New ICG report highlights need for infrastructure industry to improve how data and insights reach decision-makers

The latest report from the Infrastructure Client Group (ICG) on the infrastructure industry’s digital maturity, suggests the industry needs to unlock much more value in its digital transformation journey, through the targeted delivery of valuable insights directly to those making the difficult decisions.

According to the report, only 56% believe their business structure or operating model is effective in delivering their ‘data and digital’ objectives whilst 90% believe silos still stifle collaboration and knowledge-sharing within their enterprise.

The findings do show an increased recognition of the value of data, however, with rapid technological advancements leading to an ever-increasing amount of data available and a real need for digital skills and capabilities to manage it, organisations are struggling to keep up.

The report also demonstrates that the high-quality data and actionable insights need to reach key decision-makers with far greater speed, so the right people have the right information at the right time to enable them to make better decisions, delivering improved outcomes.

Produced by Mott MacDonald and powered by the Smart Infrastructure Index that has been used for benchmarking globally by organisations with over £550bn assets, the report provides a snapshot of digital maturity across members of the ICG’s Digital Transformation Task Group (DTTG), leading asset owner/operators from the transport, energy, environment and water sectors who collectively are responsible for over £13bn/year of infrastructure investment.

This year’s report identifies five common challenges and focus areas to help accelerate the industry’s journey towards digital maturity:

  1. More data not yet translating to better decision-making: While the data available to organisations has increased significantly, 86% think poorly organised information still inhibits full value realisation.

  2. A need to focus on digital skills: A better understanding of the digital skills gap is required to ensure current and future capability needs are met to enable successful enterprise-wide implementation of strategies. Currently 54% of organisations simply don’t understand their skills gap.

  3. Acknowledging the need for investment: This is now widely recognised with 87% of digital transformation strategies now sponsored by executives. Showcasing visible benefits is a key next step with 70% struggling to demonstrate the value required to unlock this investment.

  4. Organisations becoming more resilient: Responses to internal and external hazards – a key priority for the DTTG for 2021 – has significantly improved, with 85% having evaluated the ability of critical assets to operate under adverse conditions and developed contingency plans.

  5. Closer alignment to customer outcomes: A customer-centric approach has driven greater alignment of business objectives with customers. 93% now state they have a clear line of sight between business objectives and customer outcomes in their strategy.

As the pandemic accelerated the industry’s digital transformation, it also laid bare a real need for operating models to keep up with the pace of change, and the struggle to invest in people’s skills and capabilities to manage them effectively.

Whilst change is happening, it is not happening at a rate that will currently deliver the effective digital transformation the industry needs.

Melissa Zanocco, head of programmes at the ICG said: “One of the areas that our members have greatest difficulty is in articulating and quantifying the benefits of digital transformation in order to unlock investment. The report provides dependable statistics that help add credibility to business cases. The results also hep to measure progress in our key focus areas such as resilience and stakeholder communication, and to confirm that we are focusing on the right things moving forward. As many of our members move to the implementation stage of their enterprise digital transformation strategies, the emphasis is shifting to people, change management and information management. What is becoming clear is that changing people’s behaviours and culture, and having quality, interoperable data, is at the root of ensuring digital interventions are a success.”

Asset owners and operators that are responsible for nearly a quarter of the UK government’s National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline took part in this year’s survey. They are: National Highways; UK Power Networks; Anglian Water; NDA; Sellafield; Tideway; TfL; Heathrow; Environment Agency; Network Rail; Openreach; East West Rail.

Discover more about the report and its findings related to the five overarching cross category insights in a series of forthcoming thought leadership papers, authored by Mott MacDonald at www.mottmac.com/digital

Read the full report here: ICG Digital Benchmarking Report

Discover how you can accelerate your own transformation by taking the Smart Infrastructure Index at https://index.smartinfrastructure.com/

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