With an online presence becoming essential to its business, and facing an increasingly complex regulatory environment, Immo Bonehill needed to upgrade its underlying IT infrastructure.
Working with business partner CD-Invest, Immo Bonehill implemented a new IBM Power System S814 server running IBM i, as well as a brand-new package of business applications.
Gainsa reliable platform for extensive new online services
Overhaulsbusiness applications, improving customer service and easing compliance
Boostsin productivity estimated equivalent to adding more than one full-time employee
Business challenge story
Adapting to the modern web
As the real estate market grows more competitive, and the modern internet becomes more diverse, a strong online presence is increasingly important for firms to remain relevant. Belgian real estate firm Immo Bonehill saw an opportunity to make its online offerings even more attractive to consumers.
Damiano De Robertis, CEO of Immo Bonehill, explains: “We want our prospective customers to have the easiest, most convenient experience possible with our website — they need to be able to find what they’re looking for with just a few clicks. That kind of functionality shows that, as a vendor, you value your own customers’ time, which emphasizes the value of their custom more generally. For this reason, we recently decided to update our company website, to bring our services in line with what consumers have come to expect.”
At the same time, Immo Bonehill is under pressure to maintain compliance in an ever-more-complex regulatory environment. “There are a lot of industry standards and certifications we must adhere to,” says Damiano De Robertis. “That requires a degree of active checking and compliance work, enabled by our IT infrastructure. We felt that, on the software side especially, our existing compliance systems were clunky and laborious to run. It was that realization, along with the need to update our website, which led us to upgrade our IBM infrastructure.”
Upgrading business applications
Damiano De Robertis elaborates: “At Immo Bonehill, we have been running our website on IBM i since 1995. We knew the IBM system had the stability we needed long-term, but with this new server we gained the capacity to both upgrade and augment our business applications, as well as overhauling our website. Choosing a single IBM Power Systems server also helped reduce our total cost of ownership in the long run; it provides a degree of security and centralization we wouldn’t have achieved with a cloud-based solution.”
In addition to deploying the new hardware, Immo Bonehill and CD-Invest have undertaken a complete renovation of the company’s business applications.
Koen Decorte, Business Partner at CD-Invest and IBM Champion for Power Systems, explains: “As part of the general IT infrastructure renovation, we have developed a whole new package of business applications for Immo Bonehill, all running on IBM i. These include specific applications for things like insurance checks, building management, and even a program to manage holiday renting.
“Having specific programs for all these functions makes compliance much easier and means they can be more smoothly integrated into the new website. For example, there is now an integrated backend checklist for when a customer reserves a property online, which means Immo Bonehill’s online rental services can run much faster, while still maintaining compliance.”
Immo Bonehill has also taken advantage of the IBM i platform’s broad compatibility in building its new website. “The website runs using a combination of RPG and open source software,” says Damiano De Robertis. “All of it integrates seamlessly with the IBM i operating system, and all the images of our properties are hosted on IBM i. The system’s interoperability means we can offer customers a smooth, reliable browsing experience, along with all the extra features associated with our new business applications.
“Overall, we’ve been very satisfied with the support from CD-Invest. They have been our IBM business partner for more than twenty years now, and their diligent service and dedication to the IBM i platform have enabled us to realize its true business value.”
Creating a stable environment
Since deploying its new business applications and updated website supported by IBM i and IBM Power Systems, Immo Bonehill has seen a substantial increase in productivity and positive customer feedback.
“With the new applications running on IBM i, business processes are much faster than before,” says Damiano De Robertis. “We estimate that the amount of time saved since implementation is equivalent to the time spent by one and a half full-time employees in agencies without this kind of technology.”
Customers have also responded positively to the new company website. “The new website is much more responsive than our previous one, and we are getting great feedback on it,” says Damiano De Robertis. “The new backend features mean we can offer customers a smooth, feature-rich online service, while also easing compliance on our side.”
Immo Bonehill has been very impressed by the stability and flexibility of IBM i and Power Systems, and there are plans to expand still further in the near future. “We recently acquired another real estate company, Immo Service Knokke,” says Damiano De Robertis. “That will of course mean adapting our software environment slightly, but the scalability of the IBM Power Systems server means we can comfortably take on that task and then some. IBM has been a core part of our business strategy for decades, and with this latest upgrade we are confident that it has provided us with plenty more space for future expansion.”
Immo Bonehill is a Belgian real estate agency founded in 1981, offering properties for sale and rent, as well as operating successful holiday rental and building management services.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM i, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/it-infrastructure/power/os/ibm-i
To learn more about IBM Power Systems, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/power