Mark was sponsored by the tech giant, IBM, before he started university. He wrote his first lines of code in the early programming language, BASIC, and that software ended up running in cash registers in thousands of Boots and Safeway stores up and down the country. “From then on, I got caught by the buzz of technology and was excited by the impact it could have,” he explains.
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Head of digital advisory
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Digital transformation, programme management
Mark is Costain’s Head of Digital Advisory. He leads a diverse team that includes systems engineering and building information modelling (BIM) experts, augmented and virtual reality specialists, and digital architects. The ‘advisory’ tag might suggest they don’t deliver but this is far from the case at Costain. Together, his team members provide thought leadership, consultancy and leading-edge digital solutions to our clients. In his previous role, he was part of the core IT team that was involved in supporting complex delivery projects across all sectors. That means he’s well placed to help our clients seize the opportunities we have to transform the industry and make a step change in performance through the use of digital technology.
Mark on why the infrastructure sector should embrace technology
Mark’s keen to share this enthusiasm for emerging technology with organisations in the infrastructure sector. “Our industry lags behind others in its adoption of technology but that means the opportunities we have to drive change are enormous,” he says. “We can apply digital technology to improve the efficiency of construction - delivering faster, safely and more efficiently.”
Monitoring assets throughout their life and applying curiosity and the team’s engineering expertise to generate insights from the data will reduce total operating costs. And, as Mark points out, there is a bigger picture too. We can benefit the communities we work in by delivering efficient, lower cost, zero-carbon infrastructure.
Are there any barriers to success?
According to Mark, user adoption and process change is the hard work needed to deliver the value of the digital solutions he’s proposing. But he also says that can be overcome by showcasing the potential benefits for a business and by improving collaboration with the end users of the technology to engage them with the tools they need to drive results.
That’s something he thinks we should all get involved in if we want to uncover innovation and drive change. The Agile methodology can help. Mark believes that by delivering a working end-product quickly and then adapting, it speeds up the learning curve, builds trust and creates value quicker.
Demonstrating the value of technology
A number of years ago, Mark delivered a major programme for the NHS, which involved integrating IT systems within hospitals. The improvements in the accuracy of information flow directly impacted patient safety, and ultimately, helped to save lives.
What skills do you need to enable digital transformation within your clients’ organisations?
“You must be willing to listen actively and attentively to influence and effect change,” he says.
Email the digital advisory team to learn more about our work and how we can help you with your next project.