Digitial Transformation in Construction: Post COVID

We are in the midst of a blog series looking at what construction work will look like in a post COVID-19 era. Today, let’s embark on answering the question: What will digital transformation look like in the construction industry in the next 1-3 years?
Last year, COVID-19 disrupted every nation’s economy, as countries ordered people to stay at home, businesses closed, and governments scrambled to offer financial assistance to their citizens. We have seen the rise of social and collaboration software and other remote tools. Now, as workers begin to return to the office, will we see the rise of other technologies? A number of reports point to yes.
A report from Celerity suggests 63% of leaders said COVID-19 has made their organizations embrace digital transformation sooner than they had expected and 49% indicated digital transformation was not a strategy prior to the pandemic, but it’s become one since. The report suggests three big key drivers for digital transformation today including widespread supply-chain disruption, concerns around employee engagement and productivity, and new delivery channels and business models.
As another example, Gartner suggests 72% of data and analytics leaders are leading or heavily involved in digital transformation initiatives. These leaders are prioritizing business-facing KPIs (key-performance indicators) to enhance influence and impact and they are translating data into business results.
Here is the challenge: Organizations need to recognize structural change is a requirement for successful digital transformation. This isn’t just about the technology. In fact, the analyst firm also recommends three key actions for these business leaders to succeed in today’s ever-changing world.
These three actions line up nicely with what Peggy Smedley always recommends when undergoing a technology transformation. Consider the people, process, and technology. Digital transformation won’t work if all three aren’t working in tandem. Here is what Gartner recommends:
  1. Find agents of change who can develop a shared vision that identifies connections between the organization’s analytics capabilities and desired business outcomes. (People)
  2. Build adaptive systems that deliver value today and will evolve to do the same in the future. Four technologies will enable organizations to adapt to change including: data fabric, graph technology, generative adversarial networks, and GPT-3, which is a natural language generation technique. (Technology)
  3. Reengineer decisionmaking. (Process)
So, we see here that in order to make a successful change with digital transformation, we also need to consider our people and our processes as well.
With all this in mind, what will digital transformation look like in the construction industry in the next 1-3 years? For one, it will speed up. Also, we will begin to see people develop the strategies to make this transformation a reality. Some might argue it will be a slow process—but the pandemic has sped up a lot and digital transformation certainly appears to be one of them.