While the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) industry has been slow to implement digitisation and digitalisation, there is big opportunity in the sector for early adopters, without needing to reinvent the wheel.
The automotive and aerospace industries, for example, have paved the way toward digitalisation, providing lessons, processes, and technologies that can be implemented in the AECO industry to successfully digitalise. This makes it possible to gain valuable and actionable insight from the increasing volumes of data produced throughout project lifecycles. This ‘data worth knowing’ creates added business value and can be used to overtake competitors and stride ahead in the industry.
Why does the AECO industry need digitalisation?
The AECO sector runs on large amounts of information but outdated processes, structural fragmentation, resistance to change, and low profit margins have made it difficult to utilize this data to its full potential and drive the modernization of the industry forward.
While there have been some steps taken toward digitisation over the past few decades –including CAD, cloud-based SaaS solutions, and mobile communication thanks to the adoption of tablets and smartphones – AECO remains behind other industries when it comes to the adoption of digital communication technologies. Implementing building information modelling (BIM) processes and standards can help AECO companies improve collaboration and develop new approaches to procurement, planning, design, construction, and data-driven operation and maintenance
BIM and the digital transformation
The introduction of BIM has changed how the industry thinks about data. BIM makes it possible to use data-driven, collaborative processes throughout all stages of the project lifecycle. Additionally, cloud-based data-sharing applications breakdown data silos by making inter-disciplinary graphical and non-graphical data accessible in one place. These digital tools make it possible to visualise data and effectively analyse how built assets are managed, delivered, operated and maintained.
Housing previously ‘silo-based’ data from procurement, planning, design, construction, commissioning and handover activities in a single digital environment – such as a CDE – enables AECO companies to gain detailed insights from their data that can be used to provide valuable information to clients and regulatory bodies as well as drive innovation forward.
How can AECO companies use data insights to get ahead?
In the past, data collection has primarily been used to summarise projects and status updates, including who did what and when. As digitalisation has progressed, platforms began to do more than simply house shared data – they began to manage complex processes and enable real-time data capture. This organisation of data has made it possible to home in on micro data, such as particular models, files, or users, or examine high-level overviews in executive dashboards or monthly reports.
Analytical applications that enable to extraction of business intelligence from large amounts of data provide rich insights that create value and can be learnt from. Data that creates value, or is linked to how value is measured or rewarded, has real worth. This is data worth knowing.
For more information on what the AECO industry can learn from the data collected through project digitalisation, download our latest whitepaper ‘Data Worth Knowing’.