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The digital transformation of the industry gathers pace

Adam Kirkup

Melissa Zanocco, ICG Head of Programmes, summarises the highlights from the latest Digital Maturity Benchmarking Report, illustrating that UK asset owners and operators accelerated their digital transformation in reaction to COVID-19.

The findings of the Infrastructure Client Group (ICG) Digital Benchmarking Report 2020, which provides a snapshot of digital maturity from members of the ICG’s Digital Transformation Task Group (DTTG), show that digital maturity increased by around 20% relative to last year driven particularly by improvements in digital transformation and asset management.

The report, produced by Mott MacDonald for the ICG using data from the Smart Infrastructure Index, surveyed leading asset owners and operators from the transport, energy, defence and water sectors representing more than 40% of the national infrastructure and construction pipeline, including Project 13 Adopters. It showed that those with a clear digital strategy, who had already embraced the need for transformation, were much better positioned to ride out the storm and capitalise on the new digital-first normal.

Benefiting from three times as many responses as last year and involvement from the new Buildings Client Group, the report represents the most comprehensive benchmark yet of digital maturity across UK infrastructure and the built environment.

Highlights from the report include:

  • +10pts improvement in digital strategy and plans.
  • Twice as many organisations had an empowered network of digital change agents.
  • +17pts increase in standardisation and automation.
  • Only 36% were confident most decisions were informed by evidence, not instinct.
  • 77% say poorly organised information prevents them from realising its full value.

There have been dramatic improvements in some of the areas tested hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic - resilience, how well risks to service were handled, and security – as organisations were forced to adopt remote and online working at speed. The members shared how this has strengthened the business imperative for digital transformation, with initiatives that previously might have waited months for approval being rolled out almost overnight. In this way COVID-19 has served as a digital accelerator, forcing to the front what many held as a long-term priority.

Mark Enzer, Chair ICG Digital Transformation Task Group and Chief Technical Officer, Mott MacDonald said: “


Our members have shown real, tangible progress over the three years we have run this exercise, demonstrating how they are evolving their cultures to embrace new ways of working as their digital transformation gathers pace. The insights from this exercise will help shape the actions they take, both collectively and individually, as we forge a digital recovery in 2021."


Digital Benchmarking Report 2020

Read the report here to learn more about its findings related to the six cross-cutting themes: organisational alignment; adopting effective operating models; unlocking investments; the human challenge; digital twins; and short-term pressure: the impact of COVID-19 on digital transformation.

Melissa Zanocco is Head of Programmes for the Infrastructure Client Group


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