Hawkins Group

Results and Benefits

  • Advances innovation
  • Delivers flexibility
  • Improves workflow
  • Improves collaborations

Polycom Enables One of New Zealand’s Largest Construction Companies to Create a Workplace of the Future, Today

Hawkins Group, one of New Zealand’s largest privately owned construction companies, was established 69 years ago. It has four core businesses: Hawkins Construction; Hawkins Infrastructure; Harker and the Canterbury Recovery Project.

Operating in New Zealand and internationally, Hawkins Group thinks of itself as bar-raisers, driven by a desire to deliver great projects regardless of location, size or complexity. Everything it does focuses on building better communities. It recently upgraded Christchurch Airport Terminal and converted Auckland’s diesel train network to electrical power. Internationally, Hawkins is working on Nadi [PH] Airport in Fiji, the first large-scale roading flyover in Papua New Guinea, and building two geothermal power stations in Indonesia. 

IT plays a key role in Hawkins ability to maintain competitive advantage and deliver great client outcomes. The complexity of its business operations and the need for anywhere, anytime communication led Hawkins to undertake a significant technology upgrade in partnership with Polycom partner Dimension Data.

Hawkins Group CIO Hans Van Zyl explains, “Hawkins IT needs are vast and many. We often operate in places where typically people aren’t located yet. So, everything we do is communications-based. Our biggest problem is getting effective communication to places where we are undergoing construction work. So, what does IT mean for Hawkins?  It means efficiency. It means effectiveness.”

The distance-defying fix was Polycom solutions integrated with Microsoft Lync Enterprise Voice, which provided an immediate way to connect and yielded profitable results.

“Polycom solutions with Lync have created efficiencies within projects through the Lync Client on user’s mobile devices,” said Van Zyl. “The integration of Lync with Polycom and cloud based software-as-a service consumption models such as Office 365 has also reduced our operational IT cost and complexity.”

Hawkins worked with Polycom partner Dimension Data to implement Microsoft Lync (now Skype for Business) and Office 365 across its organisation enabling it to start realising benefits immediately.

Van Zyl comments, “We can make decisions quicker. We can be more effective in the use of the building products that we use, the designs we implement. We are using things like Revit which is 3D up to 5D graphics to develop and design the products that will be delivered to the end customer. Now customers can see upfront what it will look like and how it will work. We can see where the problems are within the design that we get from the architects. This means we can pre-empt a lot of the challenges that would traditionally come up during the construction phase of the product.”

The investment in Polycom-Optimized Lync room Systems across Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch ensures an exceptional experience for clients. “The biggest benefit has been efficiency gains from better collaboration. We no longer need to ship large documents between people, a major timesaver. By having better visibility of people’s availability and communication at their fingertips, employees can get relevant information much quicker.”

The Polycom Lync Room System has also helped Hawkins connect its Christchurch-based team with Auckland head office. This ensures its Canterbury Recovery Team is able to get timely responses from head office on decisions related to earthquake recovery efforts.  

Polycom and Microsoft technologies are enabling significant improvements within Hawkins operational performance making it easier for teams to collaborate with impact, from anywhere. This includes Hawkins construction sites, often based in remote locations not yet serviced by the traditional communications infrastructure that many of us take for granted.

Van Zyl explains, “Working at the customer sites, the Lync implementation has opened up a complete new avenue for us. Construction teams traditionally used IM, now they have enterprise voice capabilities too, giving them full communications capability to link back to the mothership. The Lync Room System, in fact the whole Lync system partnered with Polycom technology has opened up huge capabilities for us.”

Hawkins people are now not only feeling more connected, they can get solutions to their problems a lot quicker, and remotely share that information with each other.

Van Zyl continues, “We also use the technology within the mobility space in areas like damage assessment. Taking short videos and shipping these back to the design teams in our regional offices.  The technology has opened up our effectiveness and efficiencies massively. Avenues for us that before we didn’t have.”

In addition to seamless conferencing, the benefits extend to keeping budgets padded. “We’ve had a quick win in the form of reducing our toll spend with the change from traditional telephony to IP-based communication,” said Van Zyl. “We are getting more for each dollar we spend as Lync has traditional voice communication alongside instant messaging, video calling desk-to-desk, in-house conferencing, multi-party collaboration, and availability information.” When customers, for instance, need to review Hawkins’ progress, video conferencing can cut out the cost of travel to work sites like Japan, and whittle meeting time down from 2-3 weeks of preparation to just the substantial 2-3 hours of interface time.

As a leader in the construction industry, Hawkins’ aim was to work with Polycom to install a voice and video platform that would help them communicate more effectively to keep standards high.  While it is early days in the deployment, Hawkins’ CIO is very positive about the role Polycom technology is playing to help Hawkins become a true workplace of the future, today. 

“Technology is certainly creating a platform for us to build a business of the future. What we have seen in the marketplace is that we now have people wanting to work at Hawkins knowing we are more technology enabled.”

“The technology has enabled us to work much more collaboratively with our customers, our partners and design teams around the globe. The technology has enabled us to take leaps and bounds, ensuring a much better product for the customer at a much earlier stage of the project. 

We are seeing a lot more staff engagement. People are actively attending meetings now where in the past it’s been impossible for them to do or very difficult. Now they are feeling part of an overall global team and our deployments in Indonesia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are starting to deliver real benefits in cost savings. While it is still early days, Polycom has certainly helped transform the way we do business within Hawkins.”