Case study – Assess Disruptions and Innovations

Digital Engineering Use Cases and Opportunity Assessment


  • Our client, an engineering firm that was a technical advisor to a rail infrastructure authority, was concerned they were considered a technology laggard, specifically around digital engineering
  • They wanted to understand the adoption, use cases and benefits of the emerging field of digital engineering across peers, and identify options to start integrating these capabilities across projects


  • The research was delivered by a bespoke team led by Mark Tuckwood, a UK-based Wood Mackenzie alumnus with experience delivering more than 250 projects. The team interviewed 7 experts over 3 weeks, supported by secondary research into digital engineering trends
  • Experts were sourced from various relevant industries including construction, mining and transport and included input from Atkins, Morgan Sindall, Hilti, TfL, Hatch, Worley and BHPBilliton.


  • Digital Engineering (DE) is a rapidly evolving capability being driven by large engineering firms to transform how capital projects are executed. It can broadly be broken into two further categories:
    • Digital Construction, is primarily the domain of the engineering and construction contractors who can use the capability to reduce the capital cost of a project by 10-30% through efficiency savings. This enables more competitive bids and/or increased delivery margins
    • Digital Asset Management (DAM), is primarily the domain of the asset owner/operator. DAM helps leverage the built asset data to radically streamline, automate and integrate operational workflows through the operational lifecycle. Indications suggest that around 70-80% of the available value from Digital Engineering is derived from DAM, by potentially reducing total opex spend by 10-20% over the asset lifecycle (assuming a 40-year lifecycle)
  • The role a provider plays in a capital project impacts where they can adopt and realize DE benefits:
    • If the providers remit is limited to project delivery, then the digital capability required is mostly for overarching data governance, monitoring and reporting
    • If that remit also extends into representing the needs of the asset / owner operator, then the necessary capability extends into DAM, which requires the client to develop DE as a core competency to drive the end-to-end digital agenda
  • Adoption, maturity and usage of digital engineering is still highly variable with construction contractors typically more mature than owner clients
  • The recommendation to our client was to aim for a minimum level 2 BIM capability as per the UK maturity model, to enable the effective management and workflows associated with Digital Construction. They should also be looking for ways to help the end client leverage the same asset data asset created during the capital phase to streamline subsequent operations and maintenance activities

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