“Our employees and sales associates are more productive with Office 365.”
- Kevin Keenan, Sr. Server Administrator, Alain Pinel Realtors
Real Estate Company Gains $100,000 Annual Savings with Office 365
Alain Pinel Realtors (APR), a well established real estate company founded in 1990, serves the San Francisco Bay area with 200 corporate employees and over 1,300 agents spread across more than 30 offices. APR prides itself in being a leader and innovator in the real estate industry–providing its agents with the most advanced technology tools to compete in a booming, competitive marketplace.
APR’s vision was to equip its agents and corporate employees with the latest technologies that would provide the highest value to its practice. As independent contractors, APR agents are constantly out in the field and need software capabilities that would allow them to access information and effectively compete anywhere and from whatever mobile device they are using. APR was previously running on Exchange 2010, which was limited in both functionality and storage space. Agents in need of additional storage began to utilize alternative solutions, which decentralized information storage and led to diminished returns and reduced collaboration efforts. They also lacked mobility due to the inflexibility of only being able to access their information from specific on-premise devices and channels.
From a technical perspective, APR’s IT team was also overwhelmed by the heavy burden on IT personnel of managing support and hardware costs, server maintenance and dealing with an antiquated archiving solution. Kevin Keenan, Sr. Server Administrator for APR, stated “We simply couldn’t maintain our on-premise environment or give our agents and users what they needed without investing an exorbitant amount of time and money.”
“APR prides itself as being an innovator in the real estate field. We lead the industry in technology and offering things to our agents that no other real estate company offers,” Keenan said. “For us, to not provide leading edge tools for our agents would be a tremendous detriment to our business.”
APR needed a solution that would give its agents better access to their data and contacts and that would ease management responsibilities for the company’s IT department. Office 365 emerged as the ideal platform for APR’s success, with virtually unlimited cloud storage and archiving, the ability to support large attachments, anytime and anywhere access to documents, and the flexibility to use the device of their choice. Office 365, backed by the power of the enterprise, also provided built-in security and the opportunity for virtually limitless scalability. The sophistication of Excel Online also provided the ability for buyers, agents, and lenders to access complex analytics during the purchase of a home, from anywhere. Keenan added, “The cost of staying with the old model vs. Office 365 was marginal at best. From that perspective, it was a no-brainer for us.”
APR, after evaluating several different cloud providers, chose SADA Systems as their Office 365 cloud transformation partner. In Keenan’s words, “SADA Systems really had a better understanding and overview of the project and answered all of my questions in a timely manner. Their portfolio of clients was also particularly impressive to us.”
APR deployed using SADA Systems’ 365in90 program, an accelerated strategy which migrates organizations to Office 365 within 90 days with key deliverables and tasks to stay on track. “Every phase of the project was incredibly efficient,” said Keenan. “Every time I had a question, SADA’s engineers knew exactly what occurred and had an answer for everything.” SADA Systems guided APR’s IT team through a pilot migration involving 100 of APR’s 2,000 mailboxes as well as 50 TB of data. They also built and configured APR’s DirSync and Hybrid configuration and trained APR’s IT team, familiarizing them with new admin functions.
Results and Benefits
To date, APR has realized $100,000 in annual cost savings not only from switching their security software to the system center protection manager built in to Office 365, but also in in time saved from not having to manage on-premise servers. “I would say that 15% of my time is spent managing exchange,” said Keenan, “I have saved valuable time allowing me to be more flexible and work on other strategic projects. “Our employees and sales associates are more productive with Office 365. We now have the tools we need to collaborate and share with our users anywhere, from any device. This will drive our sales and help us better serve our clients.”
Office 365 has provided APR’s agents and employees the competitive advantage of being the first to engage an opportunity and make an offer faster with ability to access, edit, and share all the necessary documents for an immediate transaction. Even if an agent is traveling, they can respond to an offer letter using their mobile device by signing into OneDrive, editing the information, and sharing the information with a client. “Important documents can be edited on the fly by several users in real-time. That efficiency means immense savings in time, and that bandwidth means more time for other deals. Our agents and employees are working better and more efficiently,” said Keenan.