Does your business have a digitalisation strategy?
As the industry shifts from delivering transport to delivering mobility we need to explore progress by the sector for embracing digital change to allow more data sharing and better transport services, writes CIHT Technology & Innovation Panel lead Stelios Rodoulis
'Digitisation' is the process of converting information from a physical format into a digital one. When this process is leveraged to improve business processes, it is called 'digitalisation'. The results of this are known as digital transformation.
Different sectors of the transport industry are undergoing these processes at different paces as the whole industry shifts from delivering transport to delivering mobility.
In essence, the digital world is transforming a local authority's vision and the services that it can provide.
CIHT would like to invite you to take part in a short online survey to explore the extent to which organisations have a digitisalisation strategy.
This research will have oversight from the CIHT Learned Society Technical and Strategy Board (LSTSB) and all responses will be confidential and non-attributable.
Council employees, contractors, partners and related industries are all being affected by the possibility of new opportunities and the threat - or perception of - becoming irrelevant.
As such, the pace and spread of digital change underscores the need for new, widespread, scalable and more creative initiatives to improve councils' access to relevant digital and related 'soft' skills. This enables them to provide a better, more relevant and personalised service to residents.
The continually evolving digital journey begins with 'digitisation'. Through the digitisation process, for example, physical records will be converted to digital assets by scanning and saving in a digital format.
An example of a digitisation process that is currently under way at many local authorities is where the paper record of a Traffic Management Order (TMO) is accessed, reviewed, plotted on specialised GIS software and a scanned copy of the original paper document (which is often several decades old) is attached to a digital record.
However, this is a static layer of information, stored locally and not shared efficiently either within or outside of the local authority. If someone wants this information, they need to contact the council and submit a request - a slow process.
Digitisation is not a means to an end; there is limited value in digitising if the newly created digital assets will remain in a siloed, offline database which only a few people can access. In addition, only limited value will come from flat scans of images or forms.
The scanning process should be intelligent enough to be able to leverage attribute data (into a common data environment), so it can be used to support wider and more effective organisational/stakeholder decisions and allow the organisation to achieve better outcomes and realise better value from their assets.
Otherwise the organisation might be investing in only moderate benefits.
Digitalisation is when you leverage digitisation to improve processes. One way of working towards digitalisation is to try to make it easier to share and disseminate the data held within a local authority's Common Data Environment for the benefit of residents and local businesses - which also improves the authority's accountability and transparency.
For example, the aforementioned TMOs once converted to a digital format create the opportunity to share and use this information among a wider selection of stakeholders.
These include freight companies, enforcement agencies, transport operators and those providing cycle hire, Mobility as a Service and on demand mobility providers including connected and autonomous vehicles.
Your insight is vital to the project and as a contributor you will have the opportunity to provide any comments on the initial draft of the report. If you have any questions about the research, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Stelios Rodoulis works in the Digital Solutions Development Hub at Jacobs. He is chair of CIHT London and leads CIHT's Technology & Innovation Panel.
CIHT and its survey partners will be offering their analysis of the digitalisation survey results at Highways UK on 6/7 November