It goes without saying that rapid changes in technology are replacing the traditional disciplines, processes and ways of working across all industries. This is even more evident in the engineering and construction space where technology is moving to the center of activities and business models due to the need for greater productivity and improved financial outcomes.
Within the engineering, consulting and professional services realm, there are several levels of use and management of this digital transformation experienced. Over the years, most firms have established some degree of understanding the importance of technology; however, in more recent years, these advancements have been even more rapidly evolving. The Think Cloud, IoT, AI and Design thinking, to name a few, are some of the developments progressing in the last decade and even more adaptive in the modern world. These present an incredible toolset for completely transforming the way in which our architects and engineers work and develop.
However, merely being informed or just having the software and platforms does not automatically equal efficiency within any business. In some instances, by the time companies learn and overhaul their technology and operational infrastructures, the developments in technology have already moved steps ahead. However, it’s not always about completely revamping the process, but incorporating new aspects of understanding and utilizing the innovative technological features to bring it all together.
Figure 1. (McKinsey 2019)
Digital Talent, Value and ROI
To take full advantage of this increasing digital landscape, not only will firms need to pay attention to the emerging new roles (Project Information Manager, BIM Manager, etc.), but also allow the evolution of current and existing roles. Once they can assess their current resources at every level, they need to ensure they have the right talent to build and execute this strategy. Existing resources will need to be adaptable (e.g., traditional engineers becoming digital engineers).
Beginning with the Project Manager all the way up the corporate hierarchy, there needs to be an owner of the digital strategy where senior leadership drives change throughout the organization within these IT programs. Due to industry resource shortages and possible limitations with existing engineers, companies may need to segment digital talent. This is to say, subdivide them into experts, change agents, digitally competent and digitally aware to guide a successful integration of the strategy more effectively as not everyone will need to be on the “cutting-edge of technology.”
Figure 2. Digital Transformation Pyramid
Digital transformation requires the investment of time and resources to support during and after implementation. When making these corporate decisions and sometimes larger purchases, a firm must consider the return on investment and analyze the cost benefit. But this isn’t always a straight-forward evaluation; it’s easier to measure qualitative aspects but may be more difficult with the quantitative metrics.
Creating a baseline is key; though it may be additional work upfront, it will be easier to assess the impact. Also, developing a measurement framework, gathering data, and sharing successes are all important
Figure 3. (McKinsey 2019)
Leveraging technology and digital transformation needs to be a priority within any AEC firm to increase their growth trajectory, boost performance, competitiveness, productivity, and shape the future of their business and the industry in general.
These changes will also increase efficiency, lower project life cycle costs, and improve time and quality. With all these benefits, it won’t be easy: it can take time to persuade change within the organization, there may be difficulties in acquiring the right talent, and there could be resistance adapting to a new digital process.
At Vee Technologies, we have value-based conversations with our clients; these have proven to establish the most effective solutions, helping to shape the business model, and fit the needs within the IT, Engineering and/or Consulting and Professional Services. We utilize our expert resources, lessons learned and best practices, to help with the transformation, promoting innovation and building a foundation for future digital enhancements.