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Digital & Innovation

We work alongside our clients to navigate changes and undertake digital transformations that set them up for long-term success.

Digital technology is disrupting industry structures and the way capital projects are planned, built, and operated around the world. By using existing technology, savings of 20 to 45 percent of total cost are already possible, and even bigger gains are at stake for the organizations who move first and fast.

What we do

We work with clients to help overcome barriers to change and pursue new operating models at the enterprise and project levels. For some organizations, this may mean identifying the right tools and solutions to address their biggest challenges. For others, it may mean a more aggressive top-to-bottom transformation, including the establishment of new, fully digital companies within their organizations with new sets of skills and values.

We support clients at each step along the way, including:

  • Digital value improvement diagnostic. We analyze the value at stake for an organization or a specific pilot project to help clients prioritize investments.
  • Digital transformation strategy. We develop a strategic road map for companies that outlines the requirements to enhance organizational structures, systems, processes, and the potential establishment of new digital companies, and identifies talent needs.
  • Partnership and digital service-contracting support. We help organizations navigate the myriad of tools and solutions to establish the partnerships and subcontracts that will provide the greatest value and support for their strategic vision.
  • Capability building. We help our clients to build the individual and institutional capabilities needed to sustain improvements and further develop their digital operating model. Our distinctive approach of building, operating, and transferring capabilities ensures sustainable impact.
  • Collaborative project execution. Working on-site with clients, we implement digital tools and processes to help deliver complex projects on budget and on time. Our frontline teams leverage McKinsey’s proprietary Cloud Control Tower, innovative lean execution strategies, and next-generation workforce management approaches to ensure projects are delivered efficiently.

Examples of our work

McKinsey works with owners, engineering and construction firms, developers, and investors across all asset classes. Specific experience includes:

  • Implementing a cloud control tower (CCT) for a solar power client, allowing it to better manage a portfolio of more than 15 projects in various states of construction. This resulted in more than 20 percent cost savings and nearly 20 percent decrease in in labor hours required.

    The CCT provided leadership with real-time transparency into project performance, benchmarked execution across projects, helped identify and share best practices across sites and contractors, and allowed the owner to more efficiently deploy teams in the field to address identified issues.

  • Helping a leading real estate company to institutionalize the use of 5-D building information modeling (BIM) for all of its high-value, flagship projects. The goal being a savings of $500 million on two projects alone by proactively resolving conflicts in different stakeholder designs and verifying material quantity needs.

    We helped convert all project specifications into BIM and established a single database, restructured the project team to support the new way of working, and created ready-to-use dashboards for leadership reviews. This has provided the client with a more-than-1,000 line-item cost database for use in future projects and has already saved more than 5 percent from original estimates.

  • Leveraging advanced analytics to identify drivers of productivity loss in a major oil and gas company’s engineering teams, spanning six product lines and more than 100 geographic locations.

    Based on the findings, we helped pilot key improvement initiatives and then launched a transformation program to improve productivity across the organization. In total, 15 to 25 percent in productivity improvements were achieved on megaproject pilots, the organization saw an overall savings of 10 percent in engineering costs, and 20 percent in additional savings were identified via productivity gains.

Featured capabilities

We leverage a suite of digital solutions and strategic partnerships to support our clients in achieving successful, sustainable digital transformations.

  • Digital twin technology. We partner with a proven provider of digital twin technologies to help clients create 3D digital replicas for surveying, modeling, and virtual reality, and as-built to as-designed validation. Such technology can reduce project costs and schedules by up to 30 percent by changing processes in design, fabrication, logistics, and construction on large capital projects.
  • Control Tower. A McKinsey proprietary tool used to develop business cases aligned with owners' long-term strategic objectives. It enables rapid and effective decision making by performing analyses of the progress, economics, and risk associated with the project.
  • Portfolio Optimizer. A digital tool that rapidly generates scenarios of optimized portfolios under given constraints and objectives. It extracts portfolio insights through automated, customizable reports to inform capital-allocation decisions.
  • Advanced analytics. Our platform allows us to explain, optimize, and predict the performance of people, assets, and processes, leading to an average of 15 to 25 percent improvement in productivity on capital projects. We compare similar projects and finds significant drivers of cost overruns, schedule delays, and quality issues. We also help optimize resource allocation within real-world constraints and predict future productivity, allowing project leaders to use it as an “early warning” tool for targeted interventions. Learn more about advanced analytics with QuantumBlack


Steffen Fuchs

Senior Partner, Dallas

Jan Koeleman

Partner, Amsterdam

Jose Luis Blanco

Senior Partner, Philadelphia

Maria João Ribeirinho

Partner, Lisbon, Madrid

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