What is the Digital Ecosystem, and Why it’s Crucial to the E & C Industry

digital-ecosystem-constructionCloud-based technology: the foundation for collaboration

Ten years ago, Steve Jobs revolutionized how we communicate with each other by introducing the iPhone. Jobs also opened up an entirely new industry: apps. We can’t imagine our life today without these handy apps – whether you’re locating an Uber driver, buying something handy on Amazon, or just checking the weather —  our lives have become infinitely easier thanks to apps.

But not everyone knows that the app ecosystem also extends to businesses. Technology is radically transforming traditional business partnerships into the building blocks for digital ecosystems. As the construction industry shifts towards adopting digital platforms, cloud businesses must quickly develop strong partnerships to prepare for a rapidly growing network of collaborating ecosystems.

What’s a digital ecosystem, anyway?

The global consulting company Accenture defines ecosystem as “a company’s competitiveness network: an increasingly global, multi-industry of partners (suppliers, institutions, customers) and stakeholders through which business problems are solved.” For example, when the Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba Group went public in 2014 –the largest IPO in history – the word “ecosystem” appeared in its prospectus an astonishing 160 times.

However, with digital ecosystems, platforms can include additional functionalities they ordinarily couldn’t provide their customers. Platforms offer one single source of truth with up-to-date information no matter what system it originates from. No manual data syncs between separate systems also eliminates double data handling and unnecessary errors.

Let’s collaborate! The E&C industry and a single source of truth

The engineering and construction (E&C) industry may be late to the game in digitizing and adopting new technology, but, the pace is rapidly accelerating. Today’s larger construction projects are producing vast amounts of data dispersed across disconnected platforms. Manually synching data between systems includes multiple touches, increased errors, scattered decision-making, and greater risk. The industry is beginning to take note that reliable project data simply can’t exist without a single source of truth.

E&C companies are beginning to integrate their supply chains by moving their project operations to the cloud. They’re seeking open, flexible, collaborative platform providers who can complement their ecosystems while project data flows seamlessly into a single, central location.

Digitization: a need for speed

Earlier this year, leading global E&C organizations met in Melbourne, Australia to discuss digitization challenges. Attendees unanimously preferred open ecosystems instead of bolted-on point solutions because ecosystems are faster and more interoperable. Integrated open platforms also give providers the chance to share new features automatically with customers, effectively boosting providers’ target audience. Thanks to multi-channel integration, providers can also build their ecosystems more quickly.

The streamlined performance of open platforms is particularly important for the construction industry. Specifically, the open, interoperable BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) plays a critical role in the construction industry by offering smoother workflows and communication between project teams on an open ecosystem.

Aconex: the nexus of the E&C ecosystem

Managing project information from a common data environment (CDE) is a necessity within the E&C industry to ensure projects stay on track. Many organizations are now connecting existing systems and streamlining their flow of information across the value chain; both upstream and downstream. Open ecosystems offer a secure, flexible and collaborative platform to help users manage their data flow from a single source of truth.

The industry’s leading digital project delivery platform, Aconex is at the heart of the E&C ecosystem. Automated data syncs between the Aconex cloud platform and other systems reduces duplicate entries, prevents errors, and saves precious time. Aconex also increases construction companies’ ROI by offering a complete view of the entire project access to all system data with real-time information and insights, providing faster and more informed decision-making.

While the construction industry transitions from disjointed legacy solutions to reliable, collaborative digital platforms, cloud businesses better begin preparing for this technological industry shift by making friends with business partners fast.

To learn more about how our collaboration solution drives the world’s leading projects we invite you to view a three-minute video of Aconex project management software.

Further Reading

Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper

General Manager UK & Ireland at Aconex
Steve Cooper is General Manager UK & Ireland at Aconex, the world's leading collaborative construction and engineering management software.
Steve Cooper