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Sperry Van Ness goes Google

Posted by Kevin Maggiacomo, CEO of Sperry Van Ness

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Kevin Maggiacomo, CEO of Sperry Van Ness, one of the largest commercial real estate advisory firms in the world. They employ over 1,400 advisors and staff in more than 150 markets. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

As CEO of Sperry Van Ness, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve the work our 1,400-strong workforce does and how we do it. Implementing Google Apps across the entire organization allowed us to bring efficiency to an industry that isn’t traditionally known for being collaborative or efficient. Google Apps helped us solve workflow bottlenecks and process inefficiencies to move us beyond best practices to next practices. It has been a huge win for us.

There’s an old saying related to technology that “usability drives adoptability.” Getting everyone transitioned onto a single platform can be a challenge for any organization, but the learning curve for Google Apps was almost non-existent. Since all our tools -- Docs, Sites, Calendar, Gmail and more -- are all easy to access, they smoothly and seamlessly became part of our operating culture. Our entire organization went from implementation to total adoption in less than 30 days.

Creating a culture of teamwork and collaboration has been a key driver of our business model for years – it was just more difficult and costly prior to using Google Apps. Aside from email, chat, and conferencing, Google Sites allowed us to quickly replace our intranet. Additionally, Google Docs gives us an easy and secure way to collaborate on documents in real-time throughout the entire sales process.

In addition to the efficiency and productivity gains, the cost savings was a driver in our decision to use Google Apps. By moving our platform to the cloud, we dramatically reduced the cost and complexity of our IT infrastructure in favor of a system that’s faster and more robust. The frosting on the Google Apps cake is that we’ve been able to eliminate dependency on Microsoft products, allowing us to grow and scale faster. The discussions we used to have about platform scalability and synchronization have faded away, allowing us to spend more time on our business.

With great confidence, I can say that implementing Google Apps can resolve many of the workflow management, collaboration, and process automation issues that companies still struggle with -- it did so for Sperry Van Ness.