Sunway Group: Delivers sustainable ecosystem and targets 10x growth with Google Cloud

About Sunway Group

Established in 1974, Sunway Group is one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates with 13 business divisions, including core interests in real estate, construction, retail, hospitality, education, and healthcare.

The Group continues to lead innovation and sustainability leveraging its flagship Sunway City Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia’s model smart sustainable city and a “living lab” that brings together researchers, experts, and academia to generate real-world solutions for the betterment of the environment and humankind.

Sunway Group’s 16,000-strong team primarily across Asia is committed to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well, and continues to align business strategies towards advancing economic and social progress while minimizing environmental impact. For more information, visit www.sunway.com.my.

Industries: Real Estate & Construction
Location: Malaysia

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About Deloitte Consulting

Deloitte is a professional services firm that has grown in scale and diversity to approximately 245,000 people in 150 countries and territories, providing audit and assurance, tax, legal, risk, and financial advisory and consulting services.

With Google Cloud, Sunway Group is targeting a 10x increase in business through AI- and machine learning-powered solutions.

Google Cloud results

  • Provides access to technologies that can enable targeted 10x business growth
  • Creates opportunities to upsell and provide complementary products and services to consumers
  • Implements fast, accurate, data-driven decision-making

Achieves extensive operating efficiencies and delivers volume and revenue growth with Google Cloud

For many Malaysians, 800 acres of derelict mining land in Selangor, just 20 km southwest of Kuala Lumpur, was a blight on the landscape. However, the founder and Chairman of Sunway Group, Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah, saw an opportunity to turn a wasteland into a wonderland and drew up plans to execute his vision. Today, Sunway City Kuala Lumpur is a bustling township comprising condominiums, office towers, hotels, and convention centers, a multi-park attraction featuring the world’s largest artificial surf beach, a medical center, a university, and a shopping mall.

Sunway Group continues to operate as a conglomerate with interests in real estate, construction, education, healthcare, retail, and hospitality. The organization has 13 business divisions, 50 locations worldwide, and 16,000 employees.

“We operate the first sustainable ‘green cities’ in the country and continue to look for ways to drive this strategy and direction,” says Kevin Khoo, Chief Information Officer at Sunway Group.

“Nobody ever thought we could grow trees on this land—today we have more than 150 species of flora and fauna, certified ‘green’ buildings, smart energy systems that reduce costs, carbon and power usage, and we produce our own water.”

The business has established close relationships with a number of technology providers and began evaluating how cloud, machine learning, and AI could contribute to its mission. “Specifically, we wanted to use data to understand our customers better, reach them in a timely manner, and provide better engagement,” says Kevin. “Google Cloud was the first technology player that came to our mind due to its leadership in cloud and AI.”

“We were very impressed by the multiple dimensions of capability of Google Cloud.”

Kevin Khoo, Chief Information Officer, Sunway Group

Google Cloud the best fit

Sunway Group reviewed available products and services over six months before determining in early 2020 that Google Cloud was indeed the best fit for its business. “We were very impressed by the multiple dimensions of capability of Google Cloud,” explains Kevin.

The business also realized it needed help to execute its vision and accelerate its team members’ education in cloud and AI. “We could have delivered the project ourselves, but realized this would have taken a lot of time,” says Kevin. “We needed a partner to enable our vision and turned to Deloitte Consulting after reviewing its work and references.

“We engaged the Deloitte Consulting team on the understanding we would take the journey together and that they would help build the skills of our team, because we wanted to take this well beyond the first or second minimum viable product.”

“We worked closely with Sunway Group to materialize its vision of a smart, sustainable township, starting with the consolidation of data across all the Group’s seven consumer-facing business units and enhancing its team's skills on using predictive analytics to better understand its customers’ needs. We also helped to deploy Google Cloud technologies to drive sustainability and improve revenue and efficiency at Sunway City Kuala Lumpur,” says Chris Lewin, AI and Data APAC Lead at Deloitte Consulting.

The business focused initially on data analytics and visualization and, working closely with Deloitte Consulting, ran a subset of data through an architecture comprising Cloud Storage, data processing pipelines delivered through Dataflow, Cloud Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to classify and protect sensitive data and Cloud Key Management to manage encryption keys, a BigQuery data analytics warehouse, and Google Data Studio to create dashboards and reporting. “At first, we didn’t want to place all of our data in the cloud for automated cleansing, structuring, and flow,” says Kevin. “However, as we navigated the process, we realized Cloud DLP and Cloud Key Management would help us navigate local country policies around data privacy.

“As we began to realize the potential of Google Cloud, we put a larger portion of our data into the service and ran a larger number of integrations.”

The data security and privacy of Google Cloud has given Sunway Group the confidence to add data from more than 10 sources, including its customer relationship management systems, loyalty systems, other business systems, and university systems, to the service.

“We want to bring people skilled in predictive analysis on board right now in the hope we can grow the business 10x with Google Cloud AI and machine learning.”

Kevin Khoo, Chief Information Officer, Sunway Group

Pandemic sharpens focus

Like so many other businesses in Malaysia and worldwide, Sunway Group and Sunway City Kuala Lumpur experienced considerable disruption, particularly to its retail business, when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

These circumstances sharpened Sunway Group’s focus on the fact a sustainable city must be powered by an ecosystem that is itself sustainable. The business took the time to study data from its hospitality segment more structurally and, through Google Cloud, resegmented its customer base to determine the type of customers attracted to the hotels in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, the promotions and services that would be more effective in winning their business, and whether new partners needed to be brought into the organization’s ecosystem to deliver the experiences required. This capability will stand the business in good stead as Malaysia and neighbouring countries emerge from the pandemic and domestic and international travel picks up.

Driving revenue and volume growth

Sunway Group is now working with Google Cloud team members to use AI and machine learning to drive revenue and volume growth at Sunway City Kuala Lumpur. “We want to bring people skilled in predictive analysis on board right now in the hope we can grow the business 10x with Google Cloud AI and machine learning, as well as technologies such as 5G,” says Kevin. “Based on the first minimum viable product we have delivered in this area, we are extremely confident we can achieve this ambitious target.”

Kevin reinforces that Sunway City Kuala Lumpur and Sunway Group are at the very early stages of their journey with Google Cloud and are keen to look at additional products and services to realize their ambitions. “For every customer that consumes a service of ours, we want to know why and what we can do to provide other services that may be relevant to them,” says Kevin. “For example, students at our university come from every corner of the globe, and we hold graduation ceremonies every quarter. By knowing our students better, we can offer related services to their families and friends, such as rooms at our hotel 200 meters from the institution, leisure packages for holidays, shopping packages at our mall, or healthcare packages to their parents.”

“We are undertaking a lot of very exciting projects, and we hope with Google Cloud AI and machine learning, we can make them a reality.”

Kevin Khoo, Chief Information Officer, Sunway Group

Bringing IoT data into Google Cloud

Sunway Group is also looking to ingest data from Internet of Things solutions placed around Sunway City Kuala Lumpur into Google Cloud to expedite decision-making. For example, the business has placed sensors to detect the condition of public toilets and proactively trigger cleaning, rather than expecting its cleaning team to respond to complaints. It is also looking at solutions such as “smart mirrors” that will enable customers to try on clothes virtually in its mall, powered by technology that detects gender and age and recommends shoes and clothing.

“We are undertaking a lot of very exciting projects, and we hope with Google Cloud AI and machine learning, we can make them a reality,” says Kevin.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Sunway Group

Established in 1974, Sunway Group is one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates with 13 business divisions, including core interests in real estate, construction, retail, hospitality, education, and healthcare.

The Group continues to lead innovation and sustainability leveraging its flagship Sunway City Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia’s model smart sustainable city and a “living lab” that brings together researchers, experts, and academia to generate real-world solutions for the betterment of the environment and humankind.

Sunway Group’s 16,000-strong team primarily across Asia is committed to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well, and continues to align business strategies towards advancing economic and social progress while minimizing environmental impact. For more information, visit www.sunway.com.my.

Industries: Real Estate & Construction
Location: Malaysia

About Deloitte Consulting

Deloitte is a professional services firm that has grown in scale and diversity to approximately 245,000 people in 150 countries and territories, providing audit and assurance, tax, legal, risk, and financial advisory and consulting services.