What are the three key ingredients for success in starting your company’s digital transformation journey? Digital transformation isn’t a technology by itself; it’s a business strategy that combines technology (what is being done to perform the work), processes (how things are done), and people (company culture, skill sets) to be successful.

Let’s discuss how these three pillars can raise your BIM IQ as it relates to True 5D BIM. First, we need to ask, what is 5D BIM and how is it used in the construction industry? 

5D is a multi-dimensional way of showing the physical and functional aspects of any project. 5D adds the element of cost to the already existing time management and common data environment components of information sharing in construction.

When performed correctly, 5D BIM can optimise a project and impact schedule and cost, ultimately saving margins. However, most solutions today are not purpose built for 5D and instead are a collection of data and products that only give a snapshot of scheduling and cost, ultimately a misrepresentation of reality.

How true 5D BIM will help the construction industry

According to a McKinsey & Company study, 75 per cent of companies that have started using 5D BIM have found a positive return on investment. True 5D maintains model fidelity and integrity which enables more people to be involved in the conversation from the onset instead of working in isolation and waiting to provide information about their piece.

Benefits include: 

  • Technology allows automation of quantities to be processed quicker, provides more accurate data and allows the estimator to explore new ways of providing efficient designs, performance and costs
  • This contrasts most 5D workflows and processes today that are laden with data translation, outdated information and a lack of real-time estimation
  • True 5D BIM aids in all aspects of the construction industry, but the people who get the most benefit of this extra dimension are the project managers and estimators. They are in a unique position to drive greater project integrity by providing true insights into the project scheduling and cost

More owners are looking to achieve this level of delivery from their general contractors because of its benefits, and it’s simply smart business. So it follows that many projects using a “traditional” 5D BIM workflow are typically a conglomerate of model-based data, estimating spreadsheets and field updates (blueprints) taken at intermittent times during a project’s lifecycle.

Research undertaken by Cisco Systems and Momentum Research Group looked at the order in which IT investments were made. The research focused on the differences between internal improvement projects centered on the implementation of specific software first – before adjusting internal business processes – compared to changing internal business processes first, before implementing new software applications.

The research concluded that the order of implementation had a significant impact on overall cost efficiencies. For those organisations who changed the business processes before introducing new applications or technologies, the final project results yielded an average cost savings of 20 to 30 per cent. For those organisations that implemented new software technology before updating established business processes, their costs increased an average of six to nine per cent.

The research also concluded that if the organisation changes its business processes first, the net result actually improved the way the organisation operated, was more quickly ‘institutionalised’ within the business, and actually achieved a successful implementation outcome before the introduction and rollout of new applications to projects.

In contrast, implementing new software first imposed significant pressure within the organisation.

In many cases, the business process change was lost or required additional work process and workarounds to be introduced because newly implemented applications hadn’t been fully adopted by users and assimilated within the organisation.

Applying these three pillars of BIM to your organisation will provide a path to pursue your digital transformation journey. Technology by itself will not improve BIM outcomes, although it is a driving factor combined with the other two pillars. Organisations have to change their processes to adopt BIM workflows for successful adoption.

A culture shift must occur so that people will adopt and implement BIM to drive the digital transformation. These positive changes allow companies to “lean out” their underlying business processes to eliminate the non-value-add steps, thus making it easier to drive change.

This sponsored editorial was brought to you by Hexagon. Contact Hexagon today to learn more about our BIM IQ Assessment to measure where you are in your digital transformation journey or visit www.hexagonppm.com

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