Extra Space Storage is proud to be recognized among the 2021 CIO 100 Awards by IDG’s CIO. For more than 30 years, the CIO 100 Awards have recognized innovative organizations worldwide that exemplify the highest level of strategic and operational excellence in IT.
“This year’s CIO 100 class demonstrates an amazing array of initiatives. Many helped their organizations thrive during the dark days of the coronavirus pandemic, whether by directly addressing new realities in health care or business or expediting digital adoption to adapt,” said Anne McCrory, Group VP, Customer Experience & Operations, IDG Communications, Inc. “We are honored to showcase these achievements and the spirit behind them at this year’s virtual CIO 100 Symposium & Awards in August.”
The team at Extra Space Storage is being honored for the successful implementation of Rapid Rental—a technology solution that allows customers to complete the storage unit rental process entirely online. Before launching Rapid Rental, customers had to interact with an Extra Space Storage employee in person to complete the rental process. Due to COVID-19, the ability to provide a fully contactless experience was critical.
“We set out to provide a seamless experience for our customers to shop and complete the rental process online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on any device,” said Bron McCall, Senior Vice President & CTO at Extra Space Storage.
Self storage leasing is quite complex, as laws for storage units differ by state. Leasing agreements are sizable documents and contain essential information for new customers. With over 1,900 stores across the United States, building an online leasing process that was easy for customers to understand and met each state’s specific requirements was an extensive undertaking for Extra Space Storage.
Additionally, Rapid Rental was launched in the middle of a significant website and property management system upgrade, creating a major challenge for the self storage company. Both platforms were only 50% deployed at the time.
“We decided early on that we would only build Rapid Rental on top of the two new platforms,” McCall shared. “This would cut the development effort in half, as it would not require support for the legacy platforms. In parallel, even with the added workload of Rapid Rental, we accelerated work on our new property management system to ensure the immediate benefits of these new products at all of our 1,900+ stores.”
Not only did the Extra Space Storage team overcome these challenges, but they also launched and fully implemented Rapid Rental in less than three months! “We built a cross-functional team—IT, Product, Marketing, Legal, and Operations—and gave them latitude to make decisions,” McCall said. “The team was presented with the problem and expected outcome, then given the autonomy to arrive at the result through whatever means were necessary.”
Extra Space Storage reaped the benefits of Rapid Rental almost immediately after implementation. But of equal importance, it was a welcomed way for customers to do business with the company. “One concern from the business regarding transactions done entirely online was that we would see a decline in customer experience, but that was not the case,” added McCall. “Customer satisfaction scores have consistently met or exceeded our expectations.”
“The exciting part is that we have many more enhancements to come for Rapid Rental. I’m proud of our team for leveraging new platforms and processes to deliver one of the company’s most valuable innovations in the last decade.”