Tolar Systems Delivers Improved IT Performance, Reliability and Accessibility
Tolar Systems Complete Care allowed Big Country Title to leverage the cloud to keep up with the rapid pace of change in today’s real estate industry, ensuring regulatory compliance and supporting the company’s growth in a highly competitive industry.
Big Country Title is an Abilene-based title company in the real estate and financial services industry. The company provides title research, title insurance and escrow closing services for real estate and mortgage clients in Abilene and the surrounding area.
The real estate industry is changing rapidly, becoming more dependent on technology to complete many processes that were once done by hand on paper forms. Providing top-notch service by implementing these new technologies was a critical part of Big Country Title’s vision for growth.
However, to make this vision a reality, Big Country Title faced some challenges. The first challenge was that they did not have a dedicated technology team to provide strategic guidance or to support the company’s ongoing IT needs. Instead, the company relied on an hourly “break/fix technician” whose role was to fix problems as they happened, not to prevent them or provide strategic advice.
Secondly, the tools that Big Country Title was using to conduct its business were older, based on outmoded DOS and client/server technology. These aging, legacy software applications had been inherited and frequently experienced application issues. Because of these issues, Big Country Title was actively seeking a replacement for this system.
These challenges impacted productivity for many Big Country Title employees and clients. The ability to perform title research in the field can save time for real estate agents, developers and oil and gas “landmen” to identify ownership of parcels. Unfortunately, Big Country Title was unable to provide this data to users due to the company’s existing DOS-based title research systems.
Data security and compliance were also concerns. Big Country Title also provides escrow closing services, handling large volumes of money with each transaction. Regulatory compliance is a critical business issue for escrow firms; Big Country Title wanted to demonstrate its commitment to best practices by implementing technology that was in full compliance with state and federal
regulations for title and escrow.
Said Nathan Lowry, Owner of Big Country Title,
“Today in our industry, the security threats that affect banks and larger organizations also threaten smaller companies. To protect consumers, even small companies are held to a high standard. To stay competitive and protect our clients, we need to apply technology and best practices that deliver value to our clients.”
What we did
Big Country Title recognized that the best way to meet these goals was to leverage cloud-based technology that could scale with their business, support regulatory compliance and best practices, and deliver secure mobile access to the company’s application resources.
Big Country Title chose Microsoft Office 365 productivity and collaboration tools, as well as a cloud-based replacement for its title search applications. The company also opted to replace the company’s aging servers and stabilize their technology infrastructure to support the company’s goal for growth.
These solutions were more than their previous break/fix technician could handle, so Big Country Title contracted with Tolar Systems to provide Complete Care, its strategic consulting and proactive technology management offering.
“We hired Tolar Systems because we needed a technology partner that could do more than manage our current technology,” said Lowry. “We needed
one that could look ahead and guide our future direction with technology and support our plans for growth.”
Tolar Systems had a two-pronged approach to managing the challenges presented by Big Country Title. First, was the implementation of new technology to replace the company’s legacy systems. Second, was ongoing maintenance and strategic support with its Complete Care managed service offering.
New technology implemented by Tolar Systems included:
Office 365. Implementing Office 365 allowed Big Country Title to share calendars within its office to streamline closings by providing greater visibility into individual and room availability.
Skype for Business. Tolar Systems implemented Skype to provide the communication tools the Big Country Title team needed to improve productivity within its existing office and would position it to add new locations.
Docusign. Tolar Systems implemented Docusign electronic signature software and provided training to facilitate transaction workflows and document management.
Surface tablets. Tolar Systems implemented new Surface Pro tablets with Big Country Title’s branding to help improve business efficiency and bring the team up to date with technology.
Once these systems were implemented and stabilized, Tolar Systems also managed Big Country Title’s move to a new location.
Tolar Systems helped to manage Big Country Title’s move to a new office space. As part of the move, Big Country Title implemented Tolar’s Complete Voice VOIP phone system, replaced its wireless network and added a high-tech monitor and display system to facilitate closings and promote the firm’s social media presence.
As the first step in these projects, Tolar defined the technology infrastructure needed after the move. The phone system, phone lines and cabling had all been provided by the building owner in Big Country Title’s old leased space. The new space, however, was owned by Big Country Title and that meant much of the technology infrastructure needed to be built from scratch.
Tolar Systems took the lead in building out the needed infrastructure, planning and designing Big Country Title’s in-house server and equipment room layout, managing the electricians and other contractors that installed cabling and electrical wiring and handling permitting and other documentation.
Tolar designed and built a state of the art video conferencing and electronic display system so that deployed military clients from nearby Dyess AFB could use FaceTime to participate in closings and to entertain children who accompanied parents to closings. Tolar also designed a digital building directory and social media display for Big Country Title’s new waiting area. The new display system serves as both a marketing tool and a source of useful information for building visitors.
Tolar designed and implemented an automated phone attendant with IVR backup. This would allow a human receptionist to answer the phone in most cases, then transfer callers to a phone tree to reach individuals in the office.
This allows Big Country Title to serve clients more quickly and efficiently, while freeing time for more valuable activities such as research and closings.
Once the new space was ready, Tolar Systems managed moving the necessary equipment and infrastructure into the new location. To minimize impact on the business, the move was managed over the weekend. On the first day in the new location, Tolar also had a staff member onsite to ensure everything was working properly and to train employees on the new technical environment.
Just like having an in-house IT department, Big Country Title’s team didn’t have to deal with any connectivity issues on the day of the move. All they had to do was focus on moving in – and redecorating their new offices.
Said Big Country Title Vice President Misty Lowry,
“Tolar knew us and they knew where we wanted to go. They gave us the technology advice we needed and helped us plan our move. They handled everything for us so that it didn’t affect our business.”
Working with Tolar Systems has allowed Big Country Title to transform their business. They now enjoy state of the art infrastructure and support, along with the ability to better serve customers by delivering secure access to key business data to clients and employees from any device.
Best of all, the company’s cloud-based Office 365 productivity and other industry-specific business management tools have allowed them to improve how they handle their daily operations, and offer scalability that positions Big Country Title for growth.
In fact, it turns out that scalability is one of the major business impacts that Tolar Systems has been able to provide with Complete Care. Since bringing Tolar Systems on board, Big Country Title has not only been able to expand to a newer, state of the art office, it has also added capacity to meet the company’s plans for growth.
Having a reliable and professional IT partner that could provide the guidance it needed to make technology a core part of their business has made a difference at Big Country Title.
“In the age of security, we needed a consultant that was
professional and excellent in the industry to advise us of
what we need to do in our business,” said Misty Lowry.
“But I think it’s the people at Tolar Systems who make the
biggest difference. Anytime you call or someone shows
up, they’re genuine, they’re kind, and they’re helpful. They
always have a listening ear and that’s probably my favorite
thing about working with Tolar Systems.”