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August 16, 2018

If 110-year-old PCL Construction can digitally transform, your business can too


Whether humananimal, artifact, building, or business, 110-year-old things rarely change – but don’t tell that to PCL Construction.

The centenarian Canadian company embarked on a journey of digital transformation a few years ago in hopes of establishing itself as a digital leader in the traditional bricks-and-mortar construction industry. Its success has earned it a 2018 Digital Transformation Award in the large private sector category.

“It was all about modernizing our business to drive better value for our customers, and ultimately, their end customers,” Mark Bryant, PCL’s CIO, tells “And of course, we wanted to do it more efficiently with greater productivity enhancements with high-level quality and safety – that is paramount to the organization. It was a challenge for me personally, it was a challenge for the IT group, and a challenge for the organization, but I’m pretty happy with where we are right now. I feel like a 16 year old kid.”

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Thanks to new technologies, PCL has seen measurable improvements to its construction productivity, operational excellence, cost, quality, safety and, most significantly, differentiating and creating meaningful client value.

The company has modernized its business-IT operating model, “eliminating monolithic solution development and opting for a rapid time-to-market delivery model founded on an agile Dev-Ops model,” it says in its initial submission.

Internally, for example, legacy applications like PCL’s data centre were decommissioned and replaced with software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Mobile and data analytics technologies were introduced, coupled with the development of new digital construction services, which has led to much faster time to market.

As a result, data centre costs have decreased by $700,000 thanks to a move from more than 1000 servers to eight, which in turn has led to a reduction in annual server maintenance from $1.64 million per year to just $200,000 per year. IT salary costs have gone down by $900,000 a year and power costs have also decreased by around $15,000 a month thanks to a 77 kWh drop in energy consumption.

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