With over 11,000 homeowner communities under management, and that number set to more than double in the coming year, Frontsteps is a one-stop-shop technology solutions provider for any size property management or homeowners association.
Part of Community Investors, Inc, Frontsteps is one brand in a larger portfolio of residential community websites.
As a SaaS provider, it is crucial that Frontsteps has the infrastructure in place to allow their web services to truly shine for customers. There’s nothing more detrimental to the user experience than latency, downtime, or any interruption in service. Modern consumers expect websites and services to be ultra responsive, especially when they enable critical day-to-day operations such as security, building management, and front desk and concierge services. Frontstepswas satisfied with their former hardware provisioning vendor, but by the end of 2012, the company was experiencing a number of performance issues and struggled to get help from both a responsiveness and an expertise standpoint.
“Our past vendor was not providing sufficient performance for our platform,” said Tim Robinson, Chief Operations Officer at Frontsteps. “Also, we had difficulty getting timely responses from tech support, and that was one of the biggest drivers to go with Lunavi. They have a very supportive team, and are really responsive. In addition they understood what we were trying to accomplish in terms of performance and scalability without trying to push us to overspend.”
Frontsteps took this change as an opportunity to go exclusively to the cloud, and they made every effort to find the best cloud data center provider for their business.
“We did consider Amazon and Azure, but it was the personal touch in working with Lunavi that was the biggest driver,” said Robinson. “We needed to know we had the support required to maximize our growth curve; a partner that would help us grow and grow with us. We also looked at the cost model for what we pay Lunavi versus what we would pay Azure. By the time you check all the boxes for support and additional services, the other providers end up being really close in price to Lunavi, but with Lunavi we have a great working relationship across all departments, allowing us to focus on growing our business.”
Like many organizations that go all in with infrastructure as a service, Frontsteps needed guidance along the way to optimize the platform for their business and their customers.
“Lunavi really helped with machine configurations and had excellent resource guidance to help reduce any extraneous RAM and CPU usage from our previous environment,” said Robinson. “They also provided suggestions on laying out our storage infrastructure as well. Most importantly, we now have better interoperability within the network and within the application infrastructure and that has resulted in significantly better performance across the board; providing improved customer satisfaction and reduced customer service calls. .”
Just as in life, things change in IT, often without warning. With a scalable IaaS platform, Frontsteps is now able to easily keep pace with changes in technology or business strategy.
“One of the greatest benefits is the ability to quickly and efficiently go in and make changes to the environment,” stated Robinson. “Whether it’s a change to the storage configuration, CPU, RAM, or to spin up a new server for a development project; that level of flexibility is a welcomed change. We can also go in and change the firewall configuration through a web UI. If we’re starting to run out of storage they'll give us a heads up as well as offer to additional storage. It all happens in a very timely, responsive manner.”
In a mobile, everything IP-connected world, making sure the backend infrastructure is responsive to all of these challenges is quickly becoming job one.
“One of the segments we have moved into is access control and perimeter security,” said Robinson. “Take a gated golf course community for example. At Frontsteps we have a software platform that interfaces with the hardware so it manages all the profiles of people allowed to access the gate. For our customers, from their mobile device, they can manage their visitors trying to access the gated community, from anywhere. The remote mobile IP-connected future is happening now and it’s happening in every application you can think of.”