Implementation Technology in PSU A Challenge
Prasoon Shrivastava, CEO & Founder, Zepth
399 PSUs with a total investment of above Rs 16,40,000 crores are the key verticals integral to the growth of corporate India. But most of these PSUs have to date stuck to their legacy routes. In the last 60 years, the functioning of these PSUs has largely remained the same with only a few evolutionary changes.
Although with the advent of the Digital India movement in 2015, most of the PSUs have built their online presence on various social media channels, yet, the way they operate has more or less remained the same. In fact, as per FY19 numbers, 70 PSUs were running in losses with stresses collectively amounting to a whopping Rs 31,000 crores . Various factors like the sheer scale of these industries, socio- economic challenges, cumbersome procurement processes and others can be the driving factors for these discrepancies. But the lack of technological adoption and intervention also has not panned out well for the sector.
With the lack of tech adoption, there’s also enhanced burden and dependency on the workforce. Given the unusual circumstances that the pandemic has landed us in, it becomes all the more critical to have digital systems and cloud databases, accessible anytime, anywhere. With all businesses, especially construction suffering from the reverse migration of skilled and unskilled workforce, remote data management becomes even more paramount than before.
Robust planning, communication and documentation are the foundation to successfully and profitably managing any business, which modern project management solutions can handle with relative ease. With a digital core, public sector undertakings can log and unite different data sources that can help understand the trends, generate predictive insights and make informed data-driven decisions.
With the advent of the COVID-19 contagion, it becomes imperative to adopt technology, for, the restriction in movement and gatherings, the risk of infection and the economic volatility owing to highly dynamic consumption patterns is going to linger on. OECD has already cut their global growth expectations to 2.4% from 2.9% and has warned that it could even fall to 1.5% . For India, the forecasts haven’t been particularly on the bright side either, where, as per Oxford Economics, the output might fall as low 12% below the pre-pandemic levels.
The aftershocks of the pandemic induced lockdowns and the world coming to a standstill are surely going to spill-over in the coming years, but a sustainable push to sectors like infrastructure can help in boosting the economy while also creating new job opportunities. The state of the infrastructure and real estate sector has been ripe for disruption for quite some time, and the right tech push can absorb some of the tremors to the economy while helping build resilience mechanisms at the same time.
Globally, major infrastructure projects are successful when they work under a Common Data Environment (CDE) and due to Covid-19 the data environment has only become more fragmented due to lack of construction management tools. Digital transformation of the sector can be a game-changer in this regard, which can help cut costs, enhance safety, reduce risks and boost profits.
Given the robust demand for investments in infrastructure, which, for India currently stands at 777.73 billion dollars by 2022, it becomes imperative to work on resolving the longstanding issues in the industry with the help of technology. With increasing internet penetration and rapid adoption of technology in our daily lives, there’s also growing comfort within the general skilled and unskilled workforce to work with it.
Technological advancements at breakneck speed like 5D BIM that adds the dimensions of cost and time to the 3D models, integrated digital delivery to imbibe technology through each leg of the project lifecycle, photogrammetry to transform drone flypast images to 3D, and other intelligent tools like sensors, IoT, robotics have substantially altered the reality of how projects are managed and delivered.
The end-to-end digital database of resources can streamline the information flow between various stakeholders while speeding up execution and delivery. India is expected to become the world’s third-largest construction market by 2022  but the state of flux that the country’s projects find themselves in, where, one in every four projects  report cost overruns, immediate steps need to be taken. To manage the projects and operation of this scale, the solutions don’t only need to be functional and accessible but also must be secure and sustainable.
While there have been notable efforts in digitising and streamlining the sectors like banking, e- governance, and manufacturing, there are still sectors like construction which are haunted by legacy operational and management practices. Digital-first approach and hefty tech adoption is a must for all the PSUs to fight the pandemic, all the while being the key to unlocking the 5 trillion dollar economy as envisioned by the Prime Minister.