Getting digital with Defence estate service delivery

As JLL joins Defence’s technology panel, new software is smoothing out processes for a future-fit estate.

As JLL joins Defence’s technology panel, new software is smoothing out processes for a future-fit estate.

Blockchain-based voting systems, IoT-assisted energy distribution, and 3D printing for disaster relief are ways that governments have been using technology to improve security, efficiency, and sustainability the world over.

While these are digital feats at the big end of town, in Australia, another digital transformation is shaking up the way Defence bases are serviced and serve.

Processes related to contractor engagement and innovation business cases are now being digitised using integrated data capture, storage, and visualisation platforms. Meanwhile, a platform known as ServiceConnect automates the way Defence personnel can book services on the estate, including cars, meals, and events space. Previously, requests had to be submitted via a PDF.

Supporting Defence in the delivery of these digital projects is real estate, project management and technology company JLL, which has recently been appointed to Defence’s Information Communication and Technology Provider Arrangement (ICTPA) panel having undertaken numerous digital engagements previously for Defence.

"Joining Defence’s ICTPA panel is a validation of JLL’s technological capability and a great opportunity to merge our decades of knowledge of the Defence estate with our digital aptitude, says Geoff Camp, head of Defence, at JLL, which is also a partner delivering services across the Defence estate.

JLL, together with a key partner, Analytical Progression Pty Ltd – a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) – has demonstrated how Defence can access a broad array of digital capability from all levels of industry, and from companies large and small.

“Our aim is now to increase industry participation by partnering with other SMEs, Indigenous businesses and Veteran-owned businesses in the delivery of Defence digital projects,” Camp says. “This approach has been successfully implemented by JLL on other services delivered for Defence. The Defence mandate is unequivocally to be digitally empowered, and so it is an exciting and valuable time to be a trusted defence partner with a remit to support this journey,” he adds,

The new contractor engagement and innovation platform provides layers of functionality. It allows Defence contractors to submit, implement and track the success of solutions, technologies, and ways of working that are considered innovative in the way they enhance base services. The platform also provides an avenue for scientific breakthroughs from academia and Australia’s leading innovative companies to be incorporated into Defence projects and services.

Crucially, Defence owns the intellectual property of this, and its other digital initiatives and all platforms are built within the Defence Projected Environment (DPE). This significantly reduces the security risks and complications that might come with adopting off-DPE third-party platforms.

“Digitising the capture of estate services data will enable Defence to better track its capital commitments to various entities including SMEs and Indigenous businesses that are delivering capital works and services on the Defence estate,” says Richard Petchey, senior director, JLL Work Dynamics.

“All of this data needs to be reported up the line so when a minister asks for federal expenditure across constituencies or states, it is easy to access and visualise. The data is verified so that business names can, for example, be cross referenced against ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) and Supply Nation databases.”

For Defence and its partners, digital developments on the estate come not a moment too soon. It is widely recognised that Defence’s legacy processes have been hindering efficiency and the use of the latest technology. This was highlighted in the government’s Defence Strategic Review released in April 2023, which called on Defence to lift its capacity everywhere from nuclear submarines to workforce recruitment and retention.

In parallel, Defence is on a mission to operate in a more digitally centric way, increasing efficiency through digitising procedures and exploiting advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence.

“For a program of works (the Estate Works Program) worth over a billion dollars, the Defence estate’s new digital platforms are a game-changer, not only for what can be achieved with Defence real estate, but also for the personnel who rely on modern, high-functioning accommodation, the businesses working with Defence to modernise the estate, and the communities around the estate,” says Camp,

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