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Will the digital revolution shake up the established order in the building sector?

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Executive summary of professional thesis 2016

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Will the digital revolution shake up the established order in the building sector?

  1. 1. Executive summary Will the digital revolution shake up the established order in the building sector? Facing the digital revolution, defined by the progressive introduction but massive information and communication technology in all areas of society, the building sector has a reputation for evolving rather slowly, and has, therefore, some difficulties to change. Is it a matter of reluctance or resistance from traditional players ? A matter of inefficiency of the digital initiatives ? A matter of ignorance of the possible issues ? A matter of underestimating the potential opportunities and threats? I choose to particularly take a look at small building companies (artisans, small and micro businesses), which represent 94% of the sector. I am working to qualify the digital drive, also called "digynamisme", of their direct ecosystem, such as materials and equipment distributors, goods and service providers, manufacturers1 [called first circle]. I also choose to analyze players and tools that are in principle more distant from construction sites, which rely on the Internet and that could influence very directly the sector's value chain: individuals, connected objects, digital "pure players2 ", and BIM3 [called second circle]. 1 I often call businesses: the "industry professionals" and I will refer to them generally as "construction players." The observations and conclusions that I choose to present are specific to the renovation market and new housing. So I decide not to address project owners, architects, majors, or the non-residential market. 2 Whose model is based exclusively on the Internet 3 Building information model
  2. 2. Stephanie Bigeon-Bienvenu Professional thesis Filled with examples, testimonies, reflections, analysis and advices, the study are structured as follows: 1. Construction industry is a key sector in the French economy but the large number of players, the historical positions of each one of them, subdivision, and conservatism, make it all together a difficult sector to move. 2. If they remain generally traditional and attached to "face to face" contact and to oral tradition, artisans also evolve and are, at the very least, new technologies users, as everyone else. 3. Digital initiatives operated by traditional players in the industry [first circle] are multiplying to bring more performance to construction professionals. Are those "digital inside4 " services sufficient to create value? A selection of digital offers is evaluated through a three-step approach: first, measuring their “digynamisme”; secondly, categorizing the level of innovation carried by each actor, and finally, analyzing the relevance of offers regarding the proposed customer experience. 4. But is there not an urgency to consider that some initiatives coming from more distant actors [second circle] may shake deeply the players’ core business? Four trends are presented: the connected end user, accelerating digitalization; connected objects (IOT 5 ) which move value; digital players (GAFA 6 ) which are 4 Integrating Internet technology 5 Internet of things 6 Google Apple Facebook Amazon
  3. 3. Stephanie Bigeon-Bienvenu Professional thesis embedded, and the digital mock-up (BIM 7 ) supported by the State which requires more transparency. Four trends complemented by influencers’ vision that will help understanding the urgency of evolving, and the range of possibilities. 5. In conclusion, several recommendations are proposed to "digynamise" traditional players’ practices, to ensure they enjoy the benefits of new tools and actively contribute to a deep change in the building sector. The building sector has already climbed a first step in modernization, but it would be dangerous to be satisfied. If it has an inner slowness that has always authorized it to "see it coming", now the digital revolution makes movements "unpredictable" and it would be unfortunate for the sector to lose its value. For professionals, integration of digital tools should enable greater sharing of information, useful for time savings, operational performance and to facilitate market development. 7 Building information model