With about 100 employees and 20 consultants, the Information Technology (IT) department at Extra Space Storage is one of the largest teams within the self storage organization. The department is responsible for all of the computer systems (both hardware and software), networking, and telecommunications at Extra Space Storage—and without their work, our company wouldn’t be able to innovate and achieve our goals, let alone operate on a day-to-day basis.
To spotlight the IT department at Extra Space Storage, we spoke with Bron McCall, Senior Vice President of Information Technology, about IT’s work, recent accomplishments, and the ways in which they make us a better company every day.
Q: What are the IT department’s goals?
A: Our goal is always to be a partner to the business. We enable our company to succeed in providing the best customer experience, optimized and efficient business processes, and new innovative solutions that further Extra Space Storage’s mission.
Q: Are there unique teams within the IT department?
A: We have multiple teams with specific focuses to help us achieve our overall goals. These are:
- Breeze Team: Develops and supports the company’s Breeze application for the field.
- Quality Engineering Team: Partners with other IT and Web engineering teams to build quality into every step of the development process.
- SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) Team: Develops and supports the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure cloud environments, where the company hosts many of its applications.
- Web Team: Develops and supports the company website and National Sales Center applications.
- BI (Business Intelligence) & Data Migration Team: Develops and supports the processes that make all of the IT department’s data available across the company.
- Business Systems Team: Develops and supports all of the back office systems.
- POS Operations Team: Supports the day-to-day operations of applications like Omni and Breeze.
- Information Security Team: Ensures compliance with various data security requirements.
- IT Operations Team: Manages the servers, networking, and telecommunications across the company.
- Help Desk Team: Provides front-line support for any computer issues within the company.
- Store Networking & Onboarding Team: Helps with onboarding new facilities and provides ongoing support for telecommunications at these facilities.
- Product Engineering Team: Develops new products, including mobile and customer apps, that will enhance the company’s customer experience.
Q: Does the IT department’s work cross over with another department’s work?
A: Virtually all of our goals are aligned with other departments at Extra Space Storage. For instance, our internal Web team has goals that align with the Marketing department, and our internal Breeze team has goals that align with the Operations department.
Q: What word best describes the work done by the IT department?
A: Innovation—because we’re enabling new solutions within the business that will help continue the success of Extra Space Storage.
Q: What are some challenges the IT department faces?
A: We face technological challenges every day. With the speed of technology advancement in today’s world, we’re constantly needing to learn and leverage new technologies.
Q: How does the IT department promote morale and collaboration?
A: As a department, we subscribe to the Team Trek 7 Principles of High Performing Teams. Because virtually everything we do involves collaboration with more than one team, the 7 Principles act as our operating procedures.
Q: What are some of the IT department’s recent accomplishments?
A: We have a long list of accomplishments we’re proud of, but here are a few we’re especially happy to share:
- Getting to 100 stores on Breeze
- Replacing more than 3,000 PCs at our facilities
- Implementing Pactsafe for our digital signature solution on leases
- Moving our website to run on Microsoft Azure out of our data center in Denver
Q: Where has the IT department made the most impact?
A: I would say, over the last couple years, the biggest impact would be in the area of business process efficiency and cost reduction with all the system upgrades. However, in 2020, the biggest impact will be related to customer experience. While our customers do not use Breeze directly, it’s the foundation for all our product initiatives, mobile app, My Accounts, and core communications. These three products are customer-facing and will greatly enhance the experience for our customers. In addition, Breeze makes many common functions more streamlined for the store manager, which will indirectly improve the customer experience.
Q: What are some of the ways the IT department has displayed Extra Space Storage’s core values?
A: Innovation in the delivering of new solutions like Teams, Ring Central, and Breeze. Teamwork in the way that we partner with all the departments across the company to deliver solutions to meet their needs. Excellence in our focus on Quality Engineering. While we continue to enhance our capabilities, we’re now integrating a quality focus at every step of the development process.
Q: What future project(s) is the IT department looking forward to?
A: All of this year’s product development initiatives, mobile app, My Accounts, and Communications core.
Interested in a career with Extra Space Storage? Learn more about our employment opportunities.
This article is part of an ongoing series of department spotlights at Extra Space Storage. Check back for more!