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The Pandemic Push Towards Digitalisation



I think it's fair to say that the Coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately gone on for far longer than we all thought. The impact on both lives, business, and economy has been pretty brutal. The strategy for most has been to tighten-up spending and control costs, avoid all wastage, trust our workforce, and embrace new and smarter ways of working.

For most survival instincts have kicked-in implementing strategies to minimise the impact. Everyone hoped that the measures would be ‘temporary’ however have become part of a more longer-term solution to ‘staying open’. It is great news that beating the virus is definitely getting closer as Covid-19 vaccine trials begin in the UK and is much needed with the rising infection levels globally.

Familiar words we have heard over and over to describe the stages of the pandemic are as follows: unprecedented times, Pre and Post Covid times, the new normal, the next normal…and so on…

However, what is increasingly becoming apparent is that the virus could well change how we do things forever, as we find ourselves continually changing, improvising and embracing new technologies, we could be actually moving faster towards automation and digitalisation than before. Also, the landscape is changing as businesses look to become more resilient and self-sufficient. Pandemic practices and protocols will even become part of business operations, so (heaven forbid) if it happens again, we will know what to do to hopefully lessen the catastrophic chaos.

Increasing the Speed of Digitalisation

It makes sense as digitalisation certainly lessens physical contact, reduces paperwork, streamlines processes and automates – it actually lends itself perfectly to a pandemic situation, making collaboration possible and seamless.

In the construction sector the pandemic is said to be increasing the speed of digitalisation and how the industry embraces process automation – see this interesting report by Flowforma – 2020 The Year Construction Embraces Process Automation.

An article by McKinsey describes how the construction industry can emerge stronger after the Coronavirus with a 5-point strategy based on: resolve; resilience; return; reimagination; reform, as well as 7 actions for success based on short and long-term trends, and embracing new ways of living and working – briefly summarised here:

Short term:

1. Increased digitalisation – more reliance upon Building Information Modelling (BIM) and use of 4D and 5D. Co