top of page

What is
Digital Engineering?

Digital Engineering (DE) is an entirely new way of working, representing a convergence of master data management, business process optimization and emerging technologies.

With reference to AS 7739, DE is defined as collaborative way of working, using semantic data management to enable more productive methods of project delivery and asset management.

This page provides an overview of DE, and how it has evolved in recent years and some of my observations along the way.


Thinking beyond BIM

Over the past decade BIM has emerged as a significant catalyst for industry change; providing new techniques for developing data-rich 3D models, along with new technologies and processes for managing design and construction information.

Speaking from personal experience in various client roles, the introduction of BIM has offered a step-change in design coordination and project visualisation – and has now rapidly become BAU on major projects. These days key activities such as project planning, stakeholder engagement and construction simulation all typically rely on various aspects of BIM.

Despite the many technological improvements gained from BIM however, its overall uptake and success has been limited within the infrastructure sector. BIM largely evolved in isolation and has remained relatively disconnected from traditional project teams and existing business functions.


It has much potential, however asset owners have been missing out on realising the full benefits of true business integration.

Digital Engineering and data management

In the building and infrastructure sector, DE brings together the complete ecosystem of deliverables that are created over the course of project delivery. Key project datasets typically used in projects include site surveys, geotechnical survey, 3D point clouds, 2D CAD drawings, project schedules and many others.

Traditionally in the construction sector, datasets have typically remained siloed due to the current file-based approach to data management. Additionally, the metadata associated with each type of dataset has been developed in isolation, and lack interoperability or automated linkage across disciplines.

DE is centred on data modelling to represent all aspects of physical infrastructure and support all activities over the complete asset lifecycle. These models use consistent metadata architecture with semantic interoperability to ensure all datasets are machine-readable, and can be managed, exchanged, federated, and re-used in an ecosystem of linked databases.  


DE enables data integration across all stakeholders, creating a digital thread, supporting process automation, and allowing data to be managed more effectively as an asset.

DE Explainer.png

© Transport for NSW

DE DuckwithScarf3.png

The Digital Thread of data

Leading organisations are becoming more agile, powered by a core that is end-to-end digital over the complete asset lifecycle – otherwise known as the “digital thread” of data.


This concept is more than broad-scale adoption of new digital technologies. It represents the complete design of business processes and data architecture – aligning all stages of the lifecycle, with a seamless pipeline of consistent, reliable and interoperable metadata.


This vision for the future harnesses emerging technologies and data management capabilities, to create new, connected and digitally optimised services over the complete lifecycle of the built environment.


The “digital thread” will enable both public and private organisations to transform asset performance, boost productivity and to capitalise on new opportunities offered through digital technologies. The digital thread will also lay the foundation for future opportunities such as networked digital twins, smart infrastructure, and the holistic objectives of smart cities.

Building maturity with Digital Engineering

High quality, reliable data is a fundamental asset for modern organisations – yet it is commonly overlooked when delivering major infrastructure projects. Described as “the new gold”, robust data management capabilities are vitally important to the future of the engineering and construction industry.

Digital Engineering works to improve data management practices within organisations, to break down siloes, promote greater collaboration and to support the digital thread of data. This requires a step change beyond spreadsheets, data duplication and manual data entry across numerous project deliverables.

Digital Engineering provides the opportunity for organisations to address systemic issues with data flow, achieve greater levels of automation and boost their overall data management maturity.  


If you'd like to learn more about DE or how to kick-off business improvement within your organisation, please get in touch.

DE Mountain.png
Business Meeting

DE Business Strategies

DEOS Digital has worked closely with leading government agencies and major infrastructure projects throughout ANZ, to get them started on their journey with Digital Engineering.


We understand the key challenges facing client organisations, through many years of experience working within infrastructure agencies. We have also been a leading voice in the sector, having authored new standards, provided thought leadership and delivered DE frameworks for government organisations.


Our services provide in-depth analysis of business processes, strategic advice on industry best-practice and simple steps to plan and build internal data management capabilities.


We bring a unique perspective and a deep understanding on how to achieve real business change within complex organisations.

If you’d like learn more about DE, how to get started with DE on major projects or kick-off business improvement within your organisation, please get in touch.

bottom of page