RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Accenture asked 490 public infrastructure leaders around the world about their predictions for investments and action in a post-pandemic environment.
  • Nearly 80% expected a spending increase, suggesting that public infrastructure agencies globally are targeting big and long-overdue investments.
  • We identified three steps that are required for agencies to take full advantage of this once-in-a-generation investment opportunity and momentum.


Committing to investments in public infrastructure

New levels of funding for infrastructure projects provide unique opportunities to propel agencies into the digital age, developing infrastructure that is resident-focused, secure, sustainable, and resilient.

Strategic digital investments have enormous potential to make a real difference: helping agencies to make a major step-change towards providing communities with public infrastructure services that are more personalized, flexible, resilient, secure, and future-proof than ever before.

The keys to success will be employing innovative technologies and processes, digital transformation, and initiatives that make projects not only more affordable but more efficient and more sustainable in the long term.

Harnessing efficiency from opportunity

Historically underfunded by governments due to tight budget constraints and competing priorities; public infrastructure often lags behind the modernization curve.

The anticipated surge in investments and focus on this space presents a significant opportunity. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2040 the world will face a US$15 trillion gap between the funds required to provide adequate global public infrastructure and the amount being invested. It’s a projected shortfall being driven by multiple factors: cities and populations are growing, public transportation users expect increasing levels of responsiveness and service, climate change and natural disasters are putting more strain on aging infrastructures, and cybersecurity threats are on the rise.

The need for resilient, future-proof infrastructures has never been higher.

41%

of public infrastructure leaders list regulatory & compliance as a top-three pain point for their most recently completed infrastructure project.

79%

of public infrastructure agencies typically have three or more ongoing projects simultaneously. 17% typically have more than five.

37%

told us that customer expectations drove changes in digital investments over the past year.

New challenges, competing priorities

Public infrastructure agencies sit within a complex landscape. From regulatory limitations to data availability to securing funding, each agency faces a unique mix of issues. And since the sector is so multifaceted, there’s no “off-the-shelf” end-to-end solution for managing projects. This may be one of the reasons why nearly two-thirds of infrastructure leaders haven’t deployed new technologies (such as Cloud PaaS) in the past three years.

Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that stalled adoption and cost overruns are so commonplace. One study found that 85% of construction projects across 20 different countries over a 70-year time period experienced cost overrun to some extent, with an average overrun of 28%.

These are far from the only issues that infrastructure agencies must deal with. While most of them are planning to increase digital investment, there are several different investment strategies in scope. For instance, some agencies consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals to be main drivers behind digital investment decisions.

Providing a future-proof infrastructure

These steps will not only make it faster to complete projects, but also more future-proof and sustainable.

Develop a holistic strategy

Have a 360° view that identifies current pain points while predicting future challenges and digital needs.

Reimagine the role of data in infrastructure

Anticipate and architect the future role of digital and data in your organization.

Bring together ecosystem partners

Break down industry silos with a collaborative approach designed to deliver on the end-user’s needs in the long term.

View All

Moving forward

By developing a holistic strategy that balances short-term and long-term transformation, agencies can set a course for success that balances current needs with what future requirements are predicted to be. This might mean, for example, updating legacy systems and infrastructure while considering anticipated issues in connectivity.

Similarly, agencies must reimagine the role of data and digital. Data provides the digital fabric for future-proof, resilient citizen experience. The right data can improve project oversight, contract management and citizen experience. And digital solutions can enhance safety, optimize project schedules, enable transparent supply chains and provide insight into the sustainable performance of infrastructure throughout the full lifecycle.

And finally, by bringing together ecosystem partners to maximize impact and minimize risk, agencies can avoid common pitfalls by partnering with organizations that have implemented similar solutions before. Access to knowledge, talent, and data can make or break digital initiatives. By choosing the right partnerships, agencies can bring together the best of technology and human ingenuity; not only making it faster to complete projects, but also making them more future-proof and sustainable.



The Illinois Department of Transportation has developed a new data-driven decisions tool to prioritize investments that deliver the greatest benefits.

– Metropolitan Planning Council

The window of opportunity

Periods of increased infrastructure spending are generally few and far between. And they are windows of opportunity that will not stay open forever. The keys to taking advantage are a balanced digital strategy, comprehensive data preparation and smart partnerships.

With these in place, stimulus funding can give agencies the boost they need to accelerate toward the smart infrastructure of the future. Now is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to future-proof, modernize, and connect the infrastructure ecosystem to foster sustainability and resilience.

Meet the team

Subscription Center
Stay in the know with our newsletters Stay in the know with our newsletters