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Why one real estate CIO is sold on agile

Clint Boulton | Jan. 12, 2016
A part of a plan to increase business value, Marcus & Millichap is embracing agile software development as it plans to refresh or replace several applications in 2016, says CIO Ken Sayward.

More application refreshes on tap for 2016

Microsoft is factoring significantly into Sayward's 2016 priorities, as he plans to move the company's 2,400 employees from Exchange to Office 365. The move will free up some of his staff from the chore of maintaining Exchange inboxes, but more importantly it will provide a foundation for Microsoft collaboration services, such as SharePoint, OneDrive and Lync, which he says will drive business value for senior executives, as well as the company's brokers. Microsoft's move to embrace iOS and Android within Windows software has reduced complexity for CIOs. "That's made it a lot easier for IT leaders such as myself to drive a Microsoft strategy," Sayward says. "Within my firm, we have a lot of people with iPhones, iPads, etc."

But Sayward is also on the hook for several other refreshes this year beyond iMpact and Office 365. In a 2016 kick-off video released last week, Marcus & Millichap CEO listed approximately 10 applications that will be replaced or refreshed during the year. These include a website overhaul, corporate intranet, and several line of business applications. Sayward is also planning to move email marketing from its current on-premises solution to the cloud.

Sayward's path to Marcus & Millichap reflects career changes in the modern age. The company's recruiting director contacted him, cold-call style, via LinkedIn. Although Sayward says he was happy at this previous position, he took a meeting to learn more about the opportunity and found his interest considerably piqued by promises of a seat at the executive table. "IT is not a cost center here," he says. "There's a significant appetite for leveraging technology to drive the strategy here and that's certainly attractive."


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