From Home Builder To Microsoft Buyer

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Less than a year ago, Schuck & Sons Construction of Phoenix was a fast-growth home-builder with a barely existent IT infrastructure. Now it's a Microsoft poster child of the future, emblematic, as least as far as Microsoft executives are concerned, of what can be accomplished by leveraging the Redmond, Wash., software giant's technology stack.

How did a wood-and-nails builder that didn't even have a computer network six months ago transform itself into a Microsoft success story that chairman Bill Gates himself recently showcased during a keynote address to hundreds? Simple: It hooked up with some former JD Edwards sales and integration specialists. Really. Here is the unlikely story of Schuck & Son's leap into the future.

"It was about the middle of last year when we realized that our systems couldn't keep up with our growth," says Mark Sidell, vice president of finance at Schuck & Sons. That's when company executives put their heads together and decided to listen to a pitch by Iteration2, an Irvine, Calif.-based Microsoft Solution provider.

Iteration2 scoped out what amounted to an "extreme makeover" for the company's IT systems and software solutions--fitting because the 39-year-old company was recently showcased on the popular television show of the same name.

"We wanted to not only bring the company up-to-date, but also create a platform around which it could start to differentiate itself and build a true competitive advantage for itself," says Iteration2 vice president Greg Carter. His company, thus, pitched Schuck & Sons on a complete Microsoft solution that included a mix of traditional Microsoft classic products, such as Windows Server, SQL, .Net and Microsoft Business Solutions including Xapta. Within a matter of weeks, the company that didn't even have a network in January could communicate with construction crews in the field, bill customers upon order and communicate with suppliers.

"In our world, construction is all about costs. And though we were growing quite fast, we knew competitive pressures meant we have to become more efficient. And Iteration2 did just that," Sidell says.

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