Commercial Real Estate Company Sparks Business Intelligence and Team Collaboration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution from PA Group
Hutton is a commercial real estate development, construction, and leasing company with more than 200 owned and managed developments, and more than 950 freestanding locations delivered. Hutton employs a team of over 145, and is licensed to build in 44 states. Founded in 1994, they credit their success to the ability to get in touch with their client’s mission and values and then deliver completed projects that reflect that vision while meeting their business goals.
Most real estate deals involve multiple companies each handling a piece of the process, beginning with land acquisition, then real estate development, then construction, and finally, sale or lease of a completed project. Hutton handles all of these stages in house. Their unique “cradle to grave” business model is more complex than that of typical companies involved in real estate deals, and introduces the critical need for constant, effective communication between divisions.
HUTTON SEEKS CONTROL OVER COMPLEX BUSINESS MODEL
Hutton began searching for ways to bolster communication between divisions. They kept data in Access databases and on various spreadsheets, and noticed instances where dates, information, and completion signoffs were correct in some places, but inaccurate in others. They had a need for a centralized data system that would increase data integrity, provide easy access to all team members who needed it, and streamline collaboration and handoffs between departments.
Hutton chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM because of its integration with Microsoft Office and its flexibility to handle complex business processes. They reached out to PA Group as a trusted, local Dynamics CRM Partner to build out their solution.
Phase I of the Hutton CRM project produced a set of custom entities, data fields, and business processes that manages single tenant developments. Beginning with the Working Site custom entity, the Hutton team develops a plan for where a tenant can go. They identify locations on Google Earth and Maps and fill in all relevant data. Processes are running simultaneously in Legal and Budgeting, with all divisions collaborating in the CRM environment.
Once a Working Site has been approved by a tenant, it is qualified and converted to a Job. The Job entity is where all construction and other processes are managed to the point where the completed Job is sold or leased.
HUTTON SEES BOOST IN INTELLIGENCE AND OPERATIONAL CONTROL
“Communication will be improved a thousand percent,” stated Brendan Taylor, IT Security Analyst at Hutton. “It will cut down the difficulty of trying to track down information. No more people-chasing around the building and phone calls. Everyone will be able to see all of the critical information about a job without having to bother somebody else for it.”
The next phase of Hutton’s CRM project includes a plan to create custom processes for their two other business units, multi-tenant and shopping center developments, which each have different processes. According to Mr. Taylor, “Once this is done, we’ll have our entire business in CRM.”
Hutton has benefitted from their Dynamics CRM solution in many ways. Company leadership is now able to run reports in real time instead of waiting for updates from each different business unit. The tedious leg work required to gather and compile information has been replaced with conversations about how business is actually going. The enhanced visibility across deals in planning, deals in development, and deals in construction, along with live financial information, has given Hutton a new level of insight and control.
THE HUTTON TEAM INCREASES OVERALL SENSE OF PURPOSE
The new system has helped inspire the company to follow through on commitments to standardize processes, procedures, and even nomenclature. Mr. Taylor expressed a new level of cohesion for the company, stating “there’s no more ‘just getting it done but not knowing how.’” These new standards have also made training new employees a much easier task. “We now have a way to show them our business from start to finish,” said Taylor.
According to Mr. Taylor, one of the most impactful benefits has been a renewed sense of value and meaning from team members. “A lot of times in a lot of businesses, people aren’t able to see how much their work matters in the lifecycle of a project. I think people can take a lot of pride in knowing that they are part of our company’s success. They realize ‘I’m actually helping get this thing off the ground, getting it built, getting it sold, and making a profit’,” said Taylor.
HUTTON AND PA GROUP REALIZE SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP
PA Group’s commitment to building a top-notch solution was recognized by Hutton, which placed a high value on the process-driven project methodology. “Having PA Group as a partner for this implementation helped us shine a light on areas of the business and expose inefficiencies and breakdowns inside departments and between departments. Without this process, I’m not sure what would have been the tipping point and the driving force to get it taken care of,” said Mr. Taylor.
Mr. Taylor added, “PA Group comes in with a professional approach, lays out a complete timeline, does great requirements gathering…our on-site person was a pleasure to work with, always on time, always ready to go, definitely a go-getter, very knowledgeable, always had answers. We went in with a tough situation and came out with a great solution.”