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The difficulties of digitization in the engineering world

The difficulties of digitization in the engineering world

*By Marcus Grenadier

January 2021 – The biggest difficulty faced today in the digitization of processes in our engineering is not in the technology, neither on tight budgets, but in the way of thinking and decision-making on the part of users, directors and managers.

The old motto says that the best tool is that the user knows how to use. How many employees learned to use spreadsheets, doing everything with them, including turning them into their information feuds and, For them, boycott everything comes ahead aiming to eliminate them?

How many times is technology purchased based on its direct cost rather than analyzing the total cost of the process before and after its introduction? How often is a decision made based on features that will never be used?

Often the quality of service, the vendor's methodology and experience are worth more and have more impact on the success of a digitization project than the software or technology being deployed. It's no use choosing the most complete and complex application when you can't get your team to use it or get their adherence to the processes. In these cases, the dreamed digitalization remains as a dream or marketing tool, but it doesn't materialize in practice.

There is great difficulty in understanding the concept of process and very little appreciation in its mapping and understanding of the information and decision flow, which are crucial to define a correct digitization. The most common thing in scanning processes is to receive a spreadsheet with the message: "scan this process". It's spreadsheet for everything: construction diary, quality controls, safety, business processes, planning... all areas make use of them and they are still created and operated in isolation, with a series of unmapped exceptions and are discovered as they happen.

Once implemented, the use phase begins, which is adherence to scanning. Change is inherently difficult and, that is why, the support and participation of the board, in addition to full confidence in the supplier, are key points for success. problems will occur, as well as eventually unforeseen or mapped difficulties and points will inevitably appear, what will trigger in justifications to abort the process, that is why, trust and partnership with the supplier will be essential. It's not about blind trust, but solidly structured, based on the vision of the process and goals built with four hands.

Putting the reasoning in this way seems trivial, but it's not. There are countless cases in which the simple digitization of a construction diary seems to be something more complex and difficult to implement than a space rocket, but it is not. Therefore, Get to work to start your digitization journey, leaving the usual process behind before your operation is overtaken by the competition.

*Marcus Granadeiro is a civil engineer graduated from Escola Politécnica da USP, President of Constructive, technology company with engineering DNA and DNA member (Autodesk Development Network) and from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyours).