After merging with another property firm, Steffimmo found itself with an expanded portfolio and fragmented IT systems. It looked for a new, centralized system with scalability to handle future growth.
Steffimmo migrated its IT systems to IBM i running on IBM Power Systems in the cloud. This enabled it to create bespoke applications for building management and customer inquiries.
25%reduction in staffing costs enables future investments
Centralizedoperating system creates productivity boost
Flexiblesolution facilitates long-term adaptation and portfolio expansion
Business challenge story
Managing prestige property
Managing and maintaining long-term and holiday rentals can be a real challenge, especially when your portfolio includes high-rise apartment blocks with hundreds of individual apartments and renters. Belgian property management firm Steffimmo goes above and beyond many other property firms by offering year-round maintenance services for its rental properties in the country’s picturesque Knokke-Heist region.
Jeroen, CEO of Steffimmo, explains: “We offer a full range of building management services to our clients, including maintenance, compliance, and long-term property services. Since many of our properties are apartment blocks, where our clients rent apartments as second homes for the vacation season, it is important that we attend them regularly so that guests don’t arrive to find issues with their homes – especially during periods of high demand, such as the summer months when most of our properties are occupied.”
Steffimmo has recently expanded its portfolio of managed properties, thanks to a merger with another local property firm, raising the number of buildings in its portfolio from 86 to more than 150. As well as expanding its workload, the merger brought in another separate system for dealing with client queries and organizing maintenance services, making its IT efforts fragmented and difficult to oversee. The company began looking for a stable IT environment to manage its properties long-term.
Jeroen adds: “What we really wanted was to unify everything on a new, centralized system, with the flexibility to incorporate our existing portfolio while also leaving us room to grow further.”
Foundations in the cloud
Working with its business partner CD Invest, Steffimmo replaced its legacy operating systems with a cloud-based version of IBM i, running in a logical partition on CD Invest's IBM Power Systems S924 server, which utilizes the POWER9 processor
“By moving all of Steffimmo’s core infrastructure to the cloud, we have helped save a great deal of space which would otherwise house the physical hardware,” says Koen Decorte, Business Partner at CD Invest and an IBM Champion for Power Systems. “But that’s only the beginning of the changes. We have also created a web-based application which allows Steffimmo’s users to access its systems and view data anywhere.”
“The application allows us to create and file maintenance reports on-the-go,” says Jeroen. “So, for example, if someone is performing routine checks on the plumbing or security systems at one of our apartment buildings, and spots a problem, they can log onto our IT system from their mobile phone and report it. Then, once the issue has been rectified, they can record that remotely as well. This will help make life easier for our staff, while ensuring a rapid and responsive service for our clients.”
The company also created an all-in-one queries system for its customers, centrally administered on IBM i.
"We now have both a telephone number and an online reporting system for any issues our clients may experience,” says Jeroen. “Both of them feed into our central system hosted on IBM Power Systems in the cloud, and are compiled into a single list that our staff can access directly. That centralization means we can respond to issues much faster, and ensure our clients enjoy their vacations with minimum disruption.”
Build high for happiness
Since implementing its cloud-based IBM i solution on IBM Power Systems, Steffimmo has seen a dramatic boost in productivity, enabling long-term savings and future expansion.
“Centralizing our systems on the new IBM platform has enabled us to reduce the amount of time we spend on core administrative tasks,” says Jeroen. “We can now use fewer resources more efficiently and continue to provide the same high-quality services. Our staffing costs have dropped by 25 percent since we made the transition, and that frees up capital we can invest in expanding our portfolio even further.”
The company also benefits from the stability of the IBM operating system, as well as the adaptability of its own custom-built solutions.
“The flexibility of IBM i gives us the scope to make changes to our IT systems without worrying about compatibility,” says Jeroen. “For example, the government recently introduced a new set of elevator safety standards, which meant all our properties needed to be inspected and have safety certificates issued. All those inspections and certificates are now handled by our own custom applications running on IBM i in the cloud. The power to implement these changes so smoothly is a key indication that we can rely on the IBM platform long-term.”
Steffimmo is expecting to grow its property portfolio even further in the near future.
“We are likely to be managing up to 200 buildings within the next year, more than double what we had just a year ago,” Jeroen concludes. “With the scalability of the IBM technology, we are confident in our ability to handle this growth, and we expect IBM will continue providing us with a stable business foundation for many years to come.”
Steffimmo is a property management firm with over 25 years’ experience taking care of luxury homes. It is based in Knokke-Heist, Belgium.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM i, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: www.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 websites: www.ibm.com/it-infrastructure/power
CD Invest delivers ICT and business consultancy services to help maximize its clients’ business potential. For more information, visit cdinvest.be