Commercial Real Estate Map Search Case Study: Savills Ireland

Savills Ireland selected the Ascendix Search app to better their usage of Salesforce data. Now they have scalable and flexible CRM software with commercial real estate map search integration and advanced real estate map search.

Background

Cormac O’Reilly is a Business Analyst at Savills Ireland and Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I.

Savills is a global commercial, residential, and rural real estate service provider. The company offers a wide range of specialist services from sale, acquisition, and investment advice to valuation, planning, and property management. Savills Ireland has been at the forefront of the Irish Property market for more than 50 years and has been using the Ascendix Search app for about a year.

Ascendix: Please tell us about Savills’ history, its size, and the industry it operates in. A general portrait of your company.

Cormac: I work for Savills in Ireland. They are part of a larger Savills group. And there are maybe 250 people in Ireland. Globally, I suppose 30, 000 staff. But each country operates independently.

And that’s kind of a very high-level overview. Savills is mainly based on commercial properties. That is why we started using Ascendix for commercial property.

Ascendix:  How long have you been using Ascendix Search?

Cormac: Just over a year. I think a year, this month, or last month since we have signed up for AscendixRE.

Cormac O'Reilly
Business Analyst
countries locations icon homepage Ascendix software development
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Industry icon blue cases
Industry
Commercial Real Estate
Team size icon blue cases
Number of Employees
250

Ascendix Search is a massive timesaver. Within ten minutes we get precise lists of all properties we need. Before Ascendix, it would take us no less than four hours.

Cormac O'Reilly, Business Analyst at Savills Ireland
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Ascendix: Before you found Ascendix Technologies, what internal challenges had you had in your company regarding getting your data information set up, about searching anything? What were the main difficulties? 

Cormac: Before we came across Ascendix, we had been using a local provider in Ireland. So up to that point, everything had just been sorted in silos of each compartment and stored in Excel files.

There was no sharing of data across departments. And we soon realized that it was based on a platform license and a very low-scale company. We could not tailor it the way we needed to fit across different aims and let teams use it in different ways. Like, we are all a part of one company, but each team operates in very different ways.

That was something we realized very quickly with our provider that we were not going to be able to have a “one size fits for all” of us. We needed something with more scope that is why we came across Ascendix.

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Ascendix: Why did you choose Ascendix Technologies?

Cormac: Basically, Ascendix seemed like the best fish. There was a lot of functionality, for example, to be able to search real estate on a map was one of our key requirements.

We just had to draw a circle and could find everything in a radius, that kind of stuff. And there was one of the key things we have been looking for − a comparable database.

So, AscendixRE was by far the clear favorite basing. It was so awesome, really a close second.

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Ascendix: What did you lack in the Salesforce General Search?

Cormac: There are a number of things. Certainly, I was looking for comparable data, the best ability to search on a map, and being able to draw on a map, that kind of optionalities.

A huge draw for Ascendix Search is the flexibility to change fields that you search on, put necessary columns quickly as well to be able to put them into PDF or Excel reports, and format those.

There are a lot of benefits to Ascendix Search over normal Salesforce search.

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The Payoff

Ascendix: Have all the changes and the introduction of Ascendix Search reflected on your productivity? Did it help you to save money or save more time for calling? Have you measured it?

Cormac: To give an example, a colleague of mine last week was looking for all the shopping centers around Dublin. He was looking for all food and beverage units in shopping centers. So, he was saying that previously it would have taken maybe four hours to go through and look through every Excel file and put the information together. Then check and make sure it was up to date, whereas it took him 10 minutes to do it in Ascendix Search. So that is just one example of something where it has been a massive timesaver.

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Ascendix: What are the most useful features/entities for you?

  • Real Estate Map Search,
  • Advanced Search Options in Salesforce,
  • Lease Event,
  • Lease Type,
  • Market Localities,
  • Rental Values.

Ascendix Search Pros:

  • Easy Real Estate Map Search and Ability to Draw on a Map,
  • Flexibility to Change/Add Fields and Columns,
  • Comparable Database,
  • Easy Way to Export Reports to Excel/PDF
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Ascendix: What other apps from AppExchange did you use to make your work more efficient?

Cormac:  We installed Lightning Sharing. This is something that Chris Peterson (Senior Salesforce Consultant at Ascendix Technologies) recommended for sharing products, I believe you have already created your own solution in Ascendix Search.

We use Tableau to link a shopping center, a floor plan to Ascendix Search. We linked lease information to the floor plan so that people can see. We are still in the process of setting this up.

DatatableFSC was something that we bought for a property management team. Anyone who uses AscendixRE does not use it.

 

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Savill’s Digital Optimization Plans

Ascendix: Considering your experience with Ascendix Technologies and with data readjustment. Are you going to continue with further digital optimization in your company? And if yes, how are you going to do this?

Cormac: I would imagine we will. I guess our goal at the minute is to get everyone up and fully functional on AscendixRE because some teams are a lot further along than others. We have an old legacy system, Microsoft CRM for reporting all our fees and instructions and stuff like that. The idea is that we can get to a point where we record all that information in AscendixRE, and then we do a mass upload it towards the CRM system once a month.

For just creating reports, downloading, and uploading to be in our system. That is something that we are working on to manage.

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Ascendix Search Features

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Ascendix: What are the most useful features, tools, and functions that you use in our commercial real estate map search solution? 

Cormac: Map search is definitely a useful function. Just searching in general. It is massively cutting down the time it takes an agent to look for comparable data. We are finding that cleaning up our data, managing our data is quite a big job. Generally, searching for data and using the map are the most useful features.

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Ascendix Search Geo Mapping Tool Case Study | Ascendix

Ascendix: Do you use these custom pins on a map?

Cormac: We have set it up for properties. I imagine it would be something that we start using more and more. But for now, they just do not own property based on the different record types. I do not use it for anything else.

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Ascendix: How often do you use saved searches? 

Cormac: I would use quite a bit to save searches. I am quite familiar. It is a good learning curve. Some people started using the system first as quite a learning curve there and figuring out that they must save to search for themselves and share the parameters with some people. It is a good way for the researchers to start on the predefined form.

Ascendix Search Charts and Graphs Functionality Case Study | Ascendix
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Ascendix Search Filtering Tools Case Study| Ascendix
Ascendix Search Filtering Tools Case Study| Ascendix

Ascendix: What are your most frequently used parameters and operators in Ascendix Search?

Cormac: Lease events is a big one. Unit sizes is quite a big thing as well. For a lease quarter, it is a type of a lease that is, for example, a fashion unit, retail, food, or beverage. Things when you compare one shopping center to see what gaps there are for different types of units. Rental values, values, sale dates. Market localities to view the conditions as well.

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Ascendix: Do you use mass actions like mass email, mass follow-up?

Cormac: Not directly. We have a marketing team. They just print out the list, search for lists and inquiries, something that matches. They make a targeted standard e-mail list and Excel lists.

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Ascendix: Did you introduce any custom features to your Ascendix Search? If yes, what are they? 

Cormac: Yes, we have created some custom objects like Process Builders. I think there are some other apps we have installed.

We have created a NOTOR object called a lease event that is linked to a lease. It just shows important events in the lease or lease commencement expiration dates. We created a little visual Salesforce table that will show the lease events in chronological order. And there will not be any changes in the rent values. Our idea for doing this is that we have teams that would do a lot of work around rent views. And they wanted to be able to search for specific events as part of the lease.

This was something that allowed us to do that. We can search for a lease or lease event using these tools and search. They covered all our boxes in that regard. And that is probably the biggest change that we made to the standard functionality of AscendixRE.

Ascendix: What are the most important features in a real estate map search for you?

Cormac: I guess the ability to filter on the maps, sort the shapes. One thing that I do not think we can do in Google Maps, but we can do it in OpenStreetMap.

When you draw a circle, you can draw a circle with a specific radius, which you can only do in OpenStreetMap.

In Google Street Map you can look at units and then you can drop them on the street view.

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Key Takeaway

You may see from the story of  Savills Ireland, that flexibility and multi-functionality are the key things in commercial real estate CRM. The effectiveness and simplicity of the right CRM system will be paid off not only in terms of money but also in terms of time that you can dedicate to the business development to stand out from your competitors.

But if you have your own set of requirements for the Salesforce or Dynamics 365 CRM systems and would like to customize them to have a more competitive position on the market, look for a development partner with CRM expertise.

For more than 20 years, we’ve been offering CRM consulting and development solutions for different verticals including commercial real estate, finance, insurance, industrial manufacturing, etc. and will be happy to create you the most cost-effective CRM software.

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What are your core business values, what are you focusing on? 

Cormac: All commercial sectors: development, land, retail, hotels, offices, investment properties. And just a small residential practice focusing on country homes, more expensive residential property. There is a large property management section as well. And other services such as valuations were introduced. So it is a broad spectrum of commercial properties.

Ascendix: How long have you been in your job position?

Cormac: Two years.

What do you think are the most challenging aspects of your business, especially, nowadays in terms of COVID -19 situation?

Cormac: There are a lot of things up in the air at the minute. And we are not sure what is going to happen. I do not know what the reaction is like in other countries, but certainly, in Ireland, it is very much a wait and kind of game we are playing at the minute.

We had quite a big recession here maybe 10 years ago that we still have not fully recovered from. Brexit is also a large influence on things here as well. It was our initial concern coming into play this year. And then it was COVID-19. So, there’s potential for a double recession too.

How are you going to cope with these challenges and with this situation?

Cormac: Savills’ in Ireland general idea is when the transactional business like office leasing, office sales, that kind of business slows down that the property management team will keep the lights on, keep the business running. So, for the last couple of months, when we went into lockdown, the property management team has been quite busy dealing with offices, shopping centers, buildings that have been closed.

Ascendix: As an expert in the commercial real estate industry, how do you see the future of your industry? Probably, something will develop, something will disappear. What are your prospects?

Cormac: It is a difficult time to answer that question. Because it could be an argument both ways. Office space can be in big demand, there could be an increase because people get fed up working from home. We do not know what is going to happen. Currently, in our own building at the minute, they are just trying to make it over so that people have the right distance apart and space margin.

No doubt, it is going to be a big challenge to redesign old buildings and new buildings to specifications and to change how they are designed and laid out. And all that kind of talk from a residential property perspective.

I think the specification would change as well. I would imagine property prices, building prices will probably go up. I assume that people’s salaries will drop because of COVID-19 and fewer people could afford houses. A lot of unknowns again.