Lendlease Digital CEO reveals how Google Cloud will accelerate and improve services

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Property giant Lendlease announced this week a partnership with Google Cloud, which will lead to the business exiting its eight data centres and migrating to 100 percent cloud. 

In an interview this week with iTnews Digital Nation, Bill Ruh, CEO of Lendlease Digital, said the partnership reflects a digital transformation aimed at modernising the construction and operation of its global building sites. 

“We're completely revamping, and modernising, so that we're prepared to really help the business transform,” Ruh said. 

"That means moving to 100 percent cloud, getting out of our eight data centres, migrating our applications on top of it, and then building out our infrastructure on this modern set of capability using their cyber security, AI etc." 

The partnership is already driving customer satisfaction through the integration of AI capabilities, said Ruh.

“We redid our help desk call centre for our employees, cut our costs in less than half, had it up and running in seven weeks," he said.

"The satisfaction rate of using that interactive AI technology, and then going to a person if you need to, has had a tremendously positive impact.” 

The company also launched its property development and investment platform Podium, working with Google Cloud to realise digitisation opportunities for external customers. 

Ruh told iTnews Digital Nation, “They're helping us not only build it, but helping us with the go-to market around it as well.” 

The global scale of Google Cloud was a differentiator for Lendlease, as it looks to quickly replicate the Australian transformation in various company headquarters around the world. 

“Once we build it in Australia, we're launching it in Milan, and London, San Francisco, New York, and so on.” 

Ruh believes Google Cloud’s sophisticated language capabilities will be a drawcard for Lendlease customers. 

“We went to a completely online help desk. And when you call it, it understands many more languages. So we can deal with more languages for our customers, the languages they prefer, which has tremendous implications for all of our applications.” 

Ruh said that Lendlease’s technology overhaul is helping to access information from the digital infrastructure throughout the buildings, including IoT sensors, cameras and security systems.  

“We’re now taking all that data which existed, and we're using it,” Ruh said.  

“We've tested four buildings here in Australia in the last nine months," he said, with Lendlease Digital later confirming two of those buildings were International Towers Barangaroo, and Melbourne Quarter.

"We pulled a billion records off those buildings and now we're starting to understand how do people shop in them? How do they work in these buildings? And we think that that's going to change the experience that people are looking for, quite honestly, in a post Covid world.” 

Meanwhile, Alister Dias, vice president for Google Cloud in Australia and New Zealand emphasised an issue that is growing in visibility in the data centre world and is already a core product value for many global commercial property companies - sustainability and carbon reduction.

Dias added the companies would jointly help to spearhead digital transformation across the global property and construction industry, and "enable companies to drive towards a healthier, more sustainable future.” 

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