It's undeniable that companies need to consider technology transformation to adapt and compete and cutting-edge technologies are changing the infrastructure world forever. It's on every business' agenda, but what are current attitudes and perceptions across the industry.

This global infrastructure survey sought to explore the digital transformation of infrastructure, global sector trends and specific developments in markets around the world - specifically looking at where the current opportunities and challenges lie. The survey engaged with consultants, contractors, asset owners, investors and funders predominantly focusing on UK, Asian, African, Middle Eastern and European markets.

Findings

  • 64% of respondents said a lack of understanding of technology was the greatest barrier to the digital transformation. 62% said it was a traditional approach to technology that is not joined up which is holding the sector back.
  • Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) said that Government was the biggest stakeholder to drive the greatest change over the next 5 years.
  • 62% say they are already employing collaborative working techniques, but 22% have said they are not currently using any form of modern methods at all.
  • 56% of respondents said that an increased use of technology won't lead to a reduction in disputes.

Director, Global Engineering Consultancy

Contractors are reluctant to heavily invest and adopt at a time when margins are low and balance sheets are weak - particularly against excessive risk and public sector tendering costs.

The findings show that businesses are actively looking at ways to evolve - whether that is developing in-house capability or partnering with an external technology company. There is also widespread thinking on where the greatest opportunities for the digital transformation of infrastructure are in next 5 years is with Airports (48%), Electricity Generation and Transmission (35%), Railways (34%) coming out top.

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However, there needs to be more knowledge sharing across the sector, and up-skilling on international best practice to improve understanding of the technology available, and increase infrastructure productivity and efficiency. 22% of respondents said that they are not currently using any modern methods of technology, showing that there are a significant number of businesses at risk of falling well behind. Likewise, there is a lack of understanding of BIM and other management tools that is prohibiting project delivery and the efficiency of digital records and data management.

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Senior Commercial Manager, UK Railway Provider

The industry needs to streamline processes so that we have to use new technology - otherwise people will just stick to what they know.
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Governments were rated as having the biggest impact in driving the digital transformation of infrastructure over the next five years – particularly when thinking about regulatory frameworks and standardising processes.

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Quantity Surveyor, Multinational Construction Firm

One key driver of our strategy is to develop and lead excellent service provision to meet future trends and demand utilising the best technology in AI.

Despite increased adoption of technology, attitudes show there will still be a market for disputes, as 56% of respondents said that an increased use of technology won't lead to a reduction in disputes. 55% of respondents said the lack of capability and capacity across delivery teams was cited as the main reason for this, followed by constant innovation leading to a lack of standardisation (45%) and less certain risk allocation (37%).

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