Deka Immobilien scales up in the Content Cloud
Powering secure property management collaboration
KEY USE CASES
Product & project planning
internal users adopted Box
users have a 90-day active rate
the volume of business assets created in a decade
Secure document sharing is table stakes in the real estate business, but was often conducted by email and USB sticks — and even paper copies
The 80-90K documents that one single acquisition could produce made it difficult to manage workflows
In a time when the company was quickly scaling up business assets, a global pandemic changed everything about the way people worked
The Content Cloud granted the ability to share documents and collaborate securely with both internal and external users
With its intuitive interface and targeted user training, Box rapidly experienced 100% adoption in Deka's real estate business
As the pandemic hit and employees went remote, "easy and safe" collaboration took on a new meaning
Growing globally and quickly — even in a pandemic
Deka Immobilien is the specialist for real estate investments within the Deka Group and one of the largest globally active real estate investment companies in Europe. A quickly growing and highly successful enterprise with a huge, diversified portfolio, Deka Immobilien has seen its business assets double in just ten years, an achievement that Dr. Frank Hippler, Head of Organisation & IT Real Estate, Deka Immobilien, says "was simply due to having a platform which supports this growth."
That platform is the Content Cloud, put in place in 2019 to position the organization for growth. The decision came from an IT philosophy Hippler describes this way: "Digital transformation is something which, due to our size and complexity, cannot be simply ignored." Here's the story of how Deka partnered with Box to grow quickly — and to weather pandemic shutdowns.
From static documents to fluid workflows
The initial decision to use Box for content management and workflows was easy for Deka. "When choosing a solution, we looked for a tool with which we could easily administer and exchange documents, with process at the forefront for us," says Markus Klug, Head of Real Estate Processes & ECM. "That is the big advantage I see with Box due to the different interface options."
Box adoption was smooth from the start for a few main reasons:
- The workstyle versatility Box provides in terms of file type, device, and app integrations
- Targeted user training
- Easier collaboration with external partners all over the world with whom they buy and administer property
Security is never an issue with the Content Cloud. Deka's IT team uses Box Shield to ensure that no unauthorized access is granted from countries where they have not commissioned service providers. In addition, Klug and his team monitor the files to ensure there's never any mass extraction from documents.
When Box introduced Relay, it allowed the Deka IT team to discover how they could carry out more efficient process mapping with documents. The wheels were turning efficiently for Deka's content management and governance. But astonishing growth, particularly from acquisitions, often leads to technology growing pains, and Deka Immobilien was hit with an extra layer of complexity when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
Already equipped to weather a pandemic
As Klug describes it, "We were all a little caught off guard by COVID-19 and were not prepared for leaving the office and working from home." Like every company, Deka was forced to innovate fast in order to get work up and running remotely. Luckily, he says, "With Box, we already had a solution, which meant we could also work with documents from our home offices, or wherever we were."
That was important, because Deka's business processes typically involve a lot of different kinds of documents:
- Architectural drawings
- CAD files
- Certification documentation
- Financial documents
- Photographs and other types of media and large files
In fact, if work were just about documents, Klug says that the company would have been ready for business from day 1 of COVID. Of course, during the pandemic pivot, there were other technology challenges Klug's team faced, such as getting employees connected to networks. But having the Content Cloud already in place made it significantly easier to navigate the other challenges, because Deka's employees were set up for secure collaboration from anywhere.
With Box, we already had a solution, which meant we could work with documents from our home offices or wherever we were.
Box as a content partner for growth
Deka Immobilien moved to the Content Cloud pre-pandemic to better connect content between dispersed internal offices and external partners, and that decision was prescient. Today, the real estate division of Deka Group has around 650 internal users thriving in the Content Cloud (that's 100% of DEKA Immobilien) — and 800 external users connected to the system. Impressively, over 80% of those on the Deka Box account have a 90-day active rate — a good benchmark for average collaboration.
But perhaps the most important proof point is that, as Deka Immobilien has doubled the number of business assets in its portfolio over the last ten years, the technology hurdles that typically accompany rapid growth and acquisition have been far easier to manage, with Box as a content partner.