As digital transformation gathers pace all around us, John Eynon of Open Water Consulting argues that it’s time to embrace the advance of technology and think about what it means for our industry
Digital transformation is perhaps a rather esoteric concept. It’s all out there, isn’t it? It’s for other people. It concerns them, their business, but in reality is all this really going to affect me in any way at all?
We are all in heads down mode, trying to make a crust, keep business as usual going, the cogs turning.
This year, you’re going to need to look up a lot more. Digital transformation? It has already happened in your life. And it will continue to gather pace and momentum this year, affecting more and more of how we live, work, make a living and, in fact, how the whole of society functions.
It’s already here
Consider a few facts.
Just look at how the iPhone, “smartphones” introduced in 2007, have changed our lives, behaviours and habits in the space of 10 years. If you don’t believe me, just look around your workplace, office, on the train, bus or Tube. How many people do you see engaging with technology? We used to just look out the window and chat!
Consider the impact of iTunes, MP3s and the like on the music industry.
Consider the impact of digital on the photography industry.
And so on.
Finally, look in your purse or your wallet. Consider those cards and the accounts and transactions they represent. No doubt you also email, use the web, text, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and the rest, and buy and transact online. Probably more from a smartphone or tablet these days.
Just think, what did we do before Google? (Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5bn searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.)
All about the data
For years now, your own personal digital footprint has been out there. It grows by the millisecond, accessible by Big Data machines analysing your habits and trends. It can’t be denied.
Last year, new trends had begun to surface: the idea of this being all about the data, and how we access it. The idea of what it means to be a data-driven industry and, as a consequence, what it means to be a data-driven business. How does that work?
Something along the lines of a construction industry equivalent of an Amazon, Uber, AirBnb or Google. Many companies are now actively exploring and developing what this actually means – new businesses, structures roles and activities.
This year you will see all of this and more. And you’re probably thinking as you read this that you’ve barely begun to think about BIM yet. Don’t worry:
it’s not too late but you’re going to need to do some catching up.
What we are seeing is just the start, even now. Technology continues advancing, only ever-more quickly, and all of these technologies will infiltrate our industry in some way, changing the way we work, improving quality, efficiency and the whole process of designing, constructing and operating built assets, buildings and infrastructure alike.
If it were me and my business, career and future at stake then I’d take more than a passing interest in this. But, of course, that’s your call.
The only thing is that this is all way past being inevitable; it is just how life is and will be. It just IS. The sooner we all get used to this and working out what it means, the better!
Here are a few things to help you on your journey:
John Eynon is a journeyman architect and design manager, BIM champ, writer, blogger, lecturer and speaker. You can catch up with him at www.zenanddm.com. He is owner/director at Open Water Consulting, providing services to industry for design management, BIM, work winning and coaching/training.
Open Water Consulting
Tel: +44 (0)7702 956 965