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5 Key Human Factors in Digital Transformation

Updated: Mar 7


Digital transformation within the construction sector is a multifaceted journey that extends beyond technological advancements and procedural changes. Central to its success is the understanding that the human factor plays a pivotal role in shaping the outcomes of digital technologies and processes.


BIM stands at the core of digital transformation and affects three key areas; people, process and technology. BIM implementation goes beyond being a simple technological advancement; rather, it represents a profound shift requiring individuals to navigate and adapt to change, therefore it becomes essential to closely examine the diverse aspects of human factors involved in this process. In this article, I discuss 5 key human factors influencing the success of digital transformation, recognising the complex interplay between individuals and the transformative potential of advanced technologies.


1

Cultural Shift and Change management

Challenge: Resistance to change, uncertain role definitions and job insecurity


The success of digital transformation is closely related to the ability of individuals and organisations to embrace a cultural shift. Change management becomes essential, requiring leaders to communicate the benefits of digital technologies effectively. Resistance to change is a common challenge, and fostering a culture that encourages innovation and continuous learning is crucial. Human minds are naturally resistant to change, especially when individuals are comfortable or proficient with the traditional procedures. Change can sometimes make individuals feel a loss of control over their work environment. Providing adequate training and support to employees helps in overcoming skepticism and ensures a smoother transition.


  • Implement a comprehensive change management strategy. Communicate the benefits of digital transformation transparently, foster an innovative culture, and provide continuous training and support. Engage employees in the process, addressing concerns and highlighting the long-term advantages. Establish a hierarchy of roles and responsibilities, ensuring that individuals understand their contributions to the overall effort.


2

Awareness and understanding

Challenge: Limited awareness and understanding of interconnected systems, processes and technologies


Limited awareness and understanding of digital technologies can hinder their adoption. Employees may face challenges in adapting to a wide range of digital tools and technologies, each with its own interface and functionalities. Investing in comprehensive training programs is essential to empower the workforce with the technical knowledge and information management competencies (read more about competencies) required to navigate the digital tools effectively. Poorly integrated technologies can lead to inefficiencies and disruptions in workflows.


  • Provide educational resources and workshops to enhance understanding & showcase practical advantages of digital techologies. From project managers to on-site workers, everyone needs to acquire a certain level of digital literacy. Upskilling the workforce enhances productivity & fosters confidence in utilizing advanced solutions. Invest in robust training programs, including BIM & informational management skills development. ISO 19650 provides a comprehensive framework for managing info in BIM (read more about the strategic role of ISO 19650). Effective information management supports data-driven decision making & risk management down the supply chain.


3

Leadership and Vision

Challenge: Lack of leadership support


Digital transformation requires strong leadership and a clear vision. Leaders must guide the organisation through the changes, demonstrating a commitment to embracing innovation. The fear that new technologies may automate certain tasks and impact job roles can create resistance. The introduction of new BIM-related roles and information management functions may also create uncertainty regarding responsibilities and expectations. A well-defined vision sets the direction for the transformation journey and inspires confidence among employees. Leadership that fosters collaboration and encourages a shared sense of purpose significantly contributes to the success of digital initiatives.


  • Empower leaders with digital literacy and provide them with the tools to guide the organisation through change. Foster a leadership culture that values innovation and collaboration. Clearly articulate and communicate a compelling vision that aligns with the organisation's goals and values. Involving individuals in the decision-making process and allowing them to contribute to the adoption strategy can create a sense of ownership. When individuals feel heard and valued, they are more likely to overcome resistance.


4

Collaboration and Communication

Challenge: New communication and collaboration patterns in the digital ecosystem


The interconnected nature of digital technologies necessitates enhanced collaboration and communication. Digital technologies introduce new collaboration structures that may disrupt established norms. Siloed working cultures hinder the seamless flow of information, impeding the benefits of digitalisation. Different technologies may have varied communication features, potentially leading to miscommunication or information gaps. Fostering an environment that encourages open communication and collaboration breaks down traditional barriers, enabling stakeholders to work together more efficiently.


  • Foster a collaborative environment by breaking down communication barriers. Implement digital tools that facilitate seamless information exchange among team members. Emphasise the benefits of digital collaboration in BIM, highlighting improved efficiency and communication. Encourage cross-discipline collaboration and establish clear communication channels for project updates.


5

Digital resilience and adaptability

Challenge: Constant changes in technology require adaptability and resilience


The rapid pace of technological advancements in the construction sector necessitates a high level of adaptability and resilience from the workforce. The challenge lies in employees needing to continuously update their skills, learn new tools, and adjust to evolving digital landscapes. Individuals who can adapt quickly to technological advancements will thrive, while others may experience stress and resistance.


  • Providing ongoing support through mentoring and coaching programs allows employees to seek guidance when faced with challenges. Experienced colleagues or mentors can share insights and tips, fostering a collaborative learning environment. Establishing dedicated helpdesk resources for technical issues ensures that employees have immediate assistance when encountering obstacles. This reduces frustration and encourages a proactive approach to problem-solving.


In the journey towards digital transformation, understanding and addressing the challenges posed by the human side are of critical importance. By recognizing the factors that contribute to resistance, organizations can proactively implement solutions that foster a positive and collaborative environment. Embracing change as a collective effort, organizations can unlock the full potential of digital transformation, leveraging both technology and human expertise for enhanced project outcomes and a more efficient construction industry.


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BIM training by BIM Design Hub introduces you to the concepts and principles of Building Information Modeling, BIM, in line with ISO 19650 and provides sufficient skills and knowledge of the BIM process, standards and guidelines that support the digitalization of the construction industry.

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