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“Leapfrogging” is best known as a strategy of using advanced technology to enable developing countries to modernize rapidly and more sustainably than wealthy nations have done.But this concept is also applicable to the construction sector to enable it to catch up in terms of digitalization.

What is leapfrogging?

For instance, it would mean skipping the coal-to-oil & gas-to-renewables timeline of developed countries by leaping directly to renewables to meet energy demand, or skipping landline telephone systems in favor of mobile phones.

Likewise the historical mainframe/thin client-to-personal computer-to-cloud/mobile device timeline for computing would be skipped in favor of smartphones, mobile apps and the cloud.

A concept which is applicable to the construction sector

The same principle can help the construction industry achieve rapid modernization and greater sustainability. This means exploring the use of all technologies discussed in this paper, almost all of which are available as affordable leased services.

It also means that modern, digital-native solutions should be given priority when selecting information technology solutions. Specifically, solutions should be built on the pillars of modern productivity: social collaboration, mobile devices, cloud services, big data, and advanced analytics. The availability of flexible and affordable cloud-based, SaaS (Software as a Service) options for solutions built on these pillars makes it easy to leapfrog decades of business information technology evolution.  

New digital-native solutions make it easy to leapfrog decades of business information technology evolution.

It is in many ways fortunate, in fact, that construction does not have to perform a painful rip-and-replace of a heavy, old and enormously expensive IT infrastructure in order to compete in the age of digital disruption, as do companies in so many other industries. They can go straight to empowering the field with the same agile solutions as digital-native innovators. 

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