Restoration St. Louis
Providing technology solutions for diverse needs
Originally started as a husband and wife team, Restoration St. Louis began rehabbing with just a couple of multifamily buildings and an SUV for their office in the 1990s. By the new millennium, Restoration St. Louis grew to become an 80-plus employee enterprise and expanded its abilities and expertise into real estate, development, design, construction and property management.
Today, FrontDoor, LLC — the entity that leases the apartments rehabbed by Restoration St. Louis — is one of the city’s largest providers of apartments to college students.
Each of the different companies within Restoration St. Louis and FrontDoor, LLC — design, construction, development, leasing — were on desktop PCs ranging in age and various operating systems. All were served by a maxed out file server and inconsistent email server located in the basement. Each arm of the organization was handcuffed to their own immediate work group, barely able to exchange spreadsheet files, let alone share contacts and email between entities.
Despite employing a full-time IT manager along with expensive, contract management services, they were plagued by regular crashes and incompatibility problems that seriously affected their productivity. In 2006, severe storms caused extended, citywide power outages that did more than just kill the lights. Their websites, phone system and connection to each other — and their hundreds of tenants — vanished. Once the power came back on, they called about CompleteCloud.
The first step was virtualizing the Restoration St. Louis network and their PCs. The company also faced several unique IT challenges. Attention was focused on improving efficiencies for several areas key to this business, including BlackBerry support, improving thin clients and allowing virtual access to desktops.
Focusing on Restoration St. Louis’ needs, CompleteCloud was able to improve efficiency overall in several key areas.
- BlackBerry support: Through CompleteCloud, Restoration St. Louis is now able to afford Fortune 500-level technology like BlackBerry Enterprise Server to sync the company’s field managers automatically with the home office’s Microsoft Outlook.
- “Chubby” clients: Thin clients are sometimes accused of being a poor match for graphic-intensive programs like AutoCAD. CompleteCloud engineers built custom thin clients (nicknamed “chubby clients”) with enhanced graphics abilities to keep Restoration St. Louis’ staff architect and draftsman working and connected.
- Mobile desktops: Ownership needed the ability to access their virtual PCs from home or the road. In case of a power outage at the main office, they now can simply take their laptop and log in to the entire company’s system from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Similarly, vital consultants were given their own virtual PCs so they could connect, communicate and contribute within the network as employees. When the relationship with a consultant ends, access to their virtual PC is simply “switched off” keeping prior email, notes and files as assets within the Restoration St. Louis network.
Restoration St. Louis is now saving more than $2,400 a month on their IT. Insurance, property tax and electricity are all now significantly reduced in cost. With these savings, the company can continue to grow as well as better serve their own clients and customers.