’ report on going digital in construction and find out how much progress firms have made with their digital transformation plans and crucially how Covid-19 has influenced them. The survey will also identify the barriers organisations are facing to digital transformation at this pivotal time.
All those who take part in the survey will be offered a free copy of the research when it is published.
Mark Coates is director - strategic industry engagements at Bentley Systems.