When something moves as fast as the world of digital technologies, there’s bound to be a degree of nervousness around uptake. You might worry if there’s ever a ‘right time’ to make your move but there’s a far stronger argument that the longer you delay your commitment to digital readiness, the more exposed you become to the threat of digital disruption.
Organisations want the value and usefulness of digitisation to be demonstrated before they make this change. It’s understandable that people want to know the benefits of any new approach or technology, even more so if it’s ‘digital’. Part of the problem is in the invisibility of digital technologies, as the lack of physicality and palpability makes it feel very ‘unknown’. For those trying to implement change, they believe it’s important to focus on the non-fiscal opportunities that digitisation represents, rather than think of it purely in terms of cost savings.
There was a strong sense from some of our clients that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. They have a fear that the rapid rate of change in technology means that even if you start upgrading your system, it’ll be too ‘old’ by the time you finish it. Their scepticism extends to the belief that investing in new digital technologies could lead to implementing the ‘wrong’ system or one that doesn’t work as well as the old methods.
Even though digital technologies were generally seen as collaboratively enabling on design projects or infrastructure management, there are still trust issues around sharing information between partners due to legacy contractual structures, IP concerns and data security.
Architects, contractors and clients all shared a fear about the power of software vendors. Knowing that you’re picking the right software for your needs is critical from a cost and operations perspective. There was a sense that if you implement the wrong system you often have to compromise activities to fit the software. The inability to change software without huge expenditure only compounds the risk and highlights the importance and pressure of getting the solution right in the first place.