Optimism for European Construction Industry Growth Remains High but Digital Transformation Success Hinges on Human-Centric Implementation, Outlook Says

digital transformation

Ninety-six percent of European capital project and construction professionals are optimistic about their organisation’s future. Data collection, analytics and insights is the top driver of growth but change management must improve for successful transformation

InEight NL B.V., on behalf of its parent company, InEight Inc., a global leader in construction project management software, today launches its second annual Global Capital Projects Outlook.The Outlook draws insights from research conducted with 300 of the world’s largest capital project owners and contractor construction professionals across Europe, North America, and APAC.

The research reveals that 96% of European respondents are either very or fairly optimistic about their organisation’s growth prospects for the next year, up significantly from 89% in 2021. Data collection, analytics and insights (67%) offers the top opportunity for growth, however almost all (91%) European respondents said that their experience of change management left room for improvement, signalling a need for a more sophisticated, human-centric approach to technology implementation.

Despite Europe showing as the most digitally mature region with the highest proportion of digital strategies in place, it echoes the global sentiment when it comes to frustrations caused by technology improvements. In line with global trends, European respondents identified uneven or sporadic implementation (52%), process and data integration issues (54%) and technical and system limitations (49%) as key frustrations.

Commenting on the Outlook, Jake Macholtz, CEO, InEight, says: “Everyone we speak to is talking about growth opportunities for both owners and contractors. The optimism, resilience and confidence of the industry is almost tangible it’s so strong. This is especially encouraging given the economic backdrop that organisations are operating within, and the challenges associated with digital transformation. However, it’s also the prospect of leveraging digital technologies such as artificial intelligence,  machine learning and automation that is keeping spirits high in Europe.”

Human-centric transformation

The Outlook found that respondents see digital technology as broadly helpful in their day-to-day roles particularly by making communication easier (55%), prioritising tasks/managing project workflow (54%) and automating tasks to save time (49%). Highlighting the need for a more human-centric approach, however, 92% of European respondents said they had concerns about the future of digital transformation. Insufficient investment in training was cited as the primary limiting factor in getting more out of existing digital technologies. 

When asked what benefits they hoped digital transformation could deliver in future, more automation was a top choice for over half (51%) of European respondents, although 42% were also concerned about the potential for automation to replace jobs entirely.

“European respondents are eager to realise the benefits of digitisation but their organisations are falling short when it comes to training and communicating intent,” Macholtz says. 

“Ultimately, the success of any technology change lies with the end user which makes a human-centric approach to digital transformation vital.”

A tenuous operating environment

Against a backdrop of supply chain shortages, inflationary pressure, energy challenges, and war in Ukraine, capital project owners and contractors are unshakably positive about the direction of the industry. Notably, European respondents reported a significant increase (+8% YoY) in construction and capital projects spending while resilience also remains comparatively high, with 94% of respondents considering their organisation to be very or fairly resilient, compared to 91% globally.

However, in a departure from last year’s Outlook, the completion of projects on time and on budget, as reported by contractors, has fallen dramatically (-16% and -8% respectively). Underlining the tenuous global operating environment, European respondents highlighted unmanaged or unexpected risk (53%) as the most influential factor on whether a project will be completed on time and to budget, followed closely by communications gaps with stakeholders (52%). 

To access the full report, visit ineight.com/annual-global-capital-projects-report

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