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Systems Transformation Case Study: Heaton Property

Award winning lettings agency Heaton Property manages in excess of 300 properties from its office in Newcastle.   The thriving business receives over 10 new instructions per month, so it’s not difficult to understand why it’s become so dependent on its computerised systems over the last few years.

The company’s systems have moved on considerably from the days when it used a single back-up network drive to hold all of its files.  Back then there were three staff; now there are ten, and the company’s systems have evolved to include a property management system which sits on a seamlessly integrated network. 

This gives the business the tools it needs to deliver proactive and consistently high service levels to its growing customer base.  Services which have been recognised on the national stage by The Sunday Times which has awarded Heaton Property a gold award as Northern Single Office Lettings Agency of the Year  2012 and Bronze Award for National Property Management in 2013 with special recognition for it’s transparent and paper-less approach to developing processes and systems.

Heaton Property relies on Synthesis IT for all of its IT and communications needs.   Zeno Rea explains how the company’s relationship with Synthesis has evolved: “We needed a company to provide a system that would tie everything together and look after things for us as IT is so complicated.”

“When we had the old system, we were limited by what the system could do. Synthesis’ approach was to ask us how we wanted to work, and they adapted the systems to meet our particular needs, and our way of working. This meant we were not constrained by the limitations of the technology but free to work the way we wanted to work.”

Now Heaton Property has a server, its property management system is at the heart of the business.

“Everything we do runs through this one piece of technology.  The business relies completely on this to function.  It’s very important because it makes everything work seamlessly and it means we all have access to the same information.”

“It also gives us an audit trail. We’re so data dependent, we rely on our system for everything, from managing contracts to placing advertisements, which are uploaded using the management software; everything goes through this one central hub including emails which come through to our smartphones.”

Synthesis also installed the company’s new telephone system.  When Heaton Property first started it had one telephone line, now it has a system that can handle multiple lines and gives functionality such as voicemail, with scope to bring additional features on-line when the business needs them.

Zeno explained little things have made a big difference.  “We can put someone on hold quickly without having to press five different buttons – communications are now so much easier and we’re in complete control. When we looked for an IT company, the biggest concern was essentially going from a position of being able to control every aspect, to handing over everything to another company.” 

“When Synthesis upgraded our systems it was very straightforward.  One day we had the old system, and the next day we had the new one, it was completely seamless.”

Synthesis now provide a combination of remote support and site visits to undertake repairs and make updates to keep systems running smoothly.  

“Having them on the line gives us peace of mind and we rely on them to do the things we can’t do.  They make changes such as adding a new employee to the system and giving them a username and password, simple, so we can get on and manage our business.”

When asked about the company’s future ambitions, Zeno explained that the company is looking to control its growth in order to protect its reputation for providing a high quality service. 

“Our ambition is to grow the company in a controlled way so that we do not sacrifice the quality of service we offer.  We are confident that we now have the technology and the right computing partner in place to help us to grow.”

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