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Evans Property Group Case Study

Background

The Evans Property Group is a long established private property investor and developer, with a property portfolio consisting of Grade A investment properties with secure long leases together with a substantial development land bank. Evans is a major investor in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region. It has property assets include Minerva and Capitol Houses, 1 Park Row and White Rose Shopping Centre as well as substantial strategic land interests in the Aire Valley and a successful and growing non-property investment portfolio

Business Issues

Evans has offices in London and Leeds but also has many remote workers spread internationally including several directors and board members. Some time ago the business invested in an expensive conferencing system from Tandberg. This system was, by today’s standards, limited in functionality, inflexible and very expensive to maintain. The business was desperately in need of a modern communications infrastructure that would offer the functionality and user experience that is delivered by current unified communications toolsets.

It had become clear that the business needed to be able to effectively connect key stakeholders for the multi-million pound projects that the Group is engaged in on a weekly basis. Central to this requirement was the need to fully embrace the power of video conferencing and the collaborative sharing of information in real time – something that was not possible with the old system they had.

The effects on the business of this inability to interact through a modern communications infrastructure were being felt on the bottom line as stakeholders had to travel long distances to meetings and vital documents had to be transmitted to all parties prior to any engagement. This was driving up costs, reducing productivity and breeding frustration as it was not possible to work collaboratively on important documents. A new solution was regarded as a priority within the business.

The Solution

Firstnet was asked to recommend a solution that would address the issues being experienced by Evans and to deliver a future-proofed communications infrastructure that would equip the business for future expansion throughout what was becoming an increasingly global business.

The solution needed to embrace the latest technologies; delivering a fully integrated infrastructure that simultaneously provided seamless communications and lower operating costs for the Group.

Firstnet’s recommendation was that Evans move away from their current, dated system and set up Microsoft Lync throughout the business. With Lync on every person’s desk, a Lync video solution in the main board rooms with full Lync-enabled HD cameras and audio equipment, and Lync Enterprise for desktop to enable real-time document sharing, Evans had a state-of-the-art solution at a substantially reduced cost. Remote users were set up with Lync on their PC’s and iPads so they could use Lync anywhere on any device. The head of the company could even use Lync when sailing on his yacht – surely the ultimate test of having the freedom to work anywhere.

The Result

In addition to providing all the functionality that the business needed now, the solution also provided flexibility to easily grow, evolve or reconfigure the Group’s communications infrastructure in a simple and cost-effective way as the needs of the business, its stakeholders and employees change over time.

The saving on the conferencing solution alone reduced the operational cost from £9,000 with the old Tandberg system to less than £1,000 while substantially reducing travel cost for remote employees and stakeholders.

There have been many other business benefits, not least of which has been the greatly improved customer experience for those engaging with Evans Property Group. Communication is better and the delivery of information with the ability to show property details and support viewings more effectively helps decision-making onsite at large projects.

Lync has driven down costs, improved communication and collaborative working, improved productivity, reduced the number of face to face meetings in the business and speeded up decision-making as key stakeholders can be fully engaged in projects wherever they happen to be.

As Nathan Franks, IT Systems Engineer confirms, Evans Property Group has been delighted with the advice received from Firstnet and the system they now have:

“After the first couple of meetings we had with Firstnet it was clear that they understood what we were after and they did not try to over-sell us something which we did not need. Instead they laid out the Lync offering and explained its features and benefits.”

But one of the most crucial factors was the cost:

“Our old video conference system was costing a little over £9,000 per year in support and maintenance costs, where in comparison, for the same number of Video endpoints via Lync, it came in at just over £300 per year. The saving was enormous. So thanks to Firstnet solutions we now have a 21’st century video conference solution, which offers so much more functionality than our old system as well as allowing us a huge saving in the long term. We look forward to working with Firstnet on future projects.”

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