On 17 June 2015, Copper’s CEO, John Twitchen, took part in a panel debate hosted by the Major Projects Association (MPA) as part of a full day seminar on the topic of ‘Developing a digital strategy for major projects’. The panel debate looked to examine the question of ‘What could a digital future look like?’ in regards to major infrastructure projects.

On the panel alongside John were Steve Denton, Director of Engineering from WSP Parson Brinckerhoff, Steve Carden, Partner of PA Consulting Group, Gareth Webb, Senior PLM Consultant at IBM UK Ltd, and Anil Chhabria, Senior Manager at Deloitte LLP. 

It was acknowledged from the outset that digital technologies increasingly lie at the heart of major projects, supporting decision-making in all aspects of project development and delivery. Having traditionally been left to specialist technicians and IT consultants, project leaders are now seeing the requirement to understand technologies as part of their own role. 

A core understanding, not only of today’s capabilities but an appreciation that the ‘digital revolution’ will continue to drive change and new possibilities, is essential. Technology development cycles are much shorter than the life cycle of major projects, so a digital strategy needs to balance agility whilst maintaining a consistent ‘golden thread’ of information.

John said, “I see huge opportunities in the planning, construction and operation of major projects. A totally different way of explaining, engaging and comprehending, as we have been doing for early adopter clients. A huge opportunity to engage different, especially younger audiences, and those audiences are ready for it.”

However, there are considerable challenges when developing digital strategies for major projects, from financial to risk management, and this MPA event looked to consider how best to navigate through this complex terrain. 

To read the highlights report from this event, please click here.