Leading global real estate services and investment management company Colliers needed to modernize its deal management system. Having adopted OutSystems, Colliers delivered its new “Our Deals” system, which the company is now rolling out globally. One system that works for multiple countries, an improved user experience, and a newfound business-led agile development approach, are just a few of their achievements.
Mission-critical core system
Improved experience for all users
Six finance apps which started as experiments
Business-led, agile development
"Being enterprising and embracing innovation are crucial for Colliers. That’s why we value speed and cost to market of new solutions. Low-code development gives us an agility and productivity advantage that helps us meet business needs."
Keeping up with Industry Changes and Different Country Needs
Challenge - Colliers—a leading global real estate services and investment management company—provides expert advice to maximize the value of property for real estate occupiers, owners, and investors. It operates in 68 countries, has over 18,000 professionals, revenues of $3.5 billion, and $33 billion in assets under management.
Commercial Real Estate is complicated and extremely variable. Multiple parties are involved, and in any specific deal, Colliers can be acting for investors, the owner, or multiple occupiers. This variability made off-the-shelf solutions a poor fit for Colliers, so they built their own Deal Tracking System (“DTS”) to work alongside their CRM and accounting system.
Over the years, DTS required custom updates resulting from rapid industry changes, and diverse country-specific requirements led to the creation of multiple versions of the system. This complexity was placing a burden on Colliers’ IT department as they sought to keep DTS up to date. And each further change was becoming more difficult.
Colliers needed a better way to manage incoming and existing deals, as their Global VP of IT, Mihai Strusievici, explains. “In an effort to keep pace with continuous industry and organization changes, we knew we needed to replace DTS. At the same time, we decided to overhaul our whole approach to application development, to give the business the agility it craved.”
Future-Proofing the New Deal Management System
Solution - Colliers took a close look at the alternatives on offer but found no suitable ready-made solution. “We determined that customizing an off-the-shelf system would take just as long as building our own software,” said Mihai. “By building a custom application, we’d have a solution that exactly met our requirements.”
With agility at the forefront of their thinking, Colliers investigated several High Productivity aPaaS (“low-code”) providers. Mihai set the following evaluation criteria:
- The ability to design one system that would cater for the different rules, regulations, and tax regimes of multiple countries
- Ease of integration with multiple systems, including CRM
- Scalability to support 17,000 users
- Speed of development
- DevOps support to enable the fast roll-out of incremental changes
- Establish a foundation for an ecosystem of digital solutions
Following an exhaustive evaluation, Colliers selected OutSystems, and the two companies started working together in 2017.
Development of the new deal tracking system—now called “Our Deals”—was led by Colliers’ Finance Shared Services Division, which has an embedded application development team.
“Our Deals is the critical system at the center of our business,” said Sissi Arra, Senior Director of North America Finance and product owner. “Ultimately it will manage every deal through a lifecycle that starts with registration and ends with invoicing and ensuring payments such as broker commissions are paid. It’s also the repository for all deal documentation.”
Our Deals is essential for revenue recognition and has numerous regulatory compliance implications, which is why Colliers’ finance department owns the system.