Why cultivating digital talent is paramount to E&C success

E&C digital talent working on computers.

Last week we discussed how defining a digital strategy within your organization helps bolster technical transformation. This week, we’ll address how uniting digital talent with simplified processes can significantly help bolster your organization’s output.

We explore this challenge in closer detail in a recent report called ‘Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering’, authored by Aconex and The Boston Consulting Group.

Digital technology helps deliver projects on-time and on-budget by:

1) optimising industry productivity

2) improving quality

3) and underpinning safety.

Organisations can harness the immense potential of digital transformation by uniting empowered employees with simplified and streamlined processes.

 

Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation

 

Simplifying your processes with rationalisation and standardisation

Rationalisation and standardisation are two of the most important approaches to simplifying your processes. To inspire an entire organization comprised of “mini businesses”/projects to adopt to a new way of working, your existing processes should make your project teams’ lives easier—otherwise, it’s pointless.

My definition of ‘simple’ is not one hundred different systems doing similar things in slightly different ways. Project people do crave a simplified approach, but they also desire to access “what’s cool” in digital tech land.

For example, during project team meetings I’ve watched the following scenario occur numerous times:

Person A suggests: “We should be on the cutting-edge of super-savvy technologies and have many tools at our disposal to pick and choose from.”

Person B retorts: “We need to simplify and revert to using just one system instead of many.”

While this scenario reveals quite polarising ends of the spectrum, both people are right. Each scenario requires implementing sound underpinnings for growth. For Person A, super-savvy technologies and the “cool factor” need the correct foundations. 

If users want to try building information modelling (BIM), they’ll need a single digital 3D design solution with the correct standards and libraries to support the level of detail and governance the entire ecosystem requires. BIM standards must also align with the various consultants, supply chain, and trades involved on the project.

A BIM solution must also communicate with the planning and cost planning systems governed under the same standards. The digital asset created in BIM must also respond to asset management/facilities management requirements defined by the asset manager.

The power of streamlined processes

Once this simplified baseline foundation is in place—including the right standards and governance to support various stakeholders playing in the ecosystem—the “cool factor” can happen.

Simplified processes are the launching point to including fancy add-ons and ideas built off your solid rationalised and standardised baseline. The opportunity to innovate can truly expand once an integrated and well-governed ecosystem of core technology enablers are in place.

The challenge to building digital talent

There’s no point to considering innovation if you don’t have digitally skilled, enabled, and empowered people within your organization. At Lendlease, we’re focused on developing the construction tech equivalent of a Hugh Jackman ‘triple threat’ (singing, dancing, acting): a combination of technical super nerd, influential engineer who lives to build stuff, and change agent—effectively EQ and IQ wrapped up in equal parts.

Shadow IT: Teaching colleagues how to apply IT

A smart Lendlease Building Senior Design Manager explained this concept brilliantly using an IT example – he called it ‘Shadow IT’. If you want people to use IT (or tech), you must show them. I don’t mean do it for them; I mean show them. You need to become a trusted and respected part of the team, but, you also must really know how to apply IT.

When your colleague is using Excel (instead of a more modern solution) to update the status of their project, you pick up a mobile device—which conveniently has a digitised version of program status-checking using a 3D model, and demonstrate how to use technology (saving your colleague hours of needless Excel time). That’s Shadow IT.

The intersection of simple processes and digitally-talented people

Help your team appreciate the ‘why’ behind digital transformation. Tech-savvy ambassadors within your business who can convert sceptical, pressured, and time-poor project managers to adopting and applying digital technology are worth their weight in gold.

Such ‘triple threats’ (super nerd, influential engineer, change agent) spark the imagination of others and motivate teams to educate themselves; the pivotal juncture for digital transformation to truly gain momentum across an organization.

The magic happens at the intersection of elegantly simple processes, and digitally-talented people.

For further reading on the future of construction tech, go to our Lendlease blog Better Places.

To read the ‘Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering’ click here.

Watch the webinar: Five Steps to Digital Transformation.

Kate Nelson

Kate Nelson

Head of Technology and Innovation Building at Lendlease
Kate Nelson

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