Complex data and file sharing needs
Zimmer Development Company is a large, national commercial and multi-family developer that has several different areas of business, including construction, leasing, property management, and support staff, spread out across the country. Each area of business has a multitude of documents and files that they deal with daily, so being able to quickly and easily access, work with, and share these documents and files is essential to running the business efficiently, maintaining profits.
As Zimmer grew, their data storage and file sharing needs became more complex. The number of documents and files continued to increase as they gained more clients and launched additional projects.
While they had made the jump from an onsite server to the Cloud, which took care of data backup concerns, they still had no good system to organize their files so they would be easy to find, access, and share. Compute speed was also extremely slow with their existing setup, causing wasted time. Due to the large number of files that required specific security, including pro formas, site photos, financial documents, and contracts, they needed a solution that would not only organize their files and offer fast uploads and downloads, but also provide high-level security.
In the process of researching options, Zimmer contacted Microsoft to find a Microsoft Partner to help them create and implement a solution. They chose Palmetto Technology Group specifically because we are a Gold Microsoft Partner, representing the highest level of competence and expertise with Microsoft products. Zimmer saw that our certification requires keeping current on rigorous competency tests, with demonstrated experience helping clients with the Microsoft technologies each test represents, along with references from these clients.
What We Did
Custom SharePoint Online Site
After learning Zimmer’s business and goals, we recommended a custom SharePoint Online site, which would address security concerns and allow employees to easily locate files that pertained to them, without having to dig through folders and subfolders. And because the SharePoint software is built light, it would operate quickly, solving their issue of wasted time waiting for files to be uploaded, downloaded, or moved.
Although each area of business had a variety of needs, all revolved around shared projects, so we created a system built around the different project types and crafted templates for each with predetermined libraries that employees would need for each project. One of the features included in those templates is task-based workflows—when a new project is created, tasks are automatically assigned to the appropriate employees.
To streamline the billing department’s work, we set up workflows that alert them of any changes requiring their approval that are made to existing documents in certain libraries. This saved significant communication time by eliminating the need for employees to email back and forth when changes were made.
For the property management employees, we created a file structure that not only allows them to store the various documents and information about each property, but also gives them a way to group their files by tenant, and a way to maintain an accurate listing of approved vendors to do maintenance on those properties.
We assigned specific permissions based on the function of each area of business, so everyone can access exactly what they need to, but files remain protected to those who are not approved for access.
Employees can now find, access, and share documents via an easy-to-navigate website environment.
Improved Collaboration. Better Productivity.
As each area of business began rolling out the new solution, they immediately saw improved workflow and increased productivity. Time that was spent searching for files and waiting on documents is now eliminated. For example, a CAD technician who frequently works with large files used to have to wait an average of 15 minutes for a file to open. Now, he says his files load in 19 seconds.
Employees appreciate being able to access files anytime, anywhere, making it easier for them to work while away from the office and saving them time when they’re in the field. And collaboration is easier and faster within the online system, reducing the need to rely on email while keeping everything organized by project.
Emily Moree, Corporate Counsel at Zimmer, recently shared that they’re pleased they chose to partner with Palmetto Technology Group. She says, “The level of expertise that you guys have over your competitors speaks for itself. We can’t afford to have downtime, so we need to work with the best in the industry. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else.”
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