Is it just too good to be true? Unearthing the benefits of disruptive technology

The rate of digital disruption is escalating and placing increasing pressure on organisations to adopt emerging
technologies in order to improve their productivity and bottom-lines. Unfortunately, however, many organisations
are often being seduced by the purported benefits of disruptive technologies often based on embellished or
even falsified claims.

This is particularly true in construction, where organisations are being required to embrace
disruptive technologies (e.g. Building Information Modelling and Industry 4.0) to address performance and
productivity issues. Unsubstantiated claims about expected benefits subvert the justification and benefits realisation
process as the change management that is required is downplayed or ignored. It is, therefore, imperative
that the business case as part of the process of evaluation, is based on evidence to enable the development of a
change management and implementation strategy.

In this paper, we present an overview of a longitudinal line of
inquiry that sought to examine the benefits of disruptive technology, namely Systems Information Modelling
(SIM). Our research revealed that more than a 90 % cost reduction to document electrical systems and a corresponding
improvement in productivity was achieved. We suggest that engaging in the process of critical
thinking, possessing a conscious awareness and healthy scepticism of technology places organisations in a position
of control. As a consequence, organisations are better-positioned to understand the nature of technology
and ‘how’ value can be generated from potential new ways of working.

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