One doesn't need to look far to find some New Age pundit extolling the virtues of the Internet and e-commerce. The problem is it takes large sums of capital to secure the hardware infrastructure and technical staff necessary to develop and maintain leading-edge technologies. So what is a small to mid-size organization to do to compete in this new business environment? Enter Centershift.
Centershift Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is an independent entity spun off the information-technology department of Extra Space Storage LLC in October 2001. Centershift's primary product offering is currently branded as Store, a proprietary solution the company believes will revolutionize the management and control of self-storage facilities.
The groundbreaking first version of the Centershift product was successfully deployed in September 2000 as Extra Space's internally developed site transaction and administration network. Store version 2.1, allowing secure access via any Internet connection, was successfully launched in September 2001. Version 2.2 is the first true commercial release of the product and was available for general distribution in January 2002 as Centershift Store.
Initial Centershift development was undertaken to bring about improved management and control, as well as to realize efficiencies at storage facilities operating with the software suite. Because management, control, communications and other issues are complicated with each additional site assimilated into an investor's portfolio, it became clear a centralized management and control functionality was required to grow business. This functionality also needed the latest open-system architecture available on the technology market to maintain a flexible base from which to grow the product.
With these parameters in mind, Centershift has been engineered to use the most recent advances in computer and communication technology. The database technology and real-time transaction processing rely on Oracle 8i and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 platforms. It is the company's foundation of these databases, along with its web-browser delivery protocol, that set it a generation apart from its competition. Through an outside contract with Center 7 Inc. of Lindon, Utah, Centershift uses a state-of-the-art computer center encompassing advanced networking and computing equipment, an uninterrupted power supply to the entire computing facility, a climate-controlled environment, off-site storage of daily data-backup tapes, high-speed terrestrial and space links, redundant server and storage capabilities, secure entry systems, and 24/7 automated problem-monitoring and notification services.
Store is the first true Internet-based rental-management software product available to the self-storage industry. Individual facilities and customers connect to the Internet via broadband communications and access the full application online. The Store core package includes rental-management functionality to conduct daily business operations, a financial integration module for backend accounting, reporting and analysis services from the data warehouse, an e-commerce module that allows for customer online payments and reservations in real time, web-hosting services, secure extranet reporting services for third-party owners and joint-venture partners, gate modules, credit-card modules, and online support services. Also available are real-time call-center integration, phone-support services, customized web and extranet services, and centralized mail processing.
Store delivers any time, anywhere availability. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access all your facilities from any single location in real time. For example, rental rates for any or all facilities can be updated in real time from a central location, even while you are on the road. Special features of the software include:
1) Information control: Advanced access, reporting and auditing of centralized data. Powerful reporting and auditing capabilities that can analyze information by company, region, department or individual site using current and archived data. Provides all levels of your organization easy-to-access data, resulting in improved communications and increased productivity.
2) Real-time access: Up-to-the minute analysis of site performance and key statistics that can be accessed remotely via the Internet. Provides secure access to your data for timely analysis.
3) Information security: Full control over critical information through a centralized, secure environment that is monitored and managed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
4) Provides the ability to integrate with accounting, call center, online ordering, human resources, payroll and other systems.
5) Accommodates your unique rental and space policies through easy customization, ensuring enforcement at all facilities and departments.
6) Reduces or eliminates redundant activities and data-entry tasks. No more consolidating facility summary reports, e-mails, faxes and dialing into sites to pull data. Centralized data means centralized reporting. Reports accounting for all facilities and their activities are available each morning, week and/or month automatically.
7) Software updates and enhancements are instantly available to all users, resulting in site consistency and maximum cost efficiency.
8) Centralized data means guaranteed backups on a daily basis. Never again will you have to recreate a day's transaction due to lack of a valid backup. Once the daily backups have been performed, the tapes are stored in a climate-controlled, off-site storage facility.
9) Centershift Store performs a daily close operation, which means your facility managers are no longer required to "close the day." The daily close includes a per diem rollup that is available through Centershift's custom financial user interface at the start of each business day. The financial data can be viewed in multiple formats and be "pushed" to the organizations financial package.
For more information, call 801.303.1300 or visit www.centershift.com