Lyon Real Estate is a real estate organization that has been serving the Greater Sacramento Area for 6 decades, and consists of approximately 1000 agents in 17 offices throughout the five-county region.
The real estate industry has a unique set of business and IT needs, and Lyon Real Estate was struggling with IT issues specific to many real estate organizations, including the standardization of communication and collaboration tools utilized by a mostly mobile workforce. Prior to moving to Google Apps for Business, Michael Hava, IT Director at Lyon Real Estate, was managing and hosting Lyon Real Estate’s aging Exchange 2003 server, which was presenting cost and time management issues. A few of Hava’s duties include planning, directing and managing the programs and functions of Lyon Real Estate’s IT department, including the maintenance of the current IT infrastructure and the management of new IT initiatives. With both the cost and manpower it took to maintain the in-house equipment and the desire for increased collaboration, Lyon Real Estate decided to update their on-premise systems.
With an extremely mobile and largely remote workforce, and 17 offices located throughout the greater Sacramento area, Lyon Real Estate wanted a flexible IT solution that would allow for collaboration for agents either on the road or in one of their satellite offices. Before making the move to Google Apps for Business, agents had been using independent solutions, like DropBox, in order be able to access files while on the go. Hava knew that moving to the cloud was the best option to give Lyon Real Estate the mobility and collaboration the company sought after, while reducing infrastructure maintenance and costs.
Hava evaluated several cloud platforms and selected Google Apps for Business for its flexibility as a comprehensive collaboration suite, perfect for a workforce consisting largely of independent contractors and agents on the road. With infrastructure maintenance and mobility acting as big drivers for Lyon Real Estate’s move to the cloud, ease of use and adoption were also considered. Many agents were already familiar with Gmail’s interface as their personal email solution, and Google Apps for Business’ collaboration piece with Drive and Docs also factored into Lyon Real Estate’s decision to move to Google Apps.
Lyon Real Estate chose SADA Systems as their deployment partner to migrate approximately 1,000 users from their Exchange environment to Google Apps for Business, leveraging SADA’s deep expertise with the real estate industry. Lyon Real Estate followed a classic deployment model, working through 3 phases: the first deployment being for IT, then early adopters (a set of 50-60 users) and finally, the remainder of the users (in the case of Lyon Real Estate, 900+ agents). Hava also took advantage of SADA’s Outlook sync tool, for the few users who asked for some flexibility with using Outlook as their email solution. Lyon Real Estate also worked with the SADA Training department for customized training services.
Results and Benefits
“The Google Apps Suite is a phenomenal offer to everyone,” said Hava. “It’s a flexible enough platform to work with everyone’s needs, whether you’re located in an office or on the road. The ‘Work the Way You Live’ mentality is perfectly suited to our business needs.” The reception and adoption of Google Apps for Business has been extremely positive – with a multitude of remote workers, Google Apps has proven to be flexible for use across multiple operating systems and devices. Independent contractors no longer have to purchase collaboration suites independently, as before they were only offered email. With Google Apps, everyone has access to the same email and collaboration solutions, greatly increasing overall productivity in an organic fashion.