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article imageReport: Cultural factors hampering construction digitialization

By Tim Sandle     Jul 18, 2019 in Business
A new report finds that while the construction industry is making progress with digital transformation, especially being an early adopter of AI, the DX journey is hampered by cultural factors.
Despite some big strides, cultural change remains barrier to the construction industry fully embracing technological change, according to a new report by Zen Internet. This key finding is based on a poll of around one hundred IT decision-makers from across different parts of the construction industry.
The report is titled "Bricks, Mortar and Digital Transformation" and the other key finding relates to the strong push towards the use of artificial intelligence. With AI adoption, the report finds that just over half (55% percent) of large construction firms, and just under one third (28 percent) of smaller organizations have put in place some form of artificial intelligence.
Technology trends for construction in 2020 and beyond
The survey also questioned construction IT leaders as to which types of technology they thought would be necessary over the next few years. The results of this question revealed that virtual reality was the top contender, at 28 percent. This was followed by cloud computing (24 percent), software-defined networking (20 percent), blockchain (19 percent) and Internet of Things (17 percent). Each of these is positioned as necessary to the future development of the sector, especially with larger firms.
As to what construction companies wanted to achieve from digital transformation, they cited more streamlined processes, improved operational efficiency. improved collaboration, and better mobility.
Crane in the King s Cross areaa of London  U.K.
Crane in the King's Cross areaa of London, U.K.
Cultural barriers
Yet cultural issues - centered on a resistance to change - is the main obstacle towards realizing these goals. The survey found that around half (51 percent) of construction firms identified cultural change as a barrier when implementing any type of digital transformation project. Companies also cited issues with communicating the value of digital transformation to employees as a related factor that could hamper progress. A weakness was identified as the top-down approach, from the C-Suite, which is often essential driving change in any business or industry, wasn't always working.
This needs to be overcome, especially in the highly competitive arena of construction. An earlier report, applicable to the U.K., titled ‘Modernize or Die’, warned that failure to innovate poses a serious threat to the construction sector, particularly for those companies that lag behind.
Speaking with BIM Today, James Albiges, general manager of network and communications at Zen, noted how the cultural barriers can be broken down: “Initiatives such as training and upskilling will help tackle cultural change from within a business. This coupled with clear objectives and a formulated strategy will go a long way in making your digital transformation project a success.”
More about digital transformation, Construction, Culture, Artificial intelligence
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