Business Needs and Challenges:
Initially, the client had a traditional IT infrastructure in a "hub and spoke" model, with on-premises servers hosted at headquarters. Remote properties connected back to the corporate network via VPN tunnels.
To achieve their ambitious growth plans, the client needed to overcome several challenges:
- Recover from the sudden departure of the client's existing IT staff
- Migrate existing systems and data to the cloud
- Develop method for IT to assess and quickly onboard/integrate new properties
- Manage large telephone, Internet and other circuit vendors efficiently
- Provide ability to quickly onboard and support a large number of staff with widely varying levels of technical background knowledge/roles
- Adapt to the growing demands of on-property networks to support new technologies (such as connected gym equipment, IP cameras, smart building controls, parcel lockers and common area Wi-Fi)
And of course, do all of the above while managing emerging cybersecurity risks.
- Fully-Managed IT Department with Service Desk
- Infracore deployed an on-site (later hybrid) fully-managed IT Department with an IT Manager, Systems Administrator and Service Desk support staff to manage the day-to-day IT operations. This team was onboarded, backed up and overseen by an Infracore VP. The IT Manager and VP worked to build out support capabilities - including after-hours support - and then focused on building and developing the IT roadmap to shore up systems and prepare the department to support the client’s vision.
- Infracore’s management of the department freed the client from the need to hire, train, onboard, cover for, develop and manage IT department personnel.
- Our experience in managing large, complex IT environments allowed us to effectively negotiate with service providers and brokers for everything from on-site wiring to internet and mobile devices. Our negotiations saved our client over $100,000 in the first year alone in these recurring expenses.
- Migration from On-Premises to Cloud infrastructure
- Infracore migrated the client from on-premises Active Directory to cloud-native Azure Active Directory. The client’s on-premises file shares were migrated to Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams. Endpoints were configured to use OneDrive for documents, downloads and desktop folder storage, as well as backup and versioning. Legacy servers were migrated to virtual machines running in Microsoft Azure. The brittle, on-site PBX telephony solution was migrated to RingCentral. All of this needed to be effectively managed, with preparation work and communication being handled at all levels to ensure as little disruption to productivity as possible. Infracore provided new user training material and hosted "lunch and learns" to support staff in the migrations.
- These modernizations eased the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the client was able to support a seamless transition to remote work for roles that did not require in-person interaction.
- Modernization of Endpoints with Microsoft Endpoint Manager and AutoPilot
- The property management industry generally experiences a high turnover of staff, so being able to quickly refresh and repurpose desktop, laptop and other endpoint computing devices is essential. Infracore deployed Microsoft Endpoint Manager to manage and align endpoint configurations to client requirements, and used AutoPilot to enable non-technical users to quickly get their devices up and running.
- The ease with which systems could be remotely deployed and refreshed reduced new site stand-up time, troubleshooting time and equipment shipping costs.
With the configuration of these endpoint management tools, the legacy Active Directory / Group Policy system was able to be retired, and the VPN connection between the remote sites and the headquarters was removed. This greatly improved the client’s security posture.
The client profiled in this case study has been an Infracore client for more than 8 years. The client has remarked to us several times they feel significantly better-positioned than their peers in terms of modernization and efficiency of their IT functions, a direct result of bringing in the experts at Infracore to tackle the technology issues, freeing them up to function on their core business of acquiring, developing and managing large multifamily properties. Infracore is proud to continue servicing this client.