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Digitalisation: We know it, but we’re not doing it

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Only a few industries have completely changed through digitalisation. In the majority of industries, digitalisation has only scraped the surface of what real change could bring. Many of these industries are still working with Excel spreadsheets, often enter data manually and have low-quality datasets. 

In recent years, however, new tools and technologies have proven their potential impact and economic viability. Examples of this are a tender platform for the construction industry, a comprehensive database specific to one sector, and the ability to share everything with different companies in the cloud. It is ideal for an invitation to tender which is accompanied by substantial documentation.

The construction industry still has to start the digitalisation process, says Bart ter Steege on the Dutch online platform Frankwatching. He provides three reasons for this:
1. The enormous economic size of the sector, which remains relatively untouched by digitalisation. The global construction industry is expected to grow to as much as 15.5 trillion dollars by 2030.

2. The industry must adapt to urgent new demands in the areas of sustainability, personalisation and speed. digitalisation is then a bit of an afterthought.

3. The industry has a lot of room for improvement. Construction projects, for example, are notoriously non-transparent, with 80% of the major projects missing deadlines and a similar percentage exceeding the budget. This is primarily due to the complexity, long interdependent value chains and a process essentially lacking the flexibility to respond to changes.

The considerable demand for sustainability and the need to make more efficient use of limited space will lead to further digitalisation. Not only with regards to buildings themselves but also concerning how the industry collaborates, and designs and constructs buildings. That is why we believe the construction industry will witness a number of major changes over the next decade as a result of digitalisation. But it really needs to take place. And you can help to realise it. Digitise your business, research what suits your working method and make sure you are one of the market leaders of digitalisation in the construction industry.

Where is the construction industry at present?

The construction industry is one of the largest sectors in the world, employing over 100 million people. A report from the Committee for European Construction Equipment, however, points out that the construction industry continues to be the least digitised sector. In 2017, only 7.7% of construction companies had a high or very high level of ‘digital intensity’, which measures the availability of 12 different digital technologies in a company. 

The construction industry is becoming increasingly more digital, but according to experts can still make enormous strides forward. This is possible because many opportunities exist for improving productivity in the sector through digitalisation and standardisation. Similar sectors such as wholesale and real estate are currently further along in the digitalisation process, which provides an opportunity for the construction industry to reap the benefits.
Technological developments and various supporting software suites are becoming increasingly accessible. Companies have therefore started to digitise their daily work, together with the associated processes. This starts with the use of digital tools, such as exploring BIM software and the use of a tender platform.

Screenshot 4 300x138 - Digitalisation: We know it, but we're not doing it

Behaviour, Digitised non-believer, Moderately digitised non-believer, Straggler

Attitude, Champion, Moderately digitised supporter, Non-digitised supporter

Individual components have been digitised in the construction industry, but software and processes are still poorly integrated. Some companies already use specific software, but in the majority of cases this still needs to be integrated to enable applications to communicate with each other. This means that you still need to enter everything manually. This is partly because most of the contractors do not have established policies in the area of digitalisation and start by buying individual software suites that impact directly on the daily business. Those companies that do have established policies are usually the larger companies. Many companies do have proposals for implementing digitalisation. However, they are mainly concerned with issues such as achieving sufficient margins, organising their business processes more efficiently and the recruitment and departure of employees.

When it comes to organising business processes more efficiently, ensure that the various software suites can be easily interconnected. This will guarantee that all the programs you use will work together seamlessly. The best software tools have various OpenAPI interfaces enabling interoperability with other tools.

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