The Global Capital Projects Outlook reports that 96% of industry professionals are optimistic about construction growth, but the future of digital transformation depends on human-centric implementation

Drawing insight from 300 industry professionals across Europe, North America and APAC, InEight’s second annual Global Capital Projects Outlook report found that optimism for European construction growth remained high with 96% of professionals feeling very or fairly optimistic about their organisation’s growth prospects for the next year.

This is up significantly from 89% in 2021.

Issues with implementing new technology were a key frustration amongst respondents

Europe was the most digitally mature region with the highest proportion of digital strategies in place.

According to respondents, data collection, analytics and insights (67%) offer the top opportunity for growth- however almost all (91%) European respondents said that their experience of change management left room for improvement, signalling a need for a more sophisticated, human-centric approach to technology implementation.

However, European respondents fell in line with global trends, identifying uneven or sporadic implementation (52%), process and data integration issues (54%) and technical and system limitations (49%) as key frustrations.

Jake Macholtz, CEO, InEight, commented:“This is especially encouraging given the economic backdrop that organisations are operating within, and the challenges associated with digital transformation. However, it’s also the prospect of leveraging digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation that is keeping spirits high in Europe.”

92% had concerns about the future of digital transformation

When asked what benefits they hoped digital transformation could deliver in future, more automation was a top choice for over half (51%) of European respondents, although 42% were also concerned about the potential for automation to replace jobs entirely.

The Outlook found that respondents see digital technology as broadly helpful in their day-to-day roles- particularly by automating tasks to save time (49%), prioritising tasks/managing project workflow (54%) and making communication easier (55%).

Nevertheless, 92% of European respondents said they had concerns about the future of digital transformation. Insufficient investment in training was cited as the primary limiting constraint in getting more out of existing digital technologies.

Current events are impacting project delivery times but not spending or construction growth

Against the background of energy challenges, inflationary pressure, supply chain shortages, and war in Ukraine, capital project owners and contractors remain positive about the direction of the industry. Notably, European respondents reported a significant increase (+8% YoY) in construction and capital projects spending while resilience also remains comparatively high, with 94% of respondents considering their organisation to be very or fairly resilient, compared to 91% globally.

However, in a departure from last year’s Global Capital Projects Outlook, the completion of projects on time and on budget, as reported by contractors, has fallen dramatically (-16% and -8% respectively). Underlining the tenuous global operating environment, European respondents highlighted unmanaged or unexpected risk (53%) as the most influential factor on whether a project will be completed on time and to budget, followed closely by communications gaps with stakeholders (52%).

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