Digital Transformation

Apr 8, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

Harnessing the power of BIM to deliver digital transformation

In our data-dominated world, digital transformation is profoundly impacting the way big businesses exist and compete in the modern marketplace. It’s a phrase that we hear often and, while most of us understand the words “digital” and “transformation”, what does it mean in practice?

Here, we explore the role BIM plays in digital transformation and the challenges that come with it.


Transforming processes

Digital transformations fine-tune, optimise and accelerate business practices, processes, strategies and systems. They are driven by technological innovation, customer insight, and external environmental factors such as regulatory laws or a fluctuating economy. It is topical right now because technological understanding has surpassed many business operational practices.

When properly executed, these transformations save companies time, money and resources. They are being implemented in firms on every continent to improve customer experience and boost business processes, making them more efficient and effective. The overall result is greater productivity, better performance and increased profit.

Delivering transformation

Delivering a digital transformation isn’t easy. Large corporations and big businesses contain such a multitude of interconnected systems, processes and procedures that knowing where to begin or what to do can feel like an impossible task.

The larger the company, the harder it can be to understand their digital details – even for the in-house IT team. Are they using cloud or local servers? What’s their disaster recovery plan? What kind of contracts are they tied into? How many software subscriptions (Autodesk!) are actually being used? Where is information stored and who has access to it? Sometimes they really have no idea. 

That’s where we come in.

Releasing the power of your data

At Atlas, we have worked extensively in the digital space, providing solutions to major architects, engineers, contractors and end-user clients worldwide.

We use our specialist BIM knowledge and deep digital expertise to help firms understand their data and reveal the powerful insights hidden within it.

As a data management process, BIM is a key part of any digital transformation that involves built assets. Its core purpose is to capture live data and keep it current in a single, accessible source.

It comes as a eureka moment to many of our clients when they realise the true potential of their data. They get excited when they see just how useful and actionable it is. With their new knowledge they feel ready to make more informed decisions. Implementing changes becomes easier, functions run more smoothly and fewer resources are used. The whole process becomes much more enjoyable – and profitable.

Harnessing your data has benefits far beyond knowing what you’ve got and where it is. It can unlock your supply chain, giving you immediate insight into your full carbon footprint, ethical impact and exposure to risk. You can assess the earning potential, FM costs and climate impact of your built assets throughout their lifetime – and adapt your decisions accordingly.  

Transforming behaviour

Behavioural change is a key component of digital transformation.  But as anyone who has given up smoking or committed to regular exercise will tell you, breaking habits and creating new routines is hard. Implementing this kind of change at a company level can be one of the greatest challenges a business can undertake.

For example, on a recent project for a client refurbishing a couple of floors in one of their buildings, we were able to illustrate the quality of data available, level of BIM adoption and identify gaps in their process.

At the end of the detailed design phase of the project, data should have been at a certain level of maturity for the procurement phase to progress smoothly.  But it wasn’t. This led to inaccurate project costs at the next stage of the project when the contractor wanted to use the data to procure the materials, services and procurement for the build.

Why? Because not everyone sees it as important to create their design work accurately and to an appropriate level of detail for users further down the supply chain. Similarly, contractors don’t always update the BIM model as they build.  

Digital policies play an important role in transforming behaviour. “The problem is that they are often drafted but rarely governed – particularly in the UK,” explains Frankie Imbrogno, Digital Group Manager. “Perhaps British politeness leads us to believe people will do as they are asked purely because we asked nicely.”

“There’s no point in implementing a process if people don’t follow it. And they won’t follow it if they don’t see the value in it. And they’re unlikely to see the value in it if it can’t be measured.” 

The power that digital policies possess lies as much in their policing and sanctioning as it does in their creation. Only then do they have the kind of impact that creates lasting change.

All the tech solutions in the world are useless if they’re not implemented properly – by people who understand their power to transform our understanding of our actions.

Transforming HSBC

Atlas is 3 months into a 12-month project for HSBC Hong Kong. We are using BIM to gather information about the design and management of the company’s built assets. Not just the offices they occupy, but the commercial, industrial, residential and retail assets they own and manage.

During a preliminary exercise in 2017, HSBC identified gaps in their digital understanding and the management of their built assets. This initial project was focused on consolidation. At the time, they didn’t know what systems they had across the business, what their purpose was, who was using them for what or how much they were spending.

The goal of the current project is to reduce costs through better management of design, project management and facilities management. HSBC sees BIM as a way to measure the success of a project – was it on time? Was it within budget? Does it meet the brief? Is the building occupied and generating income?

An effort is also being made to break down silos between the asset management team, IT and procurement, as well as the occupiers of a building, the teams that market it, leasing and facility management. The same information is needed by them all in order to make decisions, run the business efficiently and understand what they own.

HSBC was seeking the ability to make design and investment decisions within a project based on real-time information. BIM is the tool that makes that possible.


The BIM process can be used in many different ways and its benefits are bountiful.  Partner with the experts at Atlas to think differently about your data.