Not many businesses are large enough to have their own postcode, but Brisbane Airport is an impressive organisation. At 2,700 hectares, Brisbane Airport is Australia’s largest airport and a suburb in its own right. It contributes $4.7 billion to annual GDP and flies more than 17 million passengers a year, operating nearly 3,000 flights a week.

Taking care of people is a vital part of an airport’s work, an ethos that extends well beyond those millions of travellers. For the 400+ people directly employed by Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), the focus is on the corporation’s core values: collaboration, communication, courage and care. In late 2022, the team saw an opportunity to invest in boosting two of those values: collaboration and communication.

Infographic displaying key statistics about Brisbane Airport

Legacy devices were slowing down communication

At the time, BAC team laptops were around three years old, and with more online meetings and remote working than ever before, problems with these devices were beginning to stifle productivity.

“When we used Teams, for instance, we could see performance issues,” says Chloe Findling, Program Manager of Commercial Services at BAC. “Users couldn’t have other programs open when they were on Teams, which meant they couldn’t take notes. Some people didn’t have headsets to use in meetings, which was a problem in a busy open plan office. And battery life had deteriorated, particularly in the baseline models. We knew it was time to upgrade.”

The problem was evident when the team crunched the numbers.

“The devices actually contributed to a reduction of productivity, with staff waiting for applications to load,” says Anthony Tully-Smith, ICT Business Applications Manager Technology.

“This led to poor performance of software and overall they just weren’t meeting our expectations."

BAC put out a tender for 550 new laptops and headsets, and 1,100 new screens; they shortlisted suppliers, then spent several months testing prospective solutions.

“We did extensive testing. There was no way I was going to accept a poor product, because our people are too important,” says Findling. “We were vendor agnostic; after testing on all the devices, Datacom were selected as our partner to deliver a contemporary workplace solution incorporating the Dell suite of products.”

The new laptops and Bluetooth headsets were rolled out in March 2023, with Datacom team members on hand to help with imaging and support, assisting users to learn the basics. New 27” 4K screens and web cameras were rolled out across the organisation in May 2023.

“A drastic improvement in performance”

Performance and productivity immediately improved once the BAC team got their new devices. Findling says the feedback has been very positive throughout the business.

“It’s been incredible – everyone is super happy. There’s been a drastic improvement in performance, and we couldn’t be happier.”

The project has enabled BAC to make major improvements to those two core values of collaboration and communication, and the devices have been purchased with longevity in mind.

“We were deliberately looking to ensure that we gave the organisation the right tools, not just for today but also for three to four years from now,” says Tully-Smith.

Aerial view of Brisbane Airport
New devices mean Brisbane Airport is equipped to continue making an impact.

“I would love to see these devices remain in the field for four to five years, but it does come back to that challenge, which is to ensure that these devices continue to provide value and are not causing any issues. When they are finally replaced, we're really proud to donate our end-of-life equipment to LiteHaus, which works with various community groups in Australia and abroad to help break the digital divide.”

That whole lifecycle plan is an essential aspect of any hardware project, says Ross Salisbury, Director of Datacom’s Product Solutions Group (PSG).

“We're looking to help our customers with discovery and acquisition, then provision and management and ultimately retiring their assets. You always want to get the highest level of utilisation, which adds the most amount of value in your business.”

“The question we’re always asking on behalf of our customers is: how can we get more life out of the product lifecycle? How can we get more out of that asset over a period of time, and minimise waste?”

A great partnership between BAC and Datacom

Working with the BAC team, Datacom delivered everything on time and on budget – and went the extra mile, arranging storage for the 1,100 monitors during the roll out.

“Small things like that are incredibly helpful, because we didn’t have any temporary storage locations available,” says Findling. “Our account manager was amazing and attentive, working extremely hard to get stock from different locations to deliver it as fast as possible.”

Datacom Business Development Manager, Scott Kaden, who worked closely with the Brisbane Airport team throughout this project, says the trust the two organisations share is a major contributor to their success.

“Trusted partnerships are the foundation of how both our organisations work. Our respective teams have built this trust over time based on mutual respect, honesty, transparency and collaboration. The BAC team are an absolute pleasure to work with."

"The co-ordination of this project over a large, distributed campus with complex organisational and security requirements meant that our teams needed a close working relationship with excellent communication. The BAC project team’s high level of professionalism and the detailed planning that went into this project helped the Datacom delivery team to execute this project successfully.”

Infographic displaying key aviation facts

The technology team at BAC is relatively small considering the size of BAC, so partnerships with trusted organisations like Datacom are vital to supporting the growth of the business.

“We feel that we have a great partner in Datacom in the delivery of our modern workplace hardware,” says Tully-Smith.

“It's been great to work with Datacom through our Modern Workplace 2.0 journey. I think that at its core, the alignment of values of both organisations, strong relationship management and a commitment to operational excellence has contributed to the success of this project.”

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