The aim of the government-funded IT programme is to convince senior managers of the importance in investing in IT, and it will publish tried-and-tested best-practice tips in an attempt to show how other firms are making IT work for them – and their bottom lines.
This point was underlined by Peter Jones, a Kvaerner researcher on secondment to the DETR. Speaking at a Construct IT meeting at the University of Loughborough last month, Jones said: “Part of the programme is to motivate chief executive officers. That’s easier said than done. We need to communicate the message about what others have achieved and to open up the channels of communication to help the industry share experiences and problems.” Putting best practice into action The initial focus will be on medium-sized firms. Companies with innovative projects in place will be invited to be the subject of case studies, co-ordinated by Davis Langdon Consultancy, illustrating how the construction process can be made more efficient and communication improved.
The information gathered from these will be collated in a best-practice guide and passed on to other medium-sized firms. Once the programme is under way, it will be extended to include small and large contractors, suppliers and designers.
The Movement for Innovation, charged with implementing the Egan report, also aims to spread best practice, through demonstration projects. It is looking beyond IT, but chairman Alan Crane, speaking at the Loughborough meeting, said research group Construct IT would be invited to help disseminate the IT lessons learned on the projects.
Construct IT is an organisation based at Salford University that was set up to encourage and increase awareness of IT.
Also at the Loughborough meeting, Construct IT director Marjan Sarshar called on firms to join Construct IT and widen the scope of its research projects.
But Sarshar warned: “We are only interested in innovative firms so that we can bring the best small and medium-sized enterprises to work together.” Members of Construct IT include contractors Amec, Costain, Taylor Woodrow and Laing; consultants Bucknall Group, Gleeds and WS Atkins, as well as major clients, including BAA, Barclays Group Property and a number of UK universities. They meet twice a year to network and exchange ideas.