The IU and construction industry transformation imperatives in the near future

To adapt to challenges like urbanization and climate change, IU sector needs innovative tools, talent, and digitalization for future readiness.

The world is rapidly changing, and everything can only work best for those who change. There are so many challenges that are confronting people daily. These challenges include climate change, resource scarcity and urbanisation. This is why sectors such as the Infrastructure and Urban Development (IU) industry must develop innovative ways to fight off some of these challenges. This is where tools such as construction estimate software can play a role.

Why do you need construction management software or, for that matter, any other software for construction in this era? The answer is simple: To keep up with the increased demand for sustainable housing and infrastructure. For instance, there are about 200,000 people worldwide who migrate to urban centres each day. This article will outline what the IU and Development industry and related organisations need to do to prepare for a prosperous future.

Enable the organisation

A successful organisation does everything possible to remain relevant and keep up with changing trends. An organisation that wants to prepare for the future should equip itself with every available tool to manage its operations. This might include and is not limited to enabling adaptiveness, change management, and finding and retaining talent with the required skills. An organisation can also pursue new opportunities and forge collaborations. But how do organisations achieve this?

One sure way is by attracting new talent and building the required skills. The IU sector has lagged in innovation and productivity. To address this, the World Economic Forum created the Shaping the Future of Construction initiative. The aim was to devise future scenarios that would help IU companies understand and respond to the changing trends in construction. One key aspect is that knowledge of construction software is paramount.

Organisations must implement mechanisms to attract new talent and retain their existing workforce. IU companies need to expand the areas they source talent from and establish continuous learning pathways. This requires looking beyond the known and traditional sources of talent. For example, women are a relatively untapped source of new talent. For the jobs to be more attractive, companies need to adopt new technologies.

Enable change management and adaptiveness

Due to the rapid changes in the IU industry, companies must enable adaptiveness and change management. This involves adapting to new realities and acting quickly when changes occur. Although the IU industry has shown slight changes in the past, companies have still held onto the old ways of doing things. For instance, adopting robust software systems, such as construction software, can enable organisations to build rapidly in a virtual world.

Nothing will happen unless organisations take the actions required to enable adaptiveness and change management. A significant step would be for IU companies to embrace flexible organisational structures, agile working methods and comprehensive change-management programmes. A company that resists change might find it challenging to respond to evolving environments. Individuals must be shown how the change benefits their careers and jobs so that they accept new skills. Understanding new project management software for construction can be helpful.

Sometimes, companies that institute changes to address the evolving industry often go wrong by ignoring crucial cultural and human components. For instance, to deal with any possible employee resistance to change, that change must be comprehensive and inclusive. Change programmes should share their value with employees and reveal the risks they might face if the change is not enacted. Organisations can also find high-profile role models to reward employees and promote new work habits.

Digitalize processes

Companies in the IU industry can’t evade the digitalisation of key processes. The first step they can take is to maximise the use of data and digital models. Some companies are already adopting processes such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), and this is expected to grow even more in the future. However, most BIM applications only cover engineering, design and construction activities and don’t change much of the maintenance and operation processes.

Likewise, many BIM applications don’t function as a comprehensive application over an asset’s life. There is, therefore, the need to carry out a significant revision of BIM models. Since IU stakeholders need access to data, they need new technologies and applied digital models. An excellent example of this new technology is the construction management software that can help with project data. IU companies can benefit further from their data by selling it.

Since many processes in the future are likely to be automated, it will be impossible to do business without having access to interoperable data. Digital models are critical in manufacturing modules and documenting asset wear to schedule maintenance and order replacements. To implement digital models and showcase their importance, IU organisations must employ complementary technologies, develop sustainable use cases and prove that digital models provide sustainable solutions.

Pros and cons of digitalising processes in the IU industry

Pros of management software for construction

  • Makes your business competitive
  • Makes employees more productive
  • Allows an organisation to offer a good customer experience

Cons of management software for construction

  • Effective implementation of new digital technology takes time
  • It causes uncertainty for employees

Adopt advanced technologies at scale

Another important way to digitalise processes is to adopt advanced technologies at scale. It is the duty of the IU industry to accelerate technology adoption. However, the IU sector has been slow to adopt new technologies. The future of construction will likely involve new technologies such as AI programs and construction and maintenance robots. New technologies will also play a significant role in innovating low-weight and high-strength materials.

IU-related companies must take several steps to adopt these advanced technologies at scale. One way is to source R&D capability from outside the organisation to complement internal capability, e.g., developing new construction software management systems. This would also be possible by integrating new technologies into existing workflows. Companies must decide whether they can create new technologies by themselves and whether such developments will put them above the rest competitively.

IU organisations must also develop new ways to test and develop these innovative technologies. This might involve collaborating with R&D start-ups, customers and universities. They can also establish innovation units, technology accelerators or corporate venture capital units. IU organisations should move away from a risk-averse and conservative mindset. Of course, new technologies should undergo reliable testing procedures, and the user interface should be done well so that users can interact easily with these new digital systems.

Capture new opportunities

Organisations will also need to capture new opportunities to survive these changing times. This will only be possible if there is collaboration and integration across the value chain; otherwise, productivity will be negatively affected. Currently, the IU industry hosts many disintegrated players, including designers, material suppliers, engineers, contractors, architects and maintenance companies. Most of the time, these players concentrate on their independent businesses without caring about others. The future requires that all these players integrate.

However, collaboration doesn’t come by itself. There are clear actions that organisations need to undertake to achieve it. The first step is for IU companies to acquire expertise or enter into new activities organically through joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions or integrated contracts. Due to limited resources, it might be hard for companies to expand to new avenues alone. IU organisations may find it easier to achieve expansion by working with outside players.

Working with outside partners requires the use of contracts such as integrated project delivery (IPD) contracts, design-build (DB) contracts, and public-private partnerships (PPP). BIM and new technologies, such as construction estimating software, could facilitate stakeholder collaboration. Since integrated contracts work better on a project-by-project basis, IU companies should pursue joint ventures for long-term integrations. IU organisations can also use joint ventures to acquire skills that will be required in future.

Review product portfolios

One sure way for companies to capture new opportunities is by reviewing their product portfolio. Organisations might find less demand for essential parts of their business as IU practices shift. The only way to limit risks is to maintain a balanced portfolio. A company that reviews its product portfolio regularly will easily detect how its customers’ needs are shifting. It also becomes easier to determine market trends. Scenario analysis tools can also help organisations identify essential developments.

Embrace new businesses

Flexibility is a positive trait that allows IU companies to move into new market segments quickly. At times, focusing on a single market segment increases the threat to the business. IU organisations should broaden their outlook and innovate to find new businesses. For companies to grow, they should explore new avenues such as corporate venture capital initiatives, accelerators, and business incubators. They can also embrace new technologies such as construction estimating software UK.

Final verdict

Major changes in construction trends, such as urbanisation and climate change, create uncertainty within UI companies, as do infrastructure and talent gaps. By considering different scenarios of the expected future, it’s possible to imagine what the IU sector could become, thus allowing companies to prepare for change. Some transformation is imperative if companies are to shield themselves from adverse impacts. They should sponsor events that boost innovation and adopt new technologies, such as software for construction project management.

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