E&C Mythbusters: Are we really that far behind in the digital transformation journey?

Henry Jones - Global Indusry CouncilDigital transformation is disrupting industries and global economies everywhere. E&C in particular is ripe for change, generating nearly $10 trillion in revenue, or about 6% of global GDP.

We’ve all heard how the Engineering and Construction (E&C) industry is one of the least digitalized; rated second-to-last after agriculture and hunting. However, is it true that all organizations within the E&C industry are lagging, or are some companies daring to innovate and digitalize?

Many of the world’s largest E&C influencers whom we work closely with are redefining the face of construction and global innovation by embracing technology. Their leadership will help establish a bold precedent of digital transformation for the rest of the industry to follow.

Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation

Digitalizing the E&C Industry: The Global Leaders

To help motivate industry laggards to boost their game, Aconex formed the Global Industry Council (GIC).  Aconex recruited some of the world’s leading contractors to participate, including: Bechtel, Chiyoda, Lendlease, and TAV. These organizations are truly passionate about digitally transforming our industry. We partnered with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and met the GIC group several times throughout the year— either virtually or in person in Melbourne— to discuss digital transformation in the E&C industry.

Our discussions covered a range of themes, including the current state of the industry, joint ventures, alternative delivery models, and data security. The GIC members also shared with one another how each organization is addressing the digitalization challenge by providing insight and learnings through their combined years of experience. Several recurring themes surfaced throughout these sessions, including: data and process standardization, disconnected and fragmented platforms, as well as talent shortages.

One GIC participant said, “It’s refreshing to hear that all of us are impacted by the same challenges; we just have a different brand on our door.” This simple, off-the-cuff remark validated that are discussions resonated for all of our members. Regardless of the size or scale of the business, digital transformation is high on the agenda and a challenge for everyone.

Five Keys to Unlocking Engineering and Construction Performance

The findings from our meetings turned into a report: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction. The GIC team helped us identify five key roadblocks to wider technology adoption across the construction sector. Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction is a practical guide to help innovate and improve productivity by addressing common digital transformation challenges. We hope this report will help organizations build on the momentum for changes across each project, asset life cycle, and industry.

The report includes real-world case studies from reputable companies including Fluor and AECOM. These industry leaders address how they’re overcoming challenges within their own organizations by setting up Centers of Excellence (CoE) or establishing a metrics-drive approach to standardization. Our findings also include non-E&C case studies to help understand how other industries are continuing to transform their sectors.

Technological Change in the E&C Industry: The Benefits Are Clear and the Time is Now

Now is the time for the E&C industry to adopt technological change and innovation to address productivity challenges, increased risk profiles of projects, and struggles associated with time, quality, and budget. We can help champion the continued evolution of the E&C industry by doing the following: develop new skills, increase the digitally-savvy talent pool, and promote innovation across processes and business models to help evolve our industry.

Henry Jones

Henry Jones

EVP International Growth at Aconex
Henry Jones is the Executive Vice President of International Growth at Aconex, the world's leading collaborative construction and engineering management software.
Henry Jones