Digital transformation: The role of technology in the future of risk allocation

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Lisa Brown, Senior National Director, Smart Cities & Municipalities, Johnson Controls, Building Solutions North AmericaBy Lisa Brown
National Senior Director, Strategy, Local Government & Municipal Infrastructure, Johnson Controls, Building Solutions North America

The phrase “digital transformation” isn’t just a trendy buzzword, it’s the driving force for creating a smart community. Community leaders around the world are increasingly becoming more thoughtful about how they approach their own digital transformations. For most, this means integrating significant technological change in their infrastructure and weaving industrial solutions and IoT capabilities into their projects and initiatives. Technology is what drives innovation and infrastructure improvements in communities, impacting the life of every citizen, visitor and public servant. Implementing these technological advancements in municipal buildings, schools and hospitals is therefore critical to deliver a smart community environment.

But there’s a growing disconnect between the public sector and industry that can become an insurmountable barrier to this sought-after community-wide modernization. Contractors are less likely to bid on infrastructure projects due to a perceived imbalance in allocation of risks. This disconnect is resulting in negative public perception and reduced funding, slowing down necessary infrastructure improvements and ultimately disrupting the path towards digital transformation.

The question then became, “how do we assist city and community leaders to bridge the gap between the public sector and industry, to empower them to continue innovating?”

At the World Economic Forum – part of the OECD Public Procurement Week – I had the honor of participating in the “Rebalancing Risk Allocation in Infrastructure Projects,” workshop. During this event, it became clear that every city is facing this infrastructure challenge; the effects are just manifesting in different ways, based on the availability of process, government, reporting and funding. The question then became, “how do we assist city and community leaders to bridge the gap between the public sector and industry, to empower them to continue innovating?”

The answer lies in communication. Creating a flow of clear and concise communication is absolutely critical in keeping all stakeholders involved in these projects unified, and to keep infrastructure improvements on track. Industry members and public sector leaders must be unified in their goals and their standards. This clear communication enables digital transformation, which is the foundation for any smart community.

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