Special topic
The challenges of digital transformation

The digital revolution, triggered by the technology boom, has had a considerable impact on our lifestyle. The world is changing, and a host of challenges and opportunities are arising! To tackle them, Bouygues Construction is planning ahead and adapting.

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What is it all about?

In March 2000, the internet bubble burst. The digital economy got back on its feet, before shedding its inhibitions. From that moment on, innovations associated with soaring roaming data rates, the internet and new technologies came in quick succession and gradually took over our lifestyles. Consumption, health, education, habitat, mobility...Digital technology is revolutionising daily life! Customs are changing and the digital culture promotes an approach that focuses on the user experience. This user can be an employee, a client, a partner or a user of our constructions. 

It is also the opportunity to create new services, services that would have been utterly inconceivable without the contribution from these new technologies. These new services will make it possible to address major societal, social and environmental challenges. Examples of this are plentiful and are coming thicker and faster by the day: Salesforce created a totally disruptive model in 1999 in the shape of entirely cloud-based business software as a service, adding the value of innovation and client success. In 2001, Wikipedia was launched, capitalising on digital technologies and the power of collective working. 

Apple gave itself a new lease of life by founding its product strategy on the benefits felt by users when using its products, features and solutions...the iPhone came out in 2007, and the iPad was released in 2010.  Also in 2010, Nest created an intelligent self-teaching thermostat, to regulate its energy consumption. Mention must also be made of Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, the company that, in order to “accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy”, is incorporating numerous technologies (automatic steering, defence system against biochemical weapons, etc.) while offering its users an optimal experience. 

Although disruptive visions and the digital sector give rise to genuine opportunities, they can also create threats. These threats can be obvious but nonetheless serious, such as in cybersecurity. There are threats to our business models as well, with the arrival of new players on the market, or the transformation of certain professions, which can generate resistance to change. It is a question of negotiating the digital curve and seeing it as a powerful performance and productivity booster for employees, our partners and the offers we design.

The construction and public works sector remains one of the least digital industrial sectors but a revolution is building momentum, such as via the Digital Transition Plan for Construction in France. This plan, launched by the French government in 2015, is designed to accelerate the rollout of digital tools by experimenting, training professionals in the use of digitalised tools and encouraging initiatives. What is the aim? To allow the whole sector to take digital technology on board as part of its everyday construction business. The extension, the BIM 2022 Plan, was confirmed a few months ago. 

Sharing to innovate
They said it!
Marie-Luce Godinot
Deputy General Manager responsible for Information Systems, Digital Transformation, Innovation and Sustainable Development
The Group's digital transformation has formed part of our strategy for several years now. Today, we are continuing to envisage the possibilities, but we are realising above all that innovation waits for no-one, and that tackling the subject head-on is crucial if we are to remain at the cutting edge of the sector.

Bouygues Construction has made digital technology one of its strategic topics. The appointment of Marie-Luce Godinot to head both the Group's digital transformation and its information systems shows an objective to pursue change even further, by coordinating current initiatives. We certainly have no shortage of projects and innovations! Digital transformation is present in each profession, in our open spaces, on our construction sites and in our offers - it is already at the heart of Bouygues Construction. Let us begin by looking at our offers. We have already incorporated digital technology in the offers that we propose to our clients, and to our clients’ clients, who are the end-users of our constructions.

Wizom is an example of this, with the Wizom Connected offers based on connected housing, and Wizom for Life, where digital technology has become a way of making housing scalable so it can be adapted to all stages of life.  But we can go much further still. Take the example of offices, where incorporating digital technologies produces tangible savings for the client, in terms not only of energy optimisation but also of optimising the use of the building, by sharing certain areas with other users, for example. 

Thanks to the data we receive from the various sensors, we have a far greater understanding of how buildings work and are used, and this means we can offer a genuinely improved user experience.


They said it!
Sophie Piechaud
manager of the Wizom offer
Residents can adjust their thermostats remotely, via their smartphones, and thus tailor their energy consumption based on the weather; the brightness of the light bulbs adapts to the ambient light.

Districts and towns are also an exceptionally fertile breeding-ground for specific, relevant applications for digital technology! For such vast areas and in such complex projects, however, collaborating on innovations is key. This is achieved by associating with other digital players, to imagine the future of our cities. For example, Linkcity worked with Bouygues Immobilier to devise Nextcare, a brand-new type of prevention and healthcare space, in the heart of a district dedicated to the issue of therapy.

More ambitious yet is the first French smart city, in Dijon! We are making it a reality with Citelum (EDF), Suez and Cap Gemini. This contract, worth 105 million euros and with Bouygues Energies & Services responsible for the overall management, is mobilising all facets of industry expertise from the entity: a centralised control cockpit for the city, multifunctional intelligent public lighting with Citybox®, traffic management, urban video protection, radio communication, means of communication managed together with citizens, and the safety and security of public buildings are assured. 

What are the benefits for the client in all that? Customer relations and the experience the client gets are the priority. For the smart city, the advantage is clear to say: an improved mobility offer, where traffic lights at crossroads give way to buses, intelligent parking that guide users to free parking spaces, electric mobility services, and so on. Above all, there is a communication in real time between the city and its inhabitants, thanks to citizen applications. The inhabitants now play a proactive part in their own city! 

Digitalisation is also moving forward on construction sites. It is bringing improvements in several areas, particularly ergonomics. On the site for renovating the lighting of a motorway tunnel in Saint-Etienne, we are experimenting with using an exoskeleton to make the work less arduous for the engineers. We are also testing sensors to monitor their working positions. Finally, the connected operator project makes it possible to carry out daily tasks on the construction site in complete safety, thanks to a kit of communicating objects.

Digitalisation is also found at the heart of equipment specific to certain sites. For tunnels, the task entry tool on the tunnelling machines was improved by incorporating voice recognition technology and an artificial intelligence chat bot. This project was realised thanks to the collaboration with Simsoft Industries. Its values and its innovations won over Bouygues Construction, which acquired a minority holding in the startup's capital. This was a great success for Open Innovation. 

Some other tools very useful for public works are: the Télémach robot, which changes inaccessible control knobs; Atlas, which automatically pushes voussoirs; and Mobydic, used to manipulate tunneling machine control knobs. Another example is PYXIX, an automatic steering module currently still in the design phase.

Cranes have also not been forgotten, with the Lenel project using the IOT (internet of things) to improve maintenance. There is also Easydriver, a predictive anemometer, and ARC, a prototype for piloting cranes automatically. Finally, 3D printing is also digital, thanks to the Yhnova project!


Finally, let’s not forget BIM, or Building Information Modelling, which is a key element in digitising our projects. Digital transformation is transverse, from offers to construction sites, via work methods. BIM is just as transverse, and is revolutionising our professions. Designing and building a structure virtually using a 3D digital mock-up can be used to anticipate and adjust for supplies, safety measures, future uses and more, before actual construction begins. When combined with BIM processes, this mock-up will become a formidable transversality and collaborative working tool for all parties involved in a project.

They said it!
Bertrand Delcambre
Chairman of the Digital Transition Plan for Construction
Everyone I met had a positive opinion [of BIM]. They were not naïve, though, because they had an idea of the difficulties involved in terms of investment and the complexity of the tools. The shift will be even more dramatic than when computers arrived in the 1980s, because the collaborative aspect of BIM will change how work is organised and the way in which people work together.

How our data is structured is also being examined. The digital project management platform is a programme that originated from the requirements of our operational staff (improving the continuity between each phase of a project, better data management, and greater collaboration and capitalisation). It is a matter of gathering together all structured data connected with our processes on all our constructions, from the design to the construction study phase, all the way up to construction and use. It is used extensively in the aeronautics and vehicle industries, which use serial manufacturing, and should in particular help us tackle the challenges of industrialisation more effectively.

Knowing our clients’ and stakeholders’ requirements and desires in detail and improving their satisfaction are also possible thanks to digital transformation. Analysing the data gathered means that the supply chain and supplier relations can thus be completely digitised. Constellation is also a valuable new, innovative tool for realising this type of project.

There is also the virtualisation of structural work plans, energy management and consumption forecasting with Hypervision at Bouygues Energies % Services; or even digital finance and human resources management, here again using transverse, international and fully digitised initiatives devoted to employees: Talent tracker, Global RH, InPulse and more. Attractiveness is growing, both for our prospects and our current and future employees. 


Transforming is also a state of mind

How and where do innovations arise within a company? Wherever there are challenges or there is value to be created, and wherever you can discuss and reconcile needs with solutions.     

The internal social medium Yammer is an example of a digital space that promotes the creation of new ideas. It not only allows questions asked to be answered from the pool of knowledge within the company, but also means that answer can benefit everyone, even those who did not ask the question. Digital uses are changing as well, in both our personal and our professional lives.

The project to redefine the internal digital environment is completely in line with this dynamic. Its aim is to imagine an ecosystem that responds to the transformation in our uses and professions as well as the requirements of employees, and contributes to the performance of Bouygues Construction as a group.  

Mobile workspaces, visual management, agile methods and even co-design and collective intelligence approaches are emerging within the company. The new option of transforming offices into ‘flex’ spaces contributes to allowing ideas to circulate and thus to shared innovation within the Group. All these initiatives owe their existence to the digital tools provided by Bouygues Construction IT. Behind the scenes, this entity is at the heart of the digitisation of our offices.

Yes, digital technology and innovation are undeniably making people at Bouygues Construction rack their brains. A large number of initiatives are taken and tests carried out; the enthusiasm is there. Right now the emphasis is on coming up with ideas, but the next phase in the process is consolidation. How can we arrange our digital transformation and our initiatives so as to enrich our professions, and create more value and satisfaction for our clients? 

The first step was to examine our current model, identify innovation wherever it occurred and develop new challenges...Then, we had to meet new players who could transform the Group. 

Employee initiatives are encouraged and rewarded in the form of the Inno’Cup competition. Employees who have had the same idea can thus work together and pool their progress and their experiences. Matching Up allows people to do the same thing except by associating with startups. Because startups are small, their structures enables them to experiment in the field. This fruitful collaboration has given rise to solutions like Energie IP, a new approach to technical building management via a simple ethernet cable, which can transform a regular building into a smart building.

They said it!
Marie-Luce Godinot
Deputy General Manager responsible for Information Systems, Digital Transformation, Innovation and Sustainable Development
We have been through the period of creative abundance, and now is the time for coordination.

Where does management come in? “It has to keep pace with the movement, and be a driving force!” emphasised Marie-Luce Godinot. Digital reverse monitoring is furthermore in fashion in the Group's entities. After Bouygues Construction SA, Bouygues Energies & Services and Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France, Bouygues Bâtiment International recently convinced the members of its COMEX to go digital, with the help of younger employees.

Examples are already in place internally: the Digit’All campaigns at Bouygues Bâtiment France Europe, the digital transformation committees at Bouygues Energies & Services, SPQR at Bouygues Travaux Publics… All these initiatives are contributing to the spread of digital culture within the company. 

And it’s working! A large number of employees, convinced of the importance of making the digital shift, have already watched videos from the Digital Academy, set up by Bouygues SA. Others have attended the NetExplo forum, which features hundreds of innovations, to take the plunge into the digital sector. 

In order to align and structure all these initiatives, a governance in Bouygues Construction has just been launched. Several actions have been instigated: the appointment of Chief Digital Officers (CDO), the creation of a digital committee and the organisation of "production” IS's and “client” IS’s directly linked to Bouygues Construction IT. This body proposes, monitors and will drive forward the Group's overall digital strategy and action plan.


They said it!
Marie-Luce Godinot
Deputy General Manager responsible for Information Systems, Digital Transformation, Innovation and Sustainable Development
Incorporating digital technology as a strategic lever for the company and promoting the use of information systems for all our professions; these two actions will improve our agility, the way we work will become more collaborative, and we will increase the number of our open innovation initiatives while simultaneously coordinating them better.

Digital technology, an essential lever for optimisation, has transformed all professions and customer relations, by creating new business opportunities. The way in which the construction and public works sector is currently transforming, and adapting to digital uses, is mimicking the way in which digital technology has transformed the world in general. Let’s continue to be proactive within our industry and its digitalisation; let’s transform!

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Contact : Emmanuel CHALUFOUR
In charge of digital transformation for Bouygues Construction
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