We are facing times, when connectivity, networks and digital social interactions become all part of our lives and workflows. There is no doubt that the internet changed everything from the ground up. Human mankind stepped one step further on the evolutionary latter by introducing the digital age.
During the Industrialization around the end of the 18th century we invented machines that helped us automating our work and which supported us in producing goods more efficiently. Since then we got more and more better by inventing even more efficient machines, but something was still missing to take us to the next level.
In the digital age we finally achieved that level. We added networks and software on top of all that, which makes us more powerful and our tools and machines intelligent. Knowledge is available at everybody’s fingertips and due to Twitter, Facebook and other networks shareable to all of your followers and vice versa. This is actually a very impressive phenomenon of self-education. In times where knowledge is the most valuable asset the internet makes us all a lot smarter by the immense possibility to share and discover information. The ones who know technology will finally thrive innovation, set the rules and help others to gain the maximum output of the digital age. In other words:
“Program or be programmed.”1
This is no offense against the not so tech-savy people, but they will need help to run their businesses smoothly and efficiently in the future. The construction industry for example is currently at the edge to a digital revolution. We all know the buzz-words like smart cities, smart grids, green transportation, intelligent buildings and building information modeling, which hype around the scene. These words are connected to sophisticated technologies and new approaches to design our urban environment. Architects, planners, project-managers, investors and everyone else involved in the process of constructing modern real estates are in the need to improve their workflows. At the moment there’s only a glimpse happening of what could be possible. Most companies are still using old tools and technologies having no clue that they could save time and money by investing into newer tech.
The problem here can be found on the one hand by the mostly conservative mindsets leading those companies and on the other hand by the complicated usability of most tools out there. This combination somehow harms the industry at the moment to take it to the next level. Even most young professionals like civil engineers are not trained and kean to new technology due to a lack of corresponding courses during university or they are just not interested into the digital parts of their work. Everyone knows MS Office, but for everything else you need specialists.
To thrive innovation, you have to cope with the staff, which will always be unwilling to accept changes in their workflows, just because they are to lazy to leave their comfort zone and on the other side there is a whole new row of software products that increases productivity. At the moment there are technologies out there that process steps from the planning of buildings to the construction stage and even further for simulating complete life-cycles. This offers a whole new approach to develop and construct buildings. Soon there will be construction sites where all communication, planning, conception is social and available via the cloud, on tablets or mobile phones on site and all information is syncing in real time with offices around the world. Workflows are getting really easy through the use of modern technology, which will have an immense impact on effectiveness and efficiency.
The problem with new technologies in the construction sector is the fact that they are at the moment rocket science for most companies and still facing challenges with interdisciplinary interoperability. Architects, investors, planners and others still have a hard time to cooperate in a sophisticated way. Further, it is hard to convince your staff to learn new tools, implementing them into workflows and chosing the right ones according to the company’s strategy. At this point, right between your company’s strategy and the newest technology out there it is important to have someone serving as an interface between both worlds. I don’t mean a system administrator, but someone who is a strategic thinker and decision maker on the digital strategy of your company.
Someone who is able to push the company into the digital age by providing simple solutions for complex ideas
A top-notch digital strategy is going to help your company in many ways. It starts by setting the focus on social media marketing and ends by developing straight workflows and strategies with the help of the best fitting technologies around. One example showing that a good digital strategy can safe money and time is the typical project management company. Let’s face the challenges of project managers: They are mostly working with teams of different expertise, they have to communicate between them and they have to lead them. This can be sometimes a hilarious clash of misunderstandings, which result in more costs and a burst of shedules – lately seen at the new Berlin airport2.
Architects working on one design-model, whereas structural planners working on another. Little changes on the models on either side due to complex projects could lead to conflicts, which could end in a disaster or an immense load of work and overtime. With the help of a sophisticated digital strategy set before projects and an awesome digital strategist workflows, tasks, monitoring and communication could be simplified extremely. It is highly recommended to involve digital strategists in complicated projects and it is finally higly recommended to involve them in your company.