As engineering and construction (E&C) companies increasingly turn their attention to digital, one of the most pressing questions is “How?”
How should E&C companies be adapting in order to integrate digital technology in their businesses?
There’s no neat, single answer to this question – every company is different and the industry itself is known for its complexity – but here are three crucial considerations for E&C companies that want to get serious about digital:
1. Digital strategy
“While technology can certainly assist you in hitting your targets by helping organise processes, integrate systems, allow for better communication, identify efficiencies, boost productivity, cut costs and more, it’s not as simple as adopting a basket of one-off technologies and then the problem is solved. To go from current state to totally transformed (no one is there yet), many factors will come into play but, without question, you cannot get there without a well-planned strategy.”
This observation comes from EY’s 2018 report, How are engineering and construction companies adapting digital to their businesses?, which surveyed companies in the E&C value chain. Of the respondents, 98% agreed that digital solutions will be critical to the future viability of their company, but only a quarter of them claimed to have a digital strategy and agenda in place – and of those, many still felt that they weren’t highly prepared for a digital future.
What emerges from these findings is that there is still a long way to go for many companies in terms of embedding digital into their strategic approach. Those who do so successfully will have a competitive advantage.
EY also suggests that a paradigm shift is necessary around the nature of digital generally:
“In reality, there is no end to learning and preparation; all digital strategies must have flexibility incorporated into the design to help ensure their ability to adapt to a rapidly changing future. Essentially there is no ‘there’ to get to — the target continues to move.”
2. Digital transformation
Leadership and talent
Fostering curiosity towards new technologies and openness to change is crucial for E&C companies. Transformational leaders need to embrace and model this receptiveness within the organisation.
The next task is to either train up existing employees or hire new recruits to fill gaps in talent and execute the digital strategy – companies should choose which option is best for them.
Part of an organisation’s cultural transformation should be developing its willingness to innovate. EY found that 63% of respondents feel that digital innovation is very likely to transform their business but 67% of respondents are spending less than 1% on research and development (R&D) in digital as a percentage of turnover.
Ramping up R&D within organisations should be a priority in any digital strategy. This requires building in time for project managers to research and trial new technology. Companies that fail to capitalise on the digital opportunities available now and don’t invest in ongoing innovation risk being left behind by their competition.
3. Digital tools and systems
Gathering reliable data and getting value from it relies on the integration of multiple systems.
Duplication, fragmentation and confusion are common side effects of having systems that don’t speak to each other. Conversely, notes EY’s report, “connectivity and interoperability of systems allow for streamlined processes, often flowing through one communication channel and back to multiple stakeholders to allow for real-time information sharing and producing actionable information for decision-making”.
At sitemobi, we recognise that the major concerns of E&C companies are likely to remain centered on risk management, cost management, safety and time management.
We envision a future where E&C projects run more efficiently, safely and profitably, and we continually hone our software and support its users in their digital journey.
Our fully integrated, cloud-based software streamlines:
- daily operational performance tracking
- live cost tracking and forecasting
- document management
- quality control applications
- contract management
- safety and environment monitoring.
Talk to us today to find out how we can help your company go digital.