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Do I Even Need That? Everything Is Going Well.
The digital age began a few years ago, and more and more companies and private individuals are relying on digital production processes or end products, despite the fact that everything is going so well. Then why should I digitize my company? “Never change a running system” may be true in many ways, but is this also the case with regard to new technologies? In the digital and globalized age, change is inevitable. Changes of any kind can cause stress and discomfort in the beginning. However, one should not be negative about this change, but see it as an opportunity for new habits and needs. With the right change management, intrusive changes can be well processed and accepted.
Digital transformation is the gradual transition from analogue technologies to complete digitalization. It is also called digital transformation or finds an expression borrowed from the industrial revolution – the digital revolution. The digital transformation has already advanced in many areas of our everyday lives. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that we’re increasingly backing up our data in the cloud rather than on memory cards and can therefore access it at any time. However, the digital transformation can also be carried out in industries and companies – and it should. In order to be competitive against other companies, it is inevitable to become more digital. The construction and real estate industry in particular needs digital working methods and processes in order to keep up with the times. This can happen, among other things, through BIM and the digital twin, which are driving Industry 4.0 forward.
Difference Between Digitization and Digital Transformation
The terms digitalization and digital transformation are often used synonymously. However, the terms have clear differences that need to be made clear in order to avoid misunderstandings.
Digitization describes the conversion of analog media, such as CDs to MP3, into bits and bytes (a code consisting of the numbers 0 and 1). Digitization in a company or in private use therefore means making already existing media available digitally. This also means switching from paper to digital documents, or from letters to e-mail. One thus largely detaches oneself from the paper version and wants to have everything available digitally and at any time. It is also possible to go one step further and automate procedures and processes. This process digitization takes place via Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Digitization lays the foundation for digital transformation. Without digital data, the transformation would not be possible. The digital transformation in the company goes one step further and asks what extent the existing processes are still needed. The digital transformation is more about a change in the social dimension. Thus, these changes come from science to business, politics and the population. The decisive factor in the digital transformation in the company is the requirements and expectations of the customers or end consumers. The change process therefore does not start in the technology, but forms out of a problem situation, whereupon a innovative solution is sought. Products or services are offered that would not even be possible without digitalization. Roughly speaking, this means moving away from conventional products (hardware/devices) and more towards service products.
Various streaming platforms for music serve as an example here. Individual songs, albums and playlists are available online and personalized playlists are created based on individual musical tastes. The digital transformation in the company, thus, makes everyday life easier for the customer and at the same time poses a challenge to companies. On the entrepreneurial side, the digital transformation in the company is also called digital business transformation. The digital transformation in the company can be found in the most diverse industries and forms. Famous examples are virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), cloud services, the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as big data and smart devices (smartphones, smart homes, smartwatches, etc.). All these examples show the ubiquity in everyday life and the progress of the digital transformation. For example, a mail order company should nowadays offer shipment tracking so that customers know exactly when their order will arrive.
Digital Transformation in the Company Through Change Management
The digital transformation in a company cannot take place overnight and should be strategically planned. The digital business transformation involves structural changes in working methods and processes in order to remain competitive in the digital age. The planning of upcoming changes is called change management. Change management offers you and your employees a smooth and gradual restructuring of your conventional working methods.
The change in work processes and working methods in the company is initially a challenge that all employees have to get used to. At first, a general attitude of rejection is to be expected, since a change at the beginning usually means ignorance. This can lead to the association that employees no longer feel like “specialists” in their field. The goal and the necessity of the change for the digital transformation in the company must therefore be clearly defined so that the meaning of the change becomes clear for all concerned. Possible rejection attitudes by one or more employees come into discussion and can be clarified. As soon as the added value of this change in the direction of digital transformation is openly presented to all employees, the attitude of rejection will quickly turn into anticipation. With the help of meetings, trainings and pilot projects with new ways of working, everyone involved can slowly but surely get used to the change.
Learn more about change management here:
Digital Transformation in the Construction Company
The construction industry in Germany is not very digital. There are individual contractors, architects or engineers who dare to start with BIM, but this is not yet a widespread phenomenon. One of the biggest changes associated with digital transformation through BIM is increased transparency. Consolidated BIM data forms a basis for decision-making that is used for construction projects. Factors such as structure, costs and deadlines are clearly shown and changes can be communicated within the model along with their consequences. The client demands more transparency, which is provided by the 3D model and its data. Thus, the different project participants communicate and exchange more.
However, there are hurdles in the German construction industry that make the digital transformation in the company more difficult. In contrast to many other sectors, the construction industry is very little affected by the pressure of globalization. This is because it is mostly under local regulations and conditions and therefore varies from location to location. Therefore, much is the same as before: Construction plans on paper, long lines of communication between stakeholders and a lack of transparency.
There are institutions or actors in Germany that do not want any transformation of the building sector towards transparency. Public construction projects are usually put out to public tender. The construction company with the cheapest offer is awarded the contract, which rules out nepotism. Nevertheless, this tendering procedure is merely a formality and can still lead to favorites. These favorites can arise either from previous cooperation or acquaintances. In order to win the contract for the construction project, the construction companies must offer the lowest possible price. In doing so, the construction companies often already plan for supplements during the calculation and the construction project becomes significantly more expensive. Through the digital transformation in the company with the help of BIM, prices can be predicted in detail right at the beginning and presented more transparently. Such transparency is in favor of competition, but negative for the construction companies. The calculation of projects with supplements is prevented, and the contract can no longer be awarded on the basis of supposedly the lowest prices.
This problem shows that a digital transformation is necessary in the construction industry. Cost traps, planning errors and nepotism can be avoided thanks to BIM. BIM not only offers more transparency, but also many other advantages. With the help of BIM, all stakeholders are networked with each other and can make changes to their own model more efficiently thanks to the shared database. All of this happens digitally and ideally no longer requires paper plans. In addition, there is greater cost and schedule certainty through BIM in the construction and real estate industry. Cost certainty is also related to model-based quantity determination.
The advantages mentioned have no effect if BIM is not used across the board in the construction industry. So what exactly can the construction industry do to overcome the aforementioned obstacles on the path to digital transformation?
Digital Transformation in the Company Through BIM and the Digital Twin
There are still some obstacles on the way to digital transformation in the construction industry. What is already clear, however, is the insight that a digital turnaround is coming. According to a study, 93% of construction companies said that digitalization will fundamentally change processes within the construction industry. The insight that digitalization and digital transformation are also coming to the construction industry is already present. The problem here is that despite this insight, no change is being implemented in practice. One reason for this could be that the German construction industry is doing very well at the moment. All construction companies are working to capacity and therefore focus on handling day-to-day business instead of the future digital transformation or the implementation of BIM.
The widespread implementation seems to be an obstacle here. There are indeed signs of digitalization, but not to the extent as seen in the media, for example. Construction companies often cite the individuality of each construction project, which cannot function with automation, as the reason. However, partial automation is possible and necessary to increase the productivity rate in construction. Currently, construction workers spend about 70% of their working time transporting, setting up, moving and searching for materials.
The construction and real estate industry in Germany has not yet completed the step towards digital transformation. The reason for this could be the political regulations and laws in this area that do not yet exist, so that a conversion does not seem necessary in a small or medium-sized construction company. At second glance, however, it becomes clear that the digital transformation will come to the company and that it is therefore worth investing in it now.
With the help of BIM, it is possible to digitize the construction industry. Every stakeholder has the opportunity to take part in the BIM process. The individual specialist models of the planners are then brought together in a coordination model, which leads to efficient planning based on partnership. The more project participants use BIM, the easier it is to complete the project together economically and successfully. The digital twin, on the other hand, can make set-up and rearrangement work and the search for materials much easier and faster with the help of sensors, so that no working time is lost here. Apart from that, the actual state of the building can be viewed and checked. This means, for example, that error messages can be displayed in a user-friendly way thanks to certain sensors and can thus be resolved more efficiently. The As-Built control can also document the process of the construction site and compare 2D plans with the 3D model in order to set up defect management.
With BIM and the Digital Twin, we offer a step into the new direction of the construction and real estate industry. Our associated consulting also provides you with important information on the implementation, realization and maintenance of this initially abstract way of working.
Reasons for Your Digital Transformation in the Company
There are many good reasons to drive digital transformation in your company. The most economical reason is often to create a competitive advantage or to participate in the competition itself. As everyone knows, the competition never sleeps. The digital transformation is affecting all industries and therefore competitors will also sooner or later go digital. The chance to be a pioneer in digital implementation in your sector is also a good reason to tackle the digital transformation as soon as possible. Apart from the economic factors, this transformation also offers new opportunities and the possibility to have a say in an emerging market. The company could also gain a reputation for innovation and more attention. You also offer your employees added value based on working in a progressive company in the digital age.
At DiConneX, we are happy to advise you on digitalization, digital transformation, the implementation of BIM as well as the creation of the Digital Twin. With us, you will walk the path to a digital future! Register here for a free initial consultation.