Commercial Real Estate
Franklin Partners is an innovative and strategic commercial real estate development firm with offices in Illinois and Michigan. The firm’s typical approach involves purchasing undervalued real estate, adding rich value, and selling it profitably. Other properties are held and professionally managed by Franklin Partners’ team. It’s a lean, professional team — all focused on the firm’s mission. To ensure its technology infrastructure supports its efforts, Franklin Partners relies on the Managed Services Division of BT Partners.
"What makes BT Partners’ MSP program so good is the people. They are friendly, welcoming, and wicked smart. BT Partners continually exceeds our expectations. We never need to worry about our computer systems - they’ve got us covered."
A decade ago, when Diane LaVaque started work as a Portfolio Manager for Franklin Partners, the firm was smaller and had less sophisticated technology needs. “We had an IT person that came and helped us here and there,” she recalls. “As we grew, it was clear we needed a more robust real estate technology infrastructure and more reliable support.”
LaVaque says they spoke with their accounting firm, Miller Cooper, asking for suggestions. “They recommended BT Partners, the technology services arm of Miller Cooper. Their referral carried a lot of weight with us — we hired them straight away.”
With staff members all working capably on and within the firm’s properties, Franklin Partners appreciates that it can turn its technology over to equally capable hands. “One flat monthly fee covers everything,” says LaVaque. “While technology is critical to what we do, it’s not our area of expertise. It’s great to have one firm that we can reach out to regarding anything to do with technology.”
One of the first things BT Partners’ Managed Services did was create a cloud server for the company. Staff is often on the go yet needs access to documents and drawings stored on the company’s server. The cloud server application combines both security and mobility as it simplifies remote access to the firm’s file servers and promotes inter-office collaboration without using a VPN. “Before this, our server was in our office and we used Dropbox to share files,” explains LaVaque. “We had to pack up the server and move it when we changed offices, which was painful. Also, we wanted more robust security surrounding our server and access points.”
Toward the close of a development project, Franklin Partners always brings BT Partners in to create a wireless access network and firewall at the property. “Here again, if it involves technology, we call BT Partners,” adds LaVaque. “New computer purchases, new equipment, Microsoft Outlook licensing — it all goes through them.”
LaVaque recalls a redevelopment project where the firm was constructing an amenity level on a lower level. “BT Partners came in and did a study to determine the ideal access point location, the number of switches we’d need to accommodate our security and audio-visual equipment and specified the security software applications. They even worked with our security company to ensure the equipment was installed according to the design. That level of support and expertise goes beyond a typical MSPs service offering,” she says.
Some may say that Managed Services Providers (MSPs) simply provide a commodity — technical support and advice — and are largely interchangeable. Franklin Partners knows otherwise. “What makes BT Partners’ MSP program so good is the people,” LaVaque says. “They are friendly, welcoming, and wicked smart.”
As Franklin Partners grows and expands its footprint of holdings throughout the Midwest, it can do so with confidence that its technology foundation is firm. “BT Partners continually exceeds our expectations,” LaVaque concludes. “We never need to worry about our computer systems — they’ve got us covered.”