The Greater Boston Real Estate Board has partnered with iCorps Technologies to fundamentally rethink their approach to strategic IT. With careful attention to the needs of their employees and collaborators, iCorps expert consultants helped the GBREB recognize the opportunities of public cloud computing. They have seen continued growth with the Microsoft 365 Business Premium and remain invested in optimizing their subscription services.
The Greater Boston Real Estate Board is America’s oldest real estate trade organization. Since 1889, they have created a robust organization with partners who specialize in commercial and residential development, management, and transactions. They also invest heavily in education, advocacy, and philanthropy—ensuring that the next generation of Bostonians have every opportunity to better their city. Unfortunately, the years have not been as kind to their IT infrastructure. Their aging equipment was holding them back and preventing the modern innovation appropriate for such an organization. So, they reached out to iCorps, ready to embrace the next project.
Prior to working with iCorps, the GBREB had moved their line of business applications from on-premises to the cloud via a private cloud provider. Unfortunately, they soon ran into the complications that many businesses face when using private cloud providers. The quality of their service declined, and there weren't clear boundaries surrounding data ownership. Our cloud consultants recognized that a public, rather than private, computing environment would help ameliorate these concerns. Our technicians thoroughly evaluated their everyday business processes, the content generated, and how they used and stored their data. From there, iCorps developed a strategic road map to ensure a seamless transition from private to public cloud.
The first core step in the GBREB's digital transformation was fostering employee buy-in. They wanted a workplace environment eager to embrace change, so iCorps launched a pilot project: introducing the marketing department to Microsoft SharePoint. The pilot allowed iCorps to gauge usability and functionality while providing the marketing team a more intuitive data sharing and storing platform. Furthermore, this project successfully demonstrated the value of public cloud offerings from the end-user to the C-suite. The GBREB committed to a full-scale migration.
To ensure that the GBREB had a solid foundation, iCorps began by modernizing their endpoints. This involved migrating their machines to Windows 10, allowing them to fully leverage the Office 365 application suite and simplify their licensing. The move took place in-office, outfitting their employees with new application-layer security and access to sync engines such as OneDrive. The next step was thoroughly tracking the life cycle of their data. By carefully mapping their work processes, iCorps was able to ensure that the system set-up was intuitive for employees and didn't disrupt extant workflows. On a less granular level, iCorps wanted to ensure that all applications were effectively communicating with one another, data, and the overall system architecture. This was imperative to mitigating complications during the migration process.
As a member-based organization, the GBREB needed to provide and share information in a secure and dynamic manner. This had been a pain point in the past, as the company struggled to manage data, support the unique content needs of each department, and implement rules around the use and lifecycle of said content. iCorps moved the GBREB to SharePoint and OneDrive and established a security framework that would allow for secure content sharing and management. Both applications are designed to scale, supporting the GBREB’s internal and partner growth goals. Furthermore, the user-based pricing model has allowed them to reduce their on-premises footprint and backup by 70%. As a 501c organization, predictable IT spend has allowed the GBREB to better project the total cost of IT delivery, and better account for growing employee numbers.
Once their migration to Azure was complete, iCorps worked closely with the GBREB to tackle their next project: collaboration. The GBREB was using an aging phone system that caused many telephony challenges. Rather than focusing solely on telephony, iCorps took a holistic solutions approach. Our consulting team recommended Microsoft Business Voice – a centralized experience for telephony, messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration. The GBREB adopted Teams across all their departments, seeing the immediate benefits of chat and file share with SharePoint, then rolled out Teams telephony and conferencing solutions. Our consultants were able to scale use as the GBREB expanded and acquired another company over the summer. Within hours, the integrated parties had access to high-quality telephony and collaboration solutions. Our consultants streamlined the on-boarding process and can offer turn-key support as the GBREB continues to grow in the future.
When the world pivoted to remote work, the GBREB didn’t miss a beat. Their departments were already making use of Microsoft Teams, and the platform became even more integral to their success. It provided a consistent user experience, means for collaboration and team building, and highly efficient content repository. To support the on-going health of this remote collaboration, our consulting team made the most of the GBREB’s Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription. Our joint goal was two-fold: maintain a stable environment for employees and adopt more security services. They were using Azure AD for single-sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and conditional access. This provided consistent identity and access management across their IT ecosystem, SaaS applications, and Azure portal.
We also integrated Microsoft Defender for Endpoint across their company, providing threat and vulnerability management, endpoint detection and response, automated investigation and remediation, and attack surface reduction. Our security team deployed Microsoft Intune for mobile device oversight, and Sentinel for cloud-native security analytics. The layering of endpoint protection, SIEM, and data governance frameworks hardened the GBREB’s overall security posture while enhancing end-user awareness around best-practices. These integrations also greatly simplified the IT management process. The GBREB team now has a single pane of glass through which they can assess their network health, identify vulnerabilities, and support end-users.
The GBREB has seen a marked transformation over the past three years. They began with a cloud migration, SharePoint roll out, and cloud-based email Exchange. But their business and technological ambitions didn’t stop there. Since partnering with iCorps, they have leveraged their Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription to the fullest. They have implemented custom telephony systems via cloud voice, streamlined a merger and acquisition with Teams and Intune, and overhauled their security with offerings such as Sentinel, Defender for Endpoint Protection, and Azure AD. The investment in Business Premium gave their company the agility to pivot to remote work with minimal interruption and keep their intellectual property and employees safe. They greatly reduced their capital expenditures by eliminating most on-premises hardware, and Microsoft’s usage-based pricing model has allowed the GBREB to easily track monthly per user technology costs. This has eased both on-boarding and cost tracking and allows the company to scale services on demand. The GBREB has seen tremendous value on the platform and will continue to invest in their end users’ experience through Business Premium.
If your business isn't tapping into the benefits of the cloud yet, we can help. As an award-winning Microsoft cloud partner, iCorps is uniquely qualified to assess your business's cloud readiness and determine which cloud IT solutions support your goals most effectively.