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Virtual steps towards real-world decisions on data-sharing

Our Eliminate Downtime journey has brought us to a key challenge the industry must address if it is to harness the benefits of digital transformation as a whole; how do we share data?


Data can Benefit the Whole Construction Industry


The experience of other markets underlines the need to get data out in the open and gain consensus around its production and use.

Managed properly, data has the power to transform the whole industry. For everyone to win, data must be not only available, but also usable by all entities from small, local businesses to major OEMs, rental companies and building firms. Data-sharing must broker collaboration by using a common set of rules to simplify integration. 



First Round Table on data-sharing


To address the challenges with data-sharing and discuss next steps, we recently had our first virtual Eliminate Downtime Committee round table. The online event brought together committee members and invited guests for a mix of inspirational and informative talks: Bain & Company set the stage with a lightning talk on the implications of data-ecosystems in construction. This was followed by a use case presented by the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA). Three Committee members from Komatsu, SmartEquip and Skyjack then rounded off the session by sharing their experiences in data-sharing and first learnings.


I’m going to share some high-level insights drawn from these presentations and the ensuing conversations about data-sharing, but for more in-depth insights, please continue to follow this blog over the coming months.


To set the scene, our collective goal with this chapter of the Eliminate Downtime initiative is to deliver tangible outcomes for the industry. The next steps will define business-led strategies and instigate new collaboration models that firms of all sizes can implement.  

The results will be published as a blue print early in 2021 and shared with the broader community.


Today, 87% of our industry lacks the skills or knowledge to be involved in digital transformation - it is the committee’s belief that working together, we can change that.


A common language to talk about data


Construction does not operate in a bubble, and we can learn by adopting best practices and avoiding the mistakes of other sectors which have undergone transformation. The example of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) provided an interesting and informative case history. We have a lot in common with shipping - cost-conscious technology laggards with data sharing issues, asset heavy inventories and a lack of collaboration.


As one of the Round Table speakers noted, in a lot of cases the challenge with data-sharing is not so much about the technology – it’s often a business challenge.

We have the practical tools to share data, but we lack the understanding for the underlying business case, and we don’t have a common language to talk about it.

This lack of knowledge results in organizations trying to work out their own solutions. A lot of these attempts fail in the pilot phase. The goal should be to connect the ecosystem instead of trying to patch up issues with individual “island solutions”.


Get out of the silo and collaborate


To demonstrate the benefit of collaboration, an early strategy is to compile use-case analyses highlighting how market value can be generated and resources targeted to deliver development and growth. Before we start mapping out strategies we need to go back and take a look at the concrete use-cases that data-sharing can solve. Those use-cases show that data-sharing doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Participants at the Round Table agreed: Collaboration is hard, and it requires compromise. But it’s the way forward to a more productive chapter in our industry.



Over the next few weeks members from the Eliminate Downtime Committee will join me to co-author a series of articles on this blog. Together we will explore different perspectives and use-cases revolving around data-sharing in construction - stay tuned.


To receive three selected articles about data, technology, and digitalization once a month, I invite you to sign up to the Eliminate Downtime Newsletter.


Read more about the next chapter of Eliminate Downtime.

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