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John Holland becomes cloud-first

John Holland is one of the most recognisable names in the building, infrastructure, rail and transport sectors. The company is currently delivering many of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects – from the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and Sydney Metro to the Australian-first Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project in Queensland – as well as water, property and urban renewal projects. Given John Holland’s significant portfolio of projects across the country, it needed to enhance its data management practices to cement its position as a market leader.

Recognising the need for change

The decision to embark on a digital transformation journey was driven by the realisation that John Holland’s legacy system was struggling.

“This led to conflicting data and business reporting from multiple sources, which resulted in poor performance. Additionally, the overall data infrastructure was becoming unstable with ageing on-premises technology and unmanaged load.”

John Holland decided to invest in a Data and Analytics Transformation Program to engage the business to drive the data agenda. But to leverage a modern data platform using cloud services, it needed to find the right implementation partner – one that could support its ambitious cloud-first strategy.


Envisioning a data-driven future

John Holland wanted a competitive advantage and aimed to be a leader in data and analytics in the construction industry.

"Our vision is to provide data to our people across the business … empowering them to make informed decisions with relevant data," says Travis Rousell, Head of Data and Analytics at John Holland. 

Based on their data profiles and use cases, both Koteras and Rousell knew that a lakehouse architecture pattern built on John Holland’s cloud platforms and services would serve as the core of their data modernisation platform.

As part of its transformation, John Holland adopted a modern Data Lakehouse platform with Databricks on AWS, empowering the business with a secure data platform and tooling. This included database, data processing and analytics workbooks, access to certified data assets, and the ability to ingest and model local data assets with their certified content.

Our existing systems were limiting our ability to provide a consistent service to the business that met their needs and to re-use our data effectively across domains and in more advanced analytics (AI/ML) use cases


Greg Koteras, General Manager Applications and Emerging Technology, John Holland

In our initial phases of work, we’ve been very successful in establishing the platform, methods and ways of working. Proving migration pathways and delivering new business value. This has built trust in our ability to deliver, and enabled belief in the ongoing program and journey to deliver over coming years


- Greg Koteras

Creating a data-driven future

John Holland’s journey towards a modern data platform was two-pronged. Firstly, the business focused on the migration of data to prove a method and pathway for re-platforming and uplifting its legacy data warehouse use cases. Secondly, it aimed to develop new capabilities to implement new business value and prove through an enhanced end-to-end data delivery lifecycle.

Empowerment through self-service analytics

John Holland’s Data and Analytics team operates as a ‘centre of expertise’ in a hub-and-spoke model, with various functions and projects across a diverse business community. 

“We need to have secure, highly functional capabilities to enable the business to drive their own local data value in an enterprise managed and scalable context,” Koteras says.

“With the adoption of our modern data lakehouse platform (Databricks on AWS), we are now able to empower the business with DataLab workspaces. We also have advanced analytics capabilities, giving our team the ability to drive development of new data and analytics assets.”

A trustworthy implementation partner in Deloitte

John Holland’s migration required its internal team to transform at a fundamental level.

This involved changes to its:

Business services: Enabling deeper self-service, communities of practice and data governance.
Ways of working: Uplifting their business-engagement models, demand/delivery management and data-delivery life cycles.
Technical skills and capabilities: Modernising architecture, knowledge of modern practices and technology, and tooling.

John Holland needed an implementation partner that could help provide leadership, hands-on skills and role modelling in core functional capabilities.

“We selected Deloitte not just because of their depth of technical expertise, but because of their ability to engage with the business and help transform our team’s capability,” Koteras says.

“The Deloitte team worked with us in a collaborative partnership to drive our agenda and facilitate engagement and development of our team. From engagement at the executive/sponsor level, business functions and technical teams, Deloitte worked as an extension of our Data and Analytics function.

“Moving forward, we will ensure we are business-led, leveraging our newly formed Data Leadership Council to identify and prioritise new business value across John Holland, and drive business ownership and engagement.”

Greg Koteras’ three major challenges – and how Deloitte helped solve them:

Learn more about the benefits of a cloud-first strategy and how you can modernise your business with market-leading technology from Deloitte and AWS.

Enhancing data discovery and modelling

With Deloitte's help, we conducted thorough data profiling and model discovery, which clarified our understanding and governance of data models and sped up our data-migration projects.

Upgrading technology capabilities

Some technology features were not yet mature enough for our standards. Deloitte applied their expertise, leveraging proprietary tools and recommending third-party solutions to establish robust data-platform standards.

Building capability of internal team

Deloitte worked with us closely to identify gaps in our teams capabilities, development pathways and led by example to facilitate and support development of our teams functional and technical capabilities to modern ways of working, tooling and outcomes.

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