John Holland works to digital construction strategy 2025
John Holland is folding digital construction tools and methods into its everyday work patterns and projects, via what it calls its ‘digital construction strategy 2025’.
The strategy was disclosed last week in an announcement on the engineering firm’s use of Autodesk Construction Cloud on projects.
The 2025 strategy comprises four key programs, according to the company.
These include “construction through modern digital methods through technologies such as building information modelling (BIM) and digital twin; enabling consultants, suppliers and project teams with digital capabilities; finding solutions that leverage digital information; and connecting teams to drive innovation and knowledge sharing.”
John Holland’s general manager of digital engineering and technology Mike Roberts told iTnews that the company is accelerating its use of existing digital capabilities, such as those enabled by Autodesk, and also investigating new tools as part of the digital construction strategy 2025.
“The digital construction strategy has a primary focus on operational delivery,” he said.
“It’s … focused on harnessing the great work we already do in our business and elevating the techniques and approaches to a broader enterprise and ‘business as usual’ approach.”
Roberts described the strategy as a “shorter sprint” than a digital transformation the company spoke to iTnews about in 2021, but said the two programs had some natural linkages.
Both initiatives involve trialling and investing in emerging technology, however, the digital transformation has more of an emphasis on re-platforming core systems, he added.
Digital transformation progess
The digital transformation strategy’s central focus is on modernising the company’s finance, operations and health and safety platforms, connecting them with a series of APIs and plugging them into an already-established data lake.
The finance system has since been upgraded to Workday.
The operations system, which manages the lifecycle of major engineering and construction projects, is still in the process of being upgraded.
For both the operations and finance systems, the upgrade involves connecting them to 20 different places through APIs, and to John Holland’s legacy systems, as well.
When John Holland’s chief digital and information officer Roger Wahl, who has since left, spoke to iTnews about the digital transformation in 2021, he said upgrading the operations and finance platforms could take up to five years.
This is because the company’s engagement on mega projects can sometimes span the best part of a decade; so re-platforming has to be gradual; the lights have to be kept on.
The modernisation of the health and safety core platform has been completed and it has been plugged into other systems; whereas connecting the data lake to John Holland’s new core platforms is still in progress.
When complete, the data lake will corroborate data from across the enterprise and surface it on digital dashboards and provide real-time reporting.
John Holland is understood to be trialling a broad range of emerging technologies invovling virtual reality, IoT and artificial intelligence.
These are understood to include how ChatGPT may be used in the business but the details of its trial applications are not known.