Rationalisation and Standardisation is key to unlocking digital transformation in Construction
The construction industry has much to gain from implementing standards, whether in processes, data management, or methodology. System and software standardisation not only minimizes costs, but it also reduces the need for specialised expertise to support the various tools consolidates vendor management, reduces incompatibility, and streamlines the infrastructure and the ecosystem. However, given the fact that standardisation is most beneficial to mass production, the question is how to apply it in an industry where market variations exist and where projects can be unique across markets.
Standards in Engineering and Construction (E&C) are driven by the need to improve safety and quality, to gain efficiencies in resource allocation, budget or time, to harmonize data, and to control risk. Although standardisation is often the focus, it involves more than simply putting the right processes in place. Organisations should begin with a process of rationalisation and simplification. From there, tackling simple, easy-to-implement processes will help build momentum for a more thorough transformation.
Some organisations procure software and platforms for business operations in the office or in the field. Others adopt legacy systems through acquisitions and mergers or business transformation programs. Rationalising these systems eliminates unnecessary, duplicative technology that consumes valuable time and resources. Reducing old or redundant systems and focusing on those that provide the most value will ensure greater efficiency and productivity and reduce costs while creating the foundation for standardisation.
Standardisation also ensures that from start to finish, data is captured in a uniform way. For all stakeholders, standardisation reduces the effort needed to plan and execute work and permits the development of a consistent approach, allowing project teams to track to their processes and improve information quality.
Below are practical solutions that must be implemented throughout the industry to integrate technologies across the ecosystem.
Audit and Rationalize
A key step in the rationalisation process is to understand which systems are in use in delivery, operations, and maintenance across the organisation and the broader value chain and why those systems were chosen. This process often reveals the fact that many systems duplicate functions or processes.
Standardize Across the Project Life Cycle
Regardless of the nature of the project, it is important to ensure a transparent flow of information, a good structure for data capture, and a clear view of operational processes. A thorough understanding of the ecosystem is essential to working with external stakeholders and across the project life cycle. To address data standardisation and quality, a comprehensive master data management (MDM) plan should be implemented. The MDM plan includes processes, governance, policies, standards, and tools that define data management within an organisation and across stakeholders.
Organisations should focus on three key areas:
Key processes, including project management, should be assessed and reviewed. In technology development, organisations tend to apply the agile methodology, a process in which teams can focus on creating solutions within time-boxed iterations. This approach means project development and changes can be more responsive and efficient. Cross-functional teams applying the agile methodology have the authority to define, develop, and test processes and solutions. This autonomy allows them to implement changes faster than traditional teams. Not all processes take the same time and resources to build, so reviewing, and developing the easiest processes first allows more time and resources to be devoted to more complex processes.
2. Data capture and harmonisation
Ensuring that metadata is captured consistently will allow data to be more easily managed, verified, and deployed. Metadata provides the underlying information or description of data. Data harmonisation involves establishing clear objective-based protocols, along with an approach to data quality that harnesses both machine and human management. By establishing parameters, data harmonization can enhance the value and utility of business data in analytics, benchmarking, and visualisation.
3. Internal innovation group
Establishing an internal innovation group or centre of excellence (CoE) will help focus on an organisation’s digital strategy. The CoE can support digital transformation by offering best practices and industry research to achieve business objectives. The team, typically comprising of individuals from various disciplines, can ensure that the technology selected is fit for purpose, works within the existing ecosystem, and is flexible enough to accommodate future needs.
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