Wednesday, 23 October 2019 22:34

Customer satisfaction, communication, insights key results of enterprise software stack says MJH Group CIO


Australian home builders, MJH Group, turned to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Oracle ERP to consolidate its thirty-year volume of data across its brands, finding big dividends in delighting its customers as they embark on some of the biggest financial purchases of their lives.

Established 30 years ago MJH Group found its disparate brands had correspondingly disparate data silos. Unifying under enterprise products delivered big benefits internally, and in the experience of regular Australian families with the Group finding new and better ways to communicate.

MJH Group has its roots in the Hunter Valley, NSW, launched in 1987 by Founder and CEO Bill McDonald as McDonald Jones Homes. The organisation grew organically and by acquisition in the time since underpinned by a humble approach and dedication to those seeking to build their own home.


This dedication is expressed in the Group's handover experience for its customers, providing a “handover box” with the home keys and items like towels. The purchasers receive this as they take occupancy of their new home to aid in celebrating the occasion.

Similarly, MJH Group implemented a customer portal after realising it was communicating with customers via multiple methods. Now customers have a central portal to log into with information on the stage the construction is at, along with explanations of what these stages mean, photographs, documents and other items to drive engagement.

The MJH Group brands include home-building divisions Mojo in NSW, Wilson Homes in Tasmania and Brighton Homes in Queensland; MJH Multi and Brighton Projects which focus on aged care facility development; Brighton Built, an investment business; Complete Homes, which builds homes and buyers choose off a plan; and MyChoice which offers conveyancing, home loans and a design studio to provide ancillary services around the home building process.

To make all this happen MJH Group employs 800 staff and 3,000 subcontractors to build around 3,000 homes annually. It is the number one home builder in NSW and in the top four nationally.

Yet, despite this successful background, the MJH Group leadership recognised their industry and the organisation were ripe for disruption amid a softening property market and needed to embrace technology in new ways.

This saw the creation of a new Chief Information Officer position and the appointment of Brett Wilson to the post three years ago.

Wilson had his work ahead of him, seeking to devise a strategy with long-term thinking but also achieving quick wins. Key to this, he saw, was enabling the Group's sales teams to better communicate with clients and understand customer demographics.

Wilson embarked on the search for an integrated platform to use end-to-end across the Group. With a large organisation and considerations such as regulatory compliance obligations for Japanese investors, he found Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Oracle Fusion ERP as the wisest choices.

Deployment began in early 2018 and the company is now entirely on the one CRM platform, and 80% on a single ERP.

The results, Wilson said, were "insights into demographic data we never had before," such as identifying conditions that lead families to visit display homes either more or less, as well as analysing the sentiment customers demonstrated towards the brands. Another insight was the anticipated average age of display home visitors, allowing the Group to resource display homes appropriately. “We were getting insights allowing us to take action,” he said.

Moving on from CRM, the Group began working on budget and forecasting with Oracle Finance and is currently looking to bring its HR and payroll functions to Fusion also, then core business functions like operations, construction, sales and warranty.

A change of this scale is "like changing both engines on a plane before flying," Wilson said. "We have to change the back office first then change the operational side. We have 800 jobs going on at any one time so it’s a big impact to make a positive change to the business, but has to be positive to the customer as well.”

"It's a system to lead us into the future," he said.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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