Case Study

Oxford Properties Digitally Unifies its Portfolio to Propel Global Expansion

Oxford’s global projects find a collaborative nexus in Procore.

The Challenge

Oxford Properties has grown from Canadian origins to become a global real estate innovator and investor. The geographic spread of Oxford’s assets made it challenging to parlay information and learnings from diverse regional projects into a united and actionable knowledge base.

The Solution

Procore’s platform removes barriers to inter-project information flow, allowing Oxford to aggregate their global learnings into increasingly powerful and informed strategic momentum.

The Results

“Our view is that Procore is a big part of creating a global development platform, where we can benefit from efforts in Australia, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region—where they're seeing some exciting things. Activating this sort of global pool of talent, this global pool of expertise—we see Procore as the centerpiece that allows that to happen.”
Dean Hopkins
Chief Operations Officer

Oxford Properties and the Challenges of Global Reach

Oxford Properties’ spread of $70 billion in assets across four continents speaks to more than mere acquisition. Oxford’s strategically global outlook is all about bringing deep, world-spanning expertise to projects that genuinely embody regional character and culture, and in some of the world’s most dynamic locations. Oxford’s breadth of development sectors—from office, retail, and residential, to life sciences, industrial and data centers—combines an overarching business perspective with an increasingly broad cultural empathy that positively informs their builds, developments, and investments.

The company’s deliberate forward motion even has a handle, says Oxford Properties’ Chief Operations Officer, Dean Hopkins. “Our president—Michael Turner—had asked that we think about ourselves in the future tense. He gave this directive the ‘4.0’ brand,” Hopkins says. The technology executive saw in Turner’s decree a growth initiative that spoke to him.

“4.0 is more than a mindset. It made me realize I could impact a global organization aimed at being one of the most compelling, most competitive real estate companies in the world. That's what 4.0 meant to me.” Oxford’s 4.0 initiative articulates the goal of bringing Oxford Properties to a place where they are maximizing digital and technological capabilities across global business units. Oxford sees this as key to optimizing growth, efficiency, and expansion. Oxford’s 4.0 Strategy focuses on three pillars: Strategic Planning & Alignment, Transformation Management, and Change Management.

Add to these elements Oxford’s award-winning sustainability triumphs, and you have an enlightened investment/asset management/development leader whose every project demonstrates anew their commitment to a global footprint based on immersion in local context.

Oxford’s geographically diverse successes, though, have made cohesion and global knowledge-sharing a challenge. “Oxford has come a long way from its origins as being a ‘Canadian’ office-centric company,” says Taabish Hasan, a Director in Oxford’s business transformation office. “Over the years, we’ve seen growth in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.”

“We have four very different development businesses around the world,” says Oxford Properties’ Chief Operations Officer, Dean Hopkins. “They're in very different states of maturity—they go to market and interact with their respective development projects in very different ways. They have never talked to one another or been able to benefit from each other's experience, each other's data, each other's knowledge.”

Wall being set up on a construction site

A Global Team On One Platform

Like any innovator running at full throttle, Oxford Properties sees an opportunity where some might see a progress-blocking problem. Did someone say global development platform? “One of the biggest challenges of an organization the size of Oxford is communication and connection across the globe,” affirms Nellie O'Keeffe, Oxford’s Director of Development for their Asia-Pacific team. “Particularly in Australia, we've actually got a great opportunity to bring in these new technologies and these new ways of working from day one, with how we see ourselves moving forward.” Hopkins concurs with an equally expansive vision.

“Our view is that Procore is a big part of creating a global development platform, where we can benefit from efforts in Australia, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region where they're seeing some really interesting things. Knowledge gained in those markets can translate to what we're doing in North America and elsewhere. Activating this sort of global pool of talent, this global pool of expertise—we see Procore as the centerpiece that allows that to happen.”

In the U.S., Procore also proved its mettle. “We've got a great project in New York City called 550 Washington,” Hopkins says. “It's the future home of a very large technology company that you all know. And it is a wonder. On that project, Procore made it possible to bring the owner, the general contractor, and the customer into the process together, which made for a smoother, more seamless delivery of this incredible project—on time and ahead of schedule.”

The effort to establish a global platform of shared, collaborative ideas and growth will depend not just on technology, but on the culture’s willingness to adapt. And Oxford Properties is leading the charge. Sarah Smith— Associate Director of Development at Oxford—sees such change as both means and end. “We're focused on doing what may be uncomfortable at times, and change usually is. We want to be better—and do better—at making change possible.”

Why Procore? Hopkins explains. “So I went down to see the Procore team in California and shared very openly how we were thinking. And I found a ton of curiosity, a ton of, ‘How does this work? Tell us about this. Wow, we'd really like to know more there.’ That was a really important watershed moment for us. We could actually see Procore as a great partnership that wasn’t trying to just sell us things, right? I mobilized a team of people to have a look at Procore, and they came to the same conclusion after spending time with the Procore teams. It’s a beautiful fit. And so we are where we are. Procore means collaborative benefits, process improvement benefits, scalability benefits, and financial benefits. These are what we see as a potential for Oxford.”

Oxford building

Technology and a New Approach to Work

“The relationship between Oxford and project stakeholders has evolved a lot,” says Lucas Denardo, Senior Project Manager at Oxford. “From what has historically been an employee-employer relationship, I’ve seen the evolution to a more collaborative partnership, which is paramount to driving a project to its completion. That allows for a happier group of people to work with, creates less stress around the job, and produces a safer environment. It’s an environment that allows people to enjoy doing the work.”

Procore’s platform offers a common space for collaboration, cooperation, and communication—and a knowledge base whose aggregating riches inform progress across the portfolio. Or as Smith neatly summarizes: “Procore is a one-stop-shop for the design team, for the contractors, for all of the internal stakeholders at Oxford, to all be able to view the same information in real time.” For a company with a wide geographic footprint like  Oxford Properties, the fluidity of information exchange is crucial. Procore’s cloud-based management model provides a framework on which Oxford can continue to innovate, growing from project to project on a steady diet of endlessly accrued, commonly accessible data––however diverse the projects. “Procore helps us all speak the same language,” Smith says. “I think that's massive.”

Oxford Properties has a big idea and is executing. “As we grow, we want to make sure that we're continuing to drive value for all of our stakeholders involved,” says Hasan. “To do that, this is where technology and process becomes so important. We're always going to be thinking about, what can we do next?” Dean Hopkins sees in Oxford’s leveraging of technology a certain inevitability.

“As humans, we see things linearly when the world is actually changing exponentially around us. If anything, the rate of change is only increasing. So the $200 trillion real estate industry has been around since people were stacking stones to build shelter. It hasn’t really been disrupted. Our view is that over the next five years, at least––maybe quicker––that's all going to change.”

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