What came first? The chicken or the egg?

It’s absolutely true that people need to be willing to change and welcome the benefits that digitisation can bring in order for the construction industry to undergo its much needed transformation, but if we look at our personal lives, it’s technology that has led the way to a behavioural change – simplicity of use and connectivity of information have forever changed our lives.

I don’t think we can rely solely on those working in the industry to articulate what is needed. Users will come up with an electronic way to make a manual process more efficient. That will of course bring some benefits, but not true transformation.

One of Steve Jobs’ most famous sayings was, “It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.”

If you think about it, few of us could have articulated and specified the iPhone and yet now we can’t put it down. It doesn’t just have the ability to make calls or send messages, but it can play music, is a sat nav device, a taxi hailer, a restaurant finder and a home controller. Did any of us foresee we needed this ability? I doubt it. But now we can’t live without it.

With adoption levels of BIM still slow, perhaps it is now down to those that create the technology to step up to the plate and come up with something so revolutionary that the industry just can’t do without it. Something that will deliver the efficiency gains that other industries are long used to.

It means really understanding the problems that the industry is suffering and working out how to solve them in a way that delivers true ROI, efficiency and most of all, simplicity for the user with connectivity to all of the information that they need.

We are historically an industry of silos with a lack of trust throughout the supply chain. To truly work collaboratively we need to break down these issues and be able to work together. The technologies are out there (e.g. things like blockchain will absolutely revolutionise payments throughout the supply chain and I believe increase trust throughout) and it’s down to us and other solutions providers to innovate and find the best solution to drive the success of the industry forward.

So yes, cultural and attitude change is absolutely critical to digital transformation, but in order for people to easily accept that change, technology must absolutely provide simplicity and connectivity for everyone throughout.