From thriving, mixed-income and luxury housing to bustling exposition centers and grand oceanfront resorts - Corcoran Jennison has developed and managed over two billion dollars in property since 1971. The full-service real estate company currently owns and/or manages 17 properties along the East Coast and in Texas - including apartment communities, office buildings, golf courses and several hotels, as well as the Bayside Expo Center in Boston, and the Ocean Edge Resort on Cape Cod. Corcoran Jennison employs over 1,900 people that staff the property sites as well as another 100 people who work in its corporate offices in Boston.
Through the years, the company has faced the typical demands of a thriving, growing business, including the related challenges of an escalating IT workload and increasing strain on its technology infrastructure. Not in the business of running a fully staffed IT shop, Corcoran Jennison turned for help to a company that specializes in IT services and solutions - iCorps Technologies.
Initially, Corcoran Jennison simply wanted to get a better handle on its existing internal IT situation - costs, staffing, productivity, and stability. The company felt it was treading water with its internal IT model. Its two-man IT "department" was in a perpetual reactive mode - with the majority of time focused on hardware issues and system maintenance.
iCorps performed a comprehensive, strategic audit of Corcoran Jennison's systems, technology, and business processes. Over the next twelve months, the company implemented many of the resulting recommendations, and hired iCorps on an outsourced, as-needed basis. "iCorps strength," says Chris Holmquest, Corcoran Jennison's CFO, "is the extent of IT services and skills that they can provide through outsourcing that we don't have available internally."
When one of its two IT employees left the company, Corcoran Jennison replaced the newly unmanned responsibilities with iCorps support. The company also asked iCorps to assume the role of IT director to provide the necessary leadership, direction, and project management for the internal/outsourced team. The IT director and Holmquest met weekly to set IT project priorities based on the business needs, and to determine realistic schedules.
The injection of iCorps' expertise improved Corcoran Jennison's IT processes and customer response dramatically. With increased efficiency, there was time available to work on projects that had been shelved long ago in favor of more immediate maintenance needs. This new momentum continued while Corcoran Jennison's IT costs remained flat.
When the company's remaining internal IT person left the company in June of 2006, Corcoran Jennison shifted all of its IT requirements to iCorps. Today, the IT company provides Corcoran Jennison with all aspects of a well-staffed and effective IT department, including an IT director, senior network engineers, a fully staffed help desk, and 24x7 remote monitoring - all to ensure stability, reliability, and long-term health and growth of Corcoran Jennison's critical technical systems that support its business.
Though changes have occurred gradually, with each stage iCorps has helped guide the evolution of Corcoran Jennison's IT support towards the goals of making technology work for the company and using technology to improve the experiences of the company's employees, property residents, and property visitors. More stable systems. More effective use of funds. Enhanced project management. Streamlined processes. Improved customer service.
By outsourcing all of its IT responsibilities to iCorps, Corcoran Jennison now focuses one hundred percent on growing its business. No longer struggling to keep up with the day-to-day IT support issues, the company now has the bandwidth and the expertise - through iCorps - to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise. And they have the funds. "Although our budget has remained flat, we're getting more things accomplished with our IT money," says Holmquest.
With more effective use of its IT budget, Corcoran Jennison has the flexibility to direct some of those funds towards more strategic investments - for example, purchasing new technology to support future business growth, and implementing new IT projects that will improve productivity and business efficiencies.
One such project will streamline Corcoran Jennison's remote access for its properties. The project will make remote access easy for all properties - and bring a level of consistency and stability - that will enable the remote users to get up and to speed more quickly, be more productive, and reduce their time spent troubleshooting access issues.
With the help of iCorps, Corcoran Jennison has shifted its focus from a reactive IT maintenance mode to making technology work more effectively for its business. Holmquest points out that "iCorps' breadth of knowledge has been critical" to this shift. "One IT person can't possibly do or know everything - our business is too diverse," he explains. "iCorps knows who on their team is best qualified to handle a project or problem, and they put them to work for us." Along with iCorps' efforts to produce a more stable technology infrastructure and happier end-users, Holmquest appreciates the IT company's unique focus on the business.
"iCorps' people are skilled IT professionals, but they also really understand business.
It's never a canned solution. They assess each problem or project individually and
provide technology options that are customized for our
needs - and that work for our business."
Chief Financial Officer