With its investments in digital transformation already underway pre-COVID, property giant Mirvac was able to adjust to new circumstances quickly, according to its digital chief.
Not only did the company transition to a new finance platform during the last financial year, but it also implemented to a new operating model.
According to William Payne, Mirvac’s Chief Digital Officer, the business was well placed to respond to the digital pressures of the pandemic, having already invested in flexible and hybrid working environments.
“When the pandemic hit, and we were kind of forced into that remote working environment, we were actually already geared up for it, because we've been a very strong advocate of flexible working and people having choice. And so, in terms of the base technology required to support it, that was all there.”
Payne says that the company was “well equipped” for the disruption, and while it wasn’t without its challenges, the digital strategy made adjusting to these changes relatively straight forward.
“We took the opportunity last year to have a bit of a reset on our strategy, and also then have a reset on our digital operating model. So moving more to a platform style operating model, which is really about setting us up for the capabilities we wanted to deliver into the business going forward,” says Payne.
Mirvac continued to drive significant construction around a number of iconic buildings throughout the pandemic.
“What we then clearly had to do was really think about the practicalities around our asset environment. And, how do we support for example, retail centres, shopping centres, and create a safe and practical environment in which to allow people to continue to shop for their essentials.”
The company also made changes to its own office environment to be designed around hybrid and flexible work. Based on feedback from the Hatch innovation team, Mirvac is designing the office space of the future, and reimagining the most effective living and retail environment, says Payne.
“There's lots of experiments continuing around the organisation now to bring some of those ideas to life so that we can work with our customers and try them.”
In order to embed digital transformation throughout the business, Payne says that the challenge is to not only create efficiencies by automating tasks that were once done manually, but by “completely reimagining those processes, perhaps even eliminating them completely.”
Mirvac also has its eyes on cyber security as a key area of focus, with Payne outlining that the company treats cyber threats with “equal respect” as to any threat to the physical environment.
“Your ultimate defense in cyber, in a lot of cases, is actually your staff, and it's the people in the organisation. So, helping people to understand and be aware of the risk, not only to them at work, but also in their personal lives, and so on and so forth is, is really important.”