The IU and construction industry transformation imperatives in the near future

The world is rapidly changing and everything can only work best for those who change with it. 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 come up with 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. In this article, we will outline what the IU and Development industry and related organisations need to do in order to prepare for a prosperous future.

Enable the organisation

A successful organisation does everything within its power 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 and change management as well as 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 behind in innovation and productivity. To address this the Shaping the Future of Construction initiative was created by the World Economic Forum. The aim was to devise future scenarios that would help IU companies understand and respond to the changing trends in construction. One key aspect being that knowledge of construction software is paramount.

Organisations need to put in place mechanisms to attract new talent and retain their existing workforce. IU companies need to expand the areas that they source talent from as well as establishing 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 need to 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 powerful 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 major 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 difficult to respond to evolving environments. Individuals must be shown how 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 the 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 to them 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 digitalization of key processes. The first step they can take is to maximise the use of data and digital models. There are companies that 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 the entire life of an asset. 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. A good 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 play a critical role in how modules are manufactured and in documenting asset wear to schedule maintenance and order replacements. To implement digital models and showcase their importance, IU organisations need to employ complementary technologies, develop sustainable use cases and prove that digital models provide sustainable solutions.

Pros and cons of digitalizing 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 digitalize 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 at adopting new technologies. The future of construction is likely to involve new technologies such as AI-programmes and construction and maintenance robots. New technologies will also play a major role in the innovation of low-weight and high-strength materials.

IU-related companies need to 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. to develop new construction software management systems. This would also be possible through the integration of new technologies into existing workflows. Companies have to decide whether they are capable of developing new technologies by themselves and whether such developments will competitively put them above the rest.

IU organisations must also come up with 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 for them 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 the others. The future requires that all these players integrate together.

However, collaboration doesn't come by itself. There are clear actions that organisations need to undertake in order 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 by themselves. 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 collaboration between stakeholders. 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. As IU practices shift, organisations might find themselves having less demand for important parts of their business. The only way to limit risks is to maintain a balanced portfolio. A company that reviews its product portfolio regularly will easily detect how their customers' needs are shifting. It also becomes easier to determine market trends. Scenario analysis tools can also help organisations identify important developments.

Embrace new businesses

Flexibility is a positive trait that gives IU companies the ability to move into new market segments with ease. At times, focusing on a single market segment increases the threat to the business. IU organisations should broaden their outlook and innovate in order 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 does 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 negative impacts. They should sponsor events that boost innovation and adopt new technologies such as software for construction project management.

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