The commercial management of infrastructure technology

Robert Mallett

Infrastructure Content Manager (RICS)

Most of us are familiar with the Oyster Card and contactless ticketing technology that has made major improvements to the travel experience across London.

London Underground

But how was the digital systems technology that underpins the delivery of these innovative services developed and implemented, and how is it maintained and kept operationally functional?

Sponsored by Transport for London, the latest RICS commercial management of infrastructure guidance note focuses on the technology that is crucial to the functioning of modern transportation assets such as the London Underground. Digital Systems and Technology in Infrastructure looks closely at the burgeoning infrastructure technology market, and, supported by case study evidence from Network Rail, demonstrates the significant opportunities it offers to present and future RICS professionals.

The new guidance sets out the key tasks facing infrastructure commercial managers responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the technology that modern transportation assets rely on.

Best practice guidelines

The note sets out best practice guidelines ranging from solution selection, to the management of intellectual property rights to systems integration and testing. It also sets out in detail the way in which TfL’s Oyster ticketing system was gradually deployed and subsequently transformed the modern transport experience across the UK’s capital, and sets out the key lessons to be learned from this experience by commercial management professionals.

In keeping with UK government policy, the note is conceived of as supporting the optimisation of whole life asset value, to ensure maximum benefits for clients, end users and, ultimately, the tax payer. As the Infrastructure Project Authority’s Transforming Infrastructure Delivery policy paper notes, ‘interventions to increase the use of technology and innovation to drive more productive delivery and smarter operation of our infrastructure assets’ are now central to the project delivery process.

RICS commercial managers will find much in this note that will support their role in the procurement, delivery and operational management of technology forming part of major infrastructure assets.

There is a mature body of insight on the commercial stewardship of investment in physical infrastructure and the need to better understand what works should, will, did cost and why. This guidance note is the first to shine a spotlight on digital investment, and ask the profession to consider its capability in providing commercial stewardship on digital systems and technology. Given the burgeoning investment in this arena, it’s a must read for every commercial manager.

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