Starwood Retail Partners, a shopping center asset management organization, acquires, redevelops, leases, manages, and operates a portfolio that currently includes 29 malls in 14 states across the U.S. For a company that specializes in bricks-and-mortar retail environments, Starwood Retail Partners wanted none of that for themselves. They came to SPR Consulting for help creating a non-traditional, completely virtual company with everything happening in the cloud. What they got was an award-winning solution.
Growing quickly, need adaptable structure
Starwood Retail Partners (“Starwood”), a division of Starwood Capital, wanted to move their infrastructure and systems out of the Starwood Capital domain and completely into the cloud. Starwood chose to build their company in the cloud to eliminate the management of an ever-expanding data center. As part of this initiative, Starwood also wanted a single sign-on approach and to embrace a BYOD (“Bring your own device”) policy.
Specifically, Starwood wanted users to have the ability to go to a single logon and landing page and access additional applications without signing in to those applications directly. All applications and supporting systems had to be based in the cloud. Since users would be using the devices of their choice rather than company-provisioned devices, they wanted very little installed on their devices to access applications. And finally, removal of a user’s single logon needed to remove access to all supported systems.
When SPR Consulting first met with Starwood, they had 10 different systems running independently. SPR’s proof of concept showed that they could bring all of Starwood’s systems together under a single sign on, using a combination of Windows Azure, Office 365, and Okta Enterprise Identity Management.
SPR Consulting’s vast experience building in the cloud
When companies actively pursue cloud-based solutions for accessing corporate business applications, the complexity of managing them on numerous platforms grows exponentially. From our vast experience building cloud-based solutions, the SPR team knew there were many issues to consider once a multi-application cloud strategy is deployed:
In three months, SPR formed the virtual company infrastructure and established a management reporting system leveraging a non-traditional operating model. Through aggressive automation implementation, SPR developed a system to support Starwood’s leasing and property operations. In addition, the cloud-based infrastructure SPR created could support real time analytics to approve lease deals, budgets, forecasts and acquisitions.
Award-winning use of automation
Starwood Retail Partners and SPR Consulting were recognized by Realcomm with a 2015 Commercial Real Estate Digital Innovation (“Digie”) Award for Best Use of Automation in Retail. In June 2015, SPR Consulting spoke at the Realcomm conference along with Starwood Retail Partners on the challenges of application integration and single sign-on.