What is digital transformation?

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Demi-Jo Smith, May 30, 2023

In the construction industry, digital transformation is a hot topic. But what exactly is digital transformation? Sending your projectmanagers out on site with a tablet instead of a clipboard? Implementing a CDE or DMS? Making use of BIM? Spoiler alert: the answer to everything is yes, but also no. In this blog, you will read what digital transformation is and what the benefits, but also the challenges are.

Wat is digitale transformatie in de bouw? Afbeelding laat zien hoe dat in zijn werk gaat met tablets op de bouw.

What exactly is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the process by which companies review and change their business models, products and processes to reap the benefits of digital technologies. In a nutshell, it means everything companies do to move from offline to online. So this applies to all the examples above, but in concert. Implementing one digital tool is not yet digital transformation. The purpose of digital transformation is to help companies grow and adapt to changing markets and technological developments. Especially in the construction industry, with challenges such as sustainable building, the energy transition and complying with laws and regulations, it is a bitter necessity. Or actually not so very bitter, but more on that below.

What is the definition of digital transformation?

Digital transformation is not just digitising processes and documents, it goes much further than that. By critically identifying, analysing and adapting all business processes, you can make maximum use of the opportunities offered by digital technologies. Digital transformation is the path you take to an optimally digitised organisation. A business operation that makes smart use of digital technologies and automation to achieve maximum flexibility, efficiency and cost benefits.

Online collaboration platforms make it possible to share and update information quickly, leading to better cooperation between the various construction partners, both internally and externally.

From offline to online

In the construction industry, companies are often still very used to working offline. Documents are still frequently processed on paper, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. And we all know the examples of construction projects that suffered huge problems and delays because a someone started working with an old drawing. A great story for a party, but you really would rather avoid such mistakes. Switching to digital solutions makes work more efficient and reduces the chance of error. Online collaboration platforms make it possible to share and update information quickly, leading to better cooperation between the various construction partners, both internally and externally.

Digital transformation is not the same as digitisation

Many companies think they are already digitally transforming by simply digitising their processes. Unfortunately, it is a little less straightforward. Digital transformation goes far beyond digitising documents and processes. It involves redesigning business models to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies. So digital transformation is not just a stroke of automation, it is a strategic approach to help companies adapt to the construction industry anno today and beyond.

The benefits of digital transformation

The benefits of digital transformation are many. Companies that are successful in implementing digital technologies are able to:

  • Working faster and more efficiently..
  • Cut costs.
  • Make better decisions based on data analysis.
  • Collaborate better with internal and external construction partners.
  • Achieve better customer satisfaction.

Digital transformation thus offers numerous advantages. You can do more work with fewer people, you work more efficiently and thus more cheaply, construction partners can cooperate optimally, information can be found quickly and easily and you can be sure that everyone is always working with the most up-to-date information.

The biggest challenges for digital transformation

Implementing digital technologies can be challenging, especially for companies used to working in more traditional ways. The biggest challenges are:

  • Culture change: Digital transformation often requires a change in corporate culture and the way people work. This can be challenging for organisations that are used to traditional methods and where people may be resistant to change.
  • Integration of systems: The construction industry deals with many different systems, such as CAD software, project management tools and BIM software. Integrating these systems can be complex and pose technical challenges. A skilled implementation partner naturally tackles this challenge easily.
  • Data management: In construction, you work with all kinds of different data and information from many different sources, both internal and external to the organisation. Think of construction drawings, BIM files, specifications, budgets and schedules. Managing and using this data effectively is essential for digital transformation, but it can be challenging to develop a streamlined and efficient data management process.
  • Education and training: To be successful in digital transformation, your people need the right skills and knowledge to deal with new technologies. It can be challenging to incorporate this education and training into the organisation’s daily hectic schedule.
  • Security and privacy: Online data is susceptible to cyber attacks or hacks. Ensuring data security and privacy is crucial to the success of digital transformation in the construction industry. Therefore, it is important to work with a reliable partner that can ensure all security guarantees.

Having the right partner in the process is crucial.

For all these challenges, having the right partner in the process is crucial. Both choosing the right supplier of your digital solutions and your implementation partner can take a lot of work and worries off your hands. By choosing a party that is knowledgeable, easily accessible and can guarantee security, you can move quickly, easily and safely into the transformation.