Government and industry should build on their pioneering work in digital engineering to improve infrastructure performance and unlock growth, according to a new ICE report.
State of the Nation 2017: Digital Transformation urges industry and government to use the Modern Industrial Strategy to drive the uptake of digital technology and data in infrastructure design and delivery.
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It recommends that the £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund should prioritise digital transformation of both construction methods and physical infrastructure which increases capacity and performance of existing assets and networks. The report also outlines the need for more upskilling and reskilling of mid-career professionals.
Anne Kemp, who is chair of the report’s steering group, said: “Realising the potential of digital transformation will require addressing organisational barriers to change, upskilling our workforce, and valuing our data assets. Embracing it will boost the productivity of our infrastructure through its whole life, and prepare industry for a future where disruptive new technologies and business models are inevitable.
“Much of our current infrastructure will still be here in 30 years time, so we must use technology to do things smarter and make more of what we already have. We must be more imaginative in what we mean by digital transformation and what it can achieve,” she added.
At the report launch, Treasury commercial secretary Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “A short time ago, one could talk about the digital economy as something separate from the rest of the economy. No longer, as these have come together in a digital revolution….as the ICE report makes clear, there is much more to come.
“Whether we embrace this new world successfully may well dictate how well our economy performs over the next few decades. I therefore welcome the central messages coming from this report…The government is behind the ICE’s agenda.”