Digital Transformation: Five Challenges Preventing Modernization in E&C

E&C professionals discussing digital transformation.

In the Fall of 2017, Aconex gathered nine high-profile UK construction professionals working at leading organizations— including Skanska and Atkins— to discuss how we can embrace digital transformation in engineering and construction (E&C).

The meeting was held at Building Magazine’s headquarters in London— the #1 leading construction publication in the United Kingdom.

Round table attendees included:

  • Skanska: Malcolm Stagg, Director of BIM & Digital Engineering
  • Atkins: Neil Thompson, Head of Digital Transformation
  • Peter Trebilcock, Consultant Architect
  • Wates: Lucy Abbott, BIM Director
  • Sir Robert McAlpine: Nick Leach, BIM Manager
  • BAM Nuttall Limited: Ivor Barbrook, Head of Planning and Digital Construction
  • Allies & Morrison: Jo Bacon, Partner
  • Allies & Morrison: Matt Olsen, BIM Lead
  • Oracle’s Aconex: Steve Cooper, General Manager, UK&I

The attendees spent several hours discussing the top five challenges identified by the Global Industry Council that are delaying digital transformation within E&C:

Incorporating digital technology in the workplace

The group discussed the industry’s progress towards incorporating digital technologies. Everyone agreed that the five challenges are interconnected— and that the biggest block to digital transformation is influencing a work culture to change.

The construction industry historically hasn’t understood the immediate reward to updating their technology, but, that’s about to shift.

The UK’s perception of digital technology and construction

The round table participants discussed how innovation is still considered relatively risky to an industry widely perceived as traditional and safe in the UK. Adopting digital technology and processes isn’t just about efficiency— digital transformation is also about “de-risking” projects across the board.

BIM-savviness

BIM was also a major topic of conversation. BIM-savvy employees are beginning to move up the ranks to leadership positions, prompting an emphasis on technology.

“BIM is an evolution; not a revolution. It’s about getting a leaner business process,” said Malcom Stagg, Director of BIM and Digital Engineering at Skanska.

Educating the entire supply chain: Neil Thompson, Head of Digital Transformation at Atkins, added, “We should be educating the market; not just the executive level. If we want to support digitisation, we need a tactical plan and actions to encourage adoption of the full supply chain.“

Check out highlights from the roundtable discussion here.  

Natacha Raveendran

Natacha Raveendran

Marketing Manager, UK & Ireland at Oracle's Aconex
Natacha Raveendran is the Marketing Manager for UK & Ireland at Oracle's Aconex, a leading collaborative construction and engineering management software
Natacha Raveendran