Seamless transition to software powered collaboration for trans-Tasman realty company
Global property group, Savills, wanted to reduce communications costs and power-up collaboration. Modality Systems crafted their transition to a single, software-driven Microsoft phone and collaboration suite.
How does a mid-sized, multi-office company quickly transition to a high-collaboration work culture? One company that’s recently made this change is leading property company, Savills. With nine offices across Australia and New Zealand, Savills employs an energetic, fast-paced workforce. Employee collaboration occurs across disciplines, and inter-office training is a near-continuous activity ensuring they have the latest insights when the property market is on the move.
In 2016, Savills wanted to increase flexibility for its employees by giving them the tools to communicate more easily and collaborate more intensively. The company’s challenge was ageing infrastructure. With a PBX-based phone system, employees were constantly switching between desk-phones, email and personal smartphones.
The company also wanted collaboration to be more dynamic so they could respond faster to retail, industrial and commercial property opportunities. This included reducing the time spent travelling between offices to conduct one-on-one training. What Savills wanted was a single, economical and easy-to-use collaboration platform that included everything from desktop telephony to application-sharing and video conferencing.
Established in the UK in 1855, Savills is one of the world’s leading real estate advisers. The company employs over 30,000 people across a network of 700 offices in over 60 countries. In Australia, Savills advises on all matters of office, retail, industrial and residential property. The company provides investment advice, asset management, project management and a wide range of professional and consultancy services.
In 2016, Modality Systems helped Savills create a software-based IP telephone and collaboration system, based on Microsoft Skype for Business Server 2015. This provides Savills employees with a collaboration suite accessible via desktop, mobile or tablet device. It means workers can assess colleagues’ work status, make calls, message and videoconference — all from a single interface.
Modality Systems’ consultants replaced Savills’ ageing PBX system with a fully resilient solution across two central locations, ensuring their phone calls always get through and they can collaborate even if there’s a slight disruption.
But no new system works unless employees know how to work it. To ensure a seamless switchover – and maximise employee benefit – Modality Systems devised a comprehensive plan for pre- and post-implementation training. This included one-on-one training, webinars, and consultants delivering tips and advice in person during regular working days.
Savills employees now enjoy the simplicity of managing all communication through one, integrated interface. This means interactions are easier to plan, track and archive. Today, busy employees have far greater flexibility in how they update and engage with each other. Their workstyles exhibit greater ease and speed. And no-one plays phone tag.
Savills has also saved on infrastructure costs. The new system required lower capital investment than a replacement PBX and it is also more scalable. Savills faces no additional costs to increase capacity, and the company can swiftly provision new staff members with identities that include email accounts and contact numbers.
One of the biggest benefits is a reduction in travel. Videoconferencing and desktop-sharing mean that Savills employees devise more advanced and intensive in-house learning programs — and deliver them without travelling between offices. This reduces cost and saves time. And with visibility over all interactions, everyone works more efficiently.
“The overall Skype for Business deployment from Modality Systems has been a fantastic experience. From a technical perspective, the lead Modality Systems consultant was superb, and he could assist with any issues that arose.
The Modality Systems Project Manager was fantastic across the whole project: any issues that she could resolve she was on to straight away.
Our in-house learning and development team has really benefited from this Skype for Business deployment. We previously used a third-party product to deliver training across our offices. Now we use Skype and we can collaborate a whole lot easier.”
Scott Garnsworthy, IT Infrastructure Manager - Savills