by Divina Paredes

CIO 100: Hawkins Group

Mar 24, 2016
Technology Industry

HANNES VAN ZYL, CIO at Hawkins Group, says ICT for the construction firm means efficiency and effectiveness.

It is also key to thriving in an environment impacted by the fast pace of technology changes.

“Technology is certainly creating a platform for us to build a business of the future,” says Van Zyl.

He leads a team of 13, some of whom are based in their overseas offi ces or assigned to work side by side with customers, design teams and construction partners on projects locally and offshore.

Hawkins Group’s recent projects include the upgrading of Christchurch Airport Terminal and converting Auckland’s diesel train network to electrical power. Offshore, it is working at the Nadi Airport in Fiji, and building geothermal power stations in Indonesia.

Van Zyl explains some of the company’s projects take place in locations that are sparsely populated and with minimum, if ever, telecommunications facilities. Thus, he says, the mobility contract implemented in the past year delivered massive gains to the organisation. The rollout of Skye for Business and Office 365 means teams can work from anywhere at any time.

The staff cut phone toll spend and fixed desk assets such as landline phones by using IP-based communication. They also use instant messaging, video calling, multi-party collaboration and presence and availability information across business units and with their work partners.

Hawkins Group integrated Skype for Business with videoconferencing systems from Polycom. “When conducting reviews and/or contract negotiation meetings with our joint venture partners and/or customer, this used to require multiple senior executives travelling to all parts of the globe. With the introduction of the Lync Video Conferencing system, the inefficiencies of travel has been drastically reduced making our staff much more efficient and productive,” says Van Zyl.

Van Zyl is keenly checking out developments in technologies like 3D printing and drones as these are already being harnessed in the construction sector in other countries. He foresees wider use of drones, for instance, in assessing damages or progress in a work area. 3D printers can also be used to build prototypes and even replacement parts, saving time and money for teams working in places that are not easily accessible.

He says major ICT investments ahead will continue in application modernisation, security/risk management technologies and systems operations automation with enterprise management software.