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Positioned for success: Why Canada’s leading realtor was ready for the new normal

Published: November 27th, 2020 By: Glenn Weir

WatServ

As a frontrunner in the use of digital property search and interactive mapping technology, Royal LePage (RLP) was a step ahead of the COVID-19 crisis by already having many of the tools for remote real estate services. Foremost among these is a reimagined intranet portal created and managed by WatServ, a Gold Level Microsoft Cloud Solution Partner.

Modernizing an application and outsourcing the hosting doesn’t happen overnight. Working in consultation with RLP’s technology team to eliminate challenges inherent in the previous architecture, WatServ redesigned their application on Azure, taking advantage of the cloud to improve agility and eliminate the time IT spent managing a hosting environment. Not only did this save the IT team approximately 10 hours of manual work each week, but it also allowed the team to focus on improving the functionalities that drive business.

A thoroughly modernized web portal now allows the more than 18,000 RLP sales professionals working across Canada to access data, track momentum, post their profiles in an online referral directory, view individual sales pipelines, and monitor e-campaigns, contacts and tasks from a new CRM dashboard. By having the information they need, when they need it, agents report a variety of operational efficiencies, including a significant reduction in manual work and deployment time for new features and bug fixes.

Also important, the reinvented web experience addresses a number of challenges inherent in the previous architecture, including proprietary technology that made it difficult for the IT team to manage, insufficient support for hosting within RLP’s data centre, and the heavy cost of computing and staffing to keep things running smoothly.

In other improvements, Azure’s Web Application Firewall and other security features make data less vulnerable. Auto-scaling adapts services to meet user demand, and anywhere/anytime accessibility facilitates real estate transactions. Measurable gains springing from the partnership between RLP and WatServ include a 50 per cent reduction in hosting costs and the redeployment of one-third of RLP’s infrastructure team to support other business lines.

According to Eric Sun, Director of Technology for RLP, the adoption of Azure has been so successful that the company is considering whether to use the same technology to move other business lines to the public cloud.

“There were many moving pieces to our old web portal and it took many components to make them work,” says Sun. “It was essential that we overcome operational challenges and offer our users a cutting-edge, easy-to-use, robust design.”

With a global pandemic now disrupting the traditional real estate market, and the median price of a home in Canada almost 9 per cent higher than was just a year ago, RLP’s partnership with WatServ came just in time to ensure RLP thrives in the new world of remote sales transactions. Also important for a company that launched Canada’s first national real estate website in 1995, the new web portal reaffirms Royal LePage’s reputation as a technology leader.

Read the case study Canada’s Royal LePage Partners with WatServ to Modernize Enterprise Applications for more on how a fully outsourced and managed hosting solution positioned RLP for minimal disruption and maximum performance during a global pandemic.