Case Studies / Forsythe Appraisals, LLC

A complete IT overhaul

About Forsythe Appraisals, LLC

For the past 75 years, Forsythe Appraisals has been family owned and operated. Having focused on its family tradition of delivering legendary client satisfaction, the company has grown to become the largest independent residential real estate appraisal company in the United States.

Forsythe Appraisals has family roots tracing back to 1940 when Al Forsythe founded the company in northeast Minneapolis. Eventually Al’s two sons, Jerry and Bob, joined the company to expand the real estate business to include valuation services. Over the years, Forsythe had gained expertise in commercial and industrial appraising, including machinery and equipment.

By 1963, Jerry Forsythe had become the owner. Over the next several decades, multiple members of the family, including Jerry’s wife and children, became appraisers for the company. This gave them recognition from the Society of Real Estate Appraisers for the largest number of designated appraisers from one family.

In 1987, Tim Forsythe had bought the company from his father, Jerry, and expanded the company into greater Minnesota and ultimately into 50 metro areas across the country. Tim’s brother, John, became president of the company in 1997 and succeeded Tim as CEO in 2011.

Today Forsythe Appraisals, LLC is owned and managed by Tim and John Forsythe together with John and Jeff Turner of private equity firm Hillcrest Capital Partners, located in Minneapolis.

The Needs

Before Forsythe Appraisals contacted Cyber Advisors in 2009, Forsythe’s IT was completely outsourced and managed by a different technology company. Forsythe came to realize its opportunities for growth as a national organization required a more robust IT partner. So they set out to find a provider who could accommodate the business expansion while being a comfortable fit for their culture and environment. That’s when Forsythe Appraisals approached Cyber Advisors for help in completing a quick transition from being managed by the previous provider. This process had to be done swiftly and seamlessly to minimize any negative impact on the users and their customers.

At the time, Forsythe had locations spread out all around the country in major metropolitan areas. Each location’s technology was configured differently making remote management of these sites extremely difficult. Additionally, as the business model at Forsythe Appraisals changed from a “brick and mortar” style of branch expansion to more centralized operational processes, a complete overhaul of information technology was needed.

The Project

Cyber Advisors set out on a mission to change the IT culture at Forsythe Appraisals. “At Cyber Advisors, we believe that simplifying and standardizing environments always leads to cost control. We were effective at this standardization with the commitment of Forsythe management,” says Shane Vinup CEO of Cyber Advisors. A move from the previous technology company’s IT datacenter to Cyber Advisors’ was deemed necessary. This was executed quickly and with little downtime, allowing Cyber Advisors very intelligent insight into monitoring and the maintenance needs of Forsythe Appraisals’ systems. Cyber Advisors implemented a security model of shared information between our managed services helpdesk and Forsythe Appraisals to allow for redundancy among both organizations. A complete branch IT cleanup and standardization was also rolled out.

In the next phase of the Forsythe/Cyber relationship, it was discovered that business continuity for Forsythe and its customers was deemed absolutely necessary. An actionable disaster recovery plan was pursued allowing the business to continue operations in a second location in the event of a disaster.

Beyond a full managed service offering to assure systems are kept in tip-top shape, Cyber Advisors assisted with a managed mobile device rollout to approximately 350 users across the nation to enhance remote appraising capabilities for Forsythe’s staff appraisers in the field. This rollout should realize a solid ROI for Forsythe by improving the speed of appraisals and leading to greater efficiencies and better service to its customers. Jackie Chaves, IT manager at Forsythe, has seen the IT changes the company has gone through, “Cyber Advisors has done a great job of rebuilding our IT, supporting us along the way, and making it easier for our appraisers to do their jobs.”

Project Highlights

Total Managed Services Solution

Including moving all datacenter operations and infrastructure.

Disaster Recovery Plan

Pursued in order to allow business to continue operations in a second location in the event of a disaster.

Managed Device Rollout

Rolled out to approximately 350 users across the nation to enhance remote appraising capabilities for Forsythe’s staff appraisers.

Cyber Advisors has done a great job of rebuilding our IT, supporting us along the way, and making it easier for our appraisers to do their jobs.

Jackie Chaves
IT Manager, Forsythe Appraisals, LLC