Aurecon's Digital Futures research answers the most pressing questions relating to digital and highlights actions to make sense of the now and be future-ready.


Our Digital Futures: Aurecon’s digital research insights

‘Digital’ transforms the physical – our cities, our workplaces, our homes, our environment, our people, our systems, our assets. That’s why Aurecon, as an engineering, design and advisory company, embarked on research to uncover what Our Digital Futures might look like. Distilled in a three-part series, discover the digital landscape, digital horizon and digital decisions to come.

Digital ways of working now and into the future

Digital can help us solve problems and overcome challenges, be more efficient, work smarter and generate new opportunities. But achieving these outcomes now and into the future heavily depends on how well you transition into, and how effectively you navigate through, this complex digital world.

Helping others make sense of the ‘now’ and prepare for the future is important to us at Aurecon. So important that we set out on one of our most intensive market research journeys yet, to help our clients understand the actions they can take to navigate the digital landscape of 2019 and beyond. We start by understanding the current state of digital, then dive into defining digital goals and strategies for a competitive future. And finally, we expose the decisions that would drive digital success.

Unearthing digital challenges and barriers

Our research – a combination of online surveys and deep dive interviews with a wide range of professionals and specialist futurists from across the world – uncovers what ‘digital’ means to our clients and their businesses, revealing the major barriers and challenges in the constantly evolving digital space.

Our three waves of futures research each provide key insights into the issues – and opportunities – that digitisation creates.

Asian girl looking up at Shanghai Tower

The Digital Landscape

Understand the current and ever-changing digital landscape to plan for the path ahead with wave one of our research.

Aurecon's Our Digital Futures Market Research: The Digital Horizons Insights

The Digital Horizon

Wave two of our research identifies four key areas organisations must focus on to thrive in the digital economy.

Aurecon's Our Digital Futures - Your Digital Decisions

Your Digital Decisions

Wave three explores the decision making that will help organisations realise the possibilities of digital ways of working.

The Digital Landscape

The pace of digital change is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before and understanding the current – and ever changing – landscape is a critical step in planning for the path ahead.

According to Aurecon’s Our Digital Futures survey data, when it comes to the current state of play, ironically, ‘digital’ is exposing a lack of connectivity. Organisations are grappling with the complexities of the digital landscape, many fall short in understanding what ‘digital’ means and are also under pressure to demonstrate financial return on digital investment (ROI).

Top organisational challenges

(top three, % ranked #1)

Alarm clockOnly 5% have not begun to embrace digital

Warning signOnly 4% are yet to face any challenges

Question and discussion between two people

"Not many of my key decision makers understand what 'going digital' actually means"

29% Decision-makers lack understanding

Growth graph

"Because any anticipated revenue uplift is currently academic. Hence there is uncertainty around profits while focused very strongly on initial costs."

24% Need to show immediate ROI

Money bags

"The financial cost of moving to digital with peta-scale infrastructure is large. There are other priorities to be funded."

24% Cost

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The Digital Horizon

Digital technology is increasing the rate of change and creating more complex business environments. According to Aurecon’s research, most agree ‘digital’ will continue to cause meaningful changes for both their organisation and sector, and that the impact of digital change will only strengthen with time.

The clear consensus that digital has caused moderate change now, will cause considerable change in two to five years and significant change beyond 11 years, indicates that although disruption is present in many industries, the true effects have not yet rippled into every sector. This is particularly true for the part of the economy that designs, constructs and manages physical assets.

While some survey respondents believe their organisations are very capable of thriving in the digital landscape, more than one in two respondents believe their organisation is, at best, only somewhat capable of thriving.

How organisations see their capacity to thrive in a digital economy

(next two to five years)

How organisations see their capacity to thrive in a digital economy in the next 2 to 5 years - Aurecon Digital Horizon Insights 2020

How organisations see their capacity to thrive in a digital economy in the next 2-5 years - Aurecon 2020

As this sector has been slower to embrace digital technologies, there is a unique opportunity for organisations to learn from and leverage transformations occurring elsewhere and use that knowledge to anticipate outcomes and ensure digital investment reaps maximum value into the future.

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Your Digital Decisions

In an increasingly complex, connected and uncertain world, it is critical for organisations to establish robust digital decision making frameworks and tools, which can better connect parts of their organisation, from digital elements on a project to incorporating digital ways of working to adapt to disruption.

Adopting the ideal framework for digital decisions helps organisations better balance their many (and often competing) priorities including creating efficiencies and reducing costs, maximising competitive advantage through speed or connection to customers, reshaping business and operating models, upskilling their workforce, and opening up pathways to discover different ways to create new value.



In increasingly competitive environments, using digital decision making approaches to drive efficiency and reduce costs is now just part of staying in the game.



Using digital tools and data to make digital decisions needs new skills and capabilities. Digital literacy is key, and the ‘people structure’ may need to change to support the aggregation and sharing of data and insights.



More frequent or continuous customer connections and almost real-time insights enable organisations to act immediately, creating a new speed of competition for market activity.

dollar sign over hand

New value

As customers’ consumption patterns change, organisations need to know how things are evolving and how to manage assets differently to create new value.

business and operating models

Business and operating models

Digital technologies are driving business model innovation. Leaders must make decisions about how to evolve their business model and the physical and digital assets that support it.

DOWNLOAD REPORT or read the report.

Aurecon can help you make digital decisions with clarity and confidence

While digital decision making processes and capabilities offer significant value for organisations, they are complex and challenging for organisations to get right on their own.

Aurecon's digital leaders, advisory professionals and technical industry experts combine to provide depth of knowledge across markets and the digital landscape, both now and into the future. We ask the right questions to achieve the most valuable digital solutions and outcomes for you.

We know that one size doesn’t fit all. We will help you determine which solution is right for you and how it helps your organisation resolve challenges and create value for your business.

We can help articulate what digital means for your organisation and how it can transform your asset base. We work with clients to formulate a portfolio of activities to test and scale real commercial opportunities.

Our experience in designing systems to make more informed operational and strategic decisions has helped our clients minimise risk. We can help you strike the right balance between an internal and external focus and eliminate blind spots in decision making.

To form a holistic picture and achieve the full realm of possibilities and opportunities, we consider the design of your built assets, operations, workforce and business models in unison.


About the Authors

Andrew Maher is Aurecon's Group Managing Principal, Eminence, Digital & Innovation. He is a member of the Aurecon Executive Committee and leads the development and delivery of the firm's global eminence, digital and innovation strategy and roadmap.

Stewart Bird leads Aurecon’s Innovation team as they actively explore emerging technologies and trends to understand how they are likely to impact our clients and the community. He is responsible for Aurecon’s innovation strategy and portfolio and utilises his experience in digital project delivery, and research and innovation management, to guide projects from innovation through to commercialisation.

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