Digital transformation in the UK infrastructure sector

The UK Institution of Civil Engineers has released a new report looking at how advances in digital technology and data are transforming how infrastructure is designed, delivered and operated.

“Putting the end-user first should prompt us to embrace the full value of new technologies and data estates. The infrastructure and construction industries need to collaborate and coordinate not just with each other, but also with the technology and manufacturing industries if we are to keep pace with these advances, and seize the moment,” The State of the Nation 2017 Report said.

Main blockers and enablers to infrastructure’s digital transformation

State of the Nation 2017 is a project that details the practical steps governments and industry need to take to maintain our Britain and pull back on the extensive benefits.

Guided by the steering groups, 350 organisations and individuals identified the main blockers and enablers to infrastructure’s digital transformation. Key recommendations are:

Unlocking the productivity potential of digital transformation

  • Digital transformation should be at the heart of the infrastructure pillar in government industrial strategy.
  • The £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund should be targeted at the digital transformation of both construction (digital delivery) and infrastructure (smart infrastructure) to increase capacity and performance of existing assets and networks.
  • Regulatory frameworks across all infrastructure sectors should incentivise whole life investment decisions based on the needs of the end user.

Encourage a step change in organisational culture and leadership in industry

  • ICE and other professional institutions must work with industry and government to ensure that people at all points in their career have the right skills to adapt.
  • Clients, our new global village, and digital evolvement are bringing huge amounts of transformation for users and government should use infrastructure projects, big and small, as incubators for skills and innovation.
  • Clients should insist that data is identified, collected, stored and shared in the right way by everyone working on a project as part of the procurement process.

Future-proof infrastructure networks

  • Cyber and physical security considerations must be at the center of industry thinking in order to keep up with evolving security threats.
  • As infrastructure decisions are increasingly made at a local level we need to invest in improving the quality of local asset data. This will help improve understanding of the interdependencies between different assets and how that changes with increased connectivity.
  • The National Infrastructure Commission should set out a needs-based strategy to align energy and digital infrastructure policy.

The results show security must be at the heart of all industry in order to keep up with constant threats.


Edited from source by Ella Donaldson