Thalhimer - Apto Integration
Thalhimer is the largest commercial real estate broker in the Central Virginia area, and has been at the forefront of the commercial real estate industry since the early 20th century. From leasing space in the first chain stores and regional shopping centers to leasing office space in the first high rise office buildings and marketing property in the first suburban office and industrial parks, Thalhimer has earned and maintained its role as an industry leader.
While history is important, Thalhimer is always looking to the future, driven by a continuing investment in technology and tools to ensure top-notch service.
In 2015, Thalhimer engaged COLAB to help integrate their broker and property information from Salesforce into their existing website. The new system we integrated with is called Apto, and is a CRM product for brokerages built on top of Salesforce specifically for managing customer relationships, properties, listings, deals and back-office.
The approach was to build a custom Drupal 7 module that would pull real-time property listings and broker information into Thahimer’s existing commercial website, Thalhimer.com, and to be able to manage that underlying content using Apto.
Building on an existing platform can be challenging.Because of the infinite technical implementation approaches, it is impossible to have full insight into the original intent and existing code
Another challenge was moving from an old system, called REApps, to the new system, Apto. The data format and structures, available fields, and so on were, in some cases, significantly different between the two systems.
We worked directly with Apto representatives to determine where data needed to come from.
In some cases, Apto actually built additional modules or repurposed unused Apto features in order to meet our needs.
On the client side, we worked with Thalhimer to determine how to use the Apto data, and to pull and display the data on their website.
Not only did we have to write a new API client integration to pull data from a different source, we also had to change some of the underlying Drupal data structures and theming in the existing website to display the new information in a coherent way.
We leveraged a lot of complex relationships between Drupal entities within the context of Thalhimer.com, and were able to complete a really smooth API integration with Salesforce and Apto.
We combined the previously separate Newport News and Virginia Beach markets into a single Hampton Roads market on the Thalhimer website, simplifying the user experience on the front end, and content management on the back-end.
Thalhimer stakeholders were thrilled with the results and has since engaged us in a re-skin the site to bring it in line with updated Thalhimer and Cushman and Wakefield brand standards, and give a much cleaner, more usable, more modern design, which you now see live at Thalhimer.com.