CONSTRUCTION PORTFOLIO OF EVENTS

4 - 7 DECEMBER 2023

DUBAI WORLD TRADE CENTRE

Transforming Together

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Transforming Together

Atkins’ approach to digital transformation is as much about taking the whole industry forward as improving delivery of its own work. Claire Smith reports.

While Atkins’ work to improve digitalisation is gathering momentum, global digital director Ceri-Ann Droog says that its ambition is much broader that just the firm’s own work. She says that the aim is to support the global infrastructure industry on its digital transformation journey too.

“As a starting point it was to build on our purpose as an organisation,” says Droog. “We looked at our corporate strategy and purpose and within we have a statement that we are underpinned by people, data and technology.

“But we want this to be wider than our business. We want to consider and develop our role in transforming the industry – there are all sorts of issues that the industry is facing, such as stalled productivity and the drive for carbon reduction – so in considering that, we want to play our part in leading the digital transformation and accelerating it.

“When you think about data and technology – digital solutions – people in the industry have been talking about it for a long time, Atkins is now at the point where we’re making an impact and creating some tangible change for clients around the world

In terms of what digital transformation means on the ground, Droog says that the aim is to become more efficient and remove costs but she says that the real focus is on improving the outcomes for clients.

“If you take engineering design, as an example, what clients really care about is on site predictability when the design moves to the construction phase,” she explains.

“They want it on time, on budget and with a clear view on issues like their carbon footprint and social value.”

Nonetheless, Droog points out that the need for digital change isn’t just in the construction phase – it can be applied to the operational stages of projects too to drive benefits through the entire project lifecycle.

However, she adds Droog that no one company can deliver a digital transformation in the infrastructure industry alone and it needs to work with the wider industry too.

Digital transformation is not all about delivering benefits for the client though, Droog believes that it will bring benefits for Atkins’ staff too.

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“This is a great opportunity in the sense of how we are helping people on their own personal journey,” she says. “We're looking at what the key enablers across our business are for this strategy and that's about upskilling our staff and looking at what training they need in the future.”

According to Droog, the greater efficiency of increased digitalisation will not mean fewer staff are needed, more that it could automate repetitive tasks and create more time for creativity and developing innovative ideas.

Droog says that digitalisation will not be a one off change but the start of an ongoing evolution, although she has high hopes that the journey will deliver on the firm’s aims.

In the Middle East, Atkins is supporting clients with delivering some of the most transformational projects across the region by providing its design, engineering, and project management expertise underpinned by digital solutions to drive efficiency and sustainable impact.

Source: NCE, November 2022