By 2025, an astronomical $78tn is expected to be spent on global infrastructure investments.
While this sounds like good news for the construction, engineering and operations industry, many companies are plagued by issues such as increasing competition, labour shortages, high operating costs and supply chain fragmentation, which is stunting growth and the ability to cope with increased demand.
Leading firms are planning ahead, even though the industry as a whole has sometimes been regarded as slow to adopt new processes and technologies.
As long-term asset construction projects and facility management contracts come to an end, there will be those companies prepared for the new digitised era and those that may struggle to keep up.
M&A market emerges
Moveover, the market is lined up for robust M&A activity as the stronger, tech-led players intensify their hold on the market, with companies buying upstream and downstream partners to broaden their offerings.
It is likely that we shall start to see the emergence of super contractors offering services from the design stage to the actual build, right through to operational management.
To remain competitive in the digital construction era, the adoption of technologies that break down the traditional silos of design, engineering, construction and operations is crucial, making way for more collaborative and efficient ways of working.
“The market is lined up for robust M&A activity as the stronger, tech-led players buy upstream and downstream partners to broaden their offerings”
The key technology enablers for this transformation are building information modelling, the internet of things and big data.
By collecting and analysing structural data on one platform, companies can manage the complete end-to-end lifecycle of a building, opening up new opportunities for organisations to streamline efficiencies, improve operations, offer additional services and – importantly – remain competitive.
For example, BIM data can be used to optimise energy consumption of offices, support predictive maintenance, and be fed back to designers for future projects.
Investing in new technologies is not enough, however. Firms need to ensure they have the ability not only to integrate innovations but also encourage employee adoption to make them truly effective.
They should not just look inside their organisation; forward-thinking companies will also share this data between a myriad of stakeholders.
“Firms should look to adopt smarter technologies and better process models”
These include engineers, building companies, contractors and also third-party organisations such as insurance companies and government bodies to improve operations across the entire value chain.
With the construction industry ripe for significant digital disruption, failure to adopt new technologies will put many companies at a disadvantage.
Firms should look to adopt smarter technologies and better process models now to enhance productivity and increase their market share.
Joe Campbell is the senior director of engineering construction and operations at Cognizant