Johnson Controls and Pluralsight

Increasing efficiency & cost savings during digital transformation

We all have that room. You know the one. Bloated with abandoned stuff. Strange gifts from the in-laws. Spare furniture that doesn’t fit anywhere. Too-small concert-tees you can’t bear to toss.

When it comes to your home, there never seems to be enough space. Keeping your son’s stuffed animal collection and your families’ treasured mahogany dining table safe and dry when you need a little extra room calls for a company you can trust—a company like Extra Space Storage.

Extra Space Storage manages nearly a million units and more than 103 million square feet of rentable self-storage space for business and personal storage nationwide. As the second largest operator of self-storage facilities in the U.S., Extra Space Storage is a smart choice, providing convenient, secure and professional self-storage for more than a million customers across 1,400 properties and 38 states.

Providing a great customer experience to that many people (and a safe spot for their much-loved stuff) takes a passionate, dedicated workforce that thrives on innovation.

“Customers today expect more. Employees expect more. Our challenge is to do more than keep pace with their wants and needs – it’s to exceed their expectations and go beyond what our competition does,” says Jeff Stott, Vice President of Technology. “We set a high bar for customer service and how we deploy technology. As part of that, digital transformation is key to securing competitive leadership in the market.”

That’s why Extra Space Storage turned to Pluralsight.

“We operate very much like a commercial software company, solving really interesting problems through modern technology, using public cloud and serverless technologies as well as data analytics,” says Jeff. “And just like any other high-tech organization, we need to attract quality developer and engineering talent to deliver innovation solutions.”

“We’re a big believer in giving teams the tools they need to be successful. We really want to support their career development and make sure they’re continuing to learn. Every single one of our developers get a Pluralsight license as they onboard with us,” Jeff continues.

To get up to speed, new developers have access to assessments, thousands of expert-led courses and curated learning paths.

Extra space storage at a glance

1.8 BILLION

ADDED 1.8 BILLION DOLLARS IN NEW ACQUISITIONS TO ITS NATIONAL PORTFOLIO IN 2015 ALONE

38 STATES

MORE THAN A MILLION CUSTOMERS IN 38 STATES

2ND LARGEST

THE SECOND LARGEST OPERATOR OF SELF-STORAGE FACILITIES IN THE U.S.

Digital transformation starts with a core systems refresh

Improving the customer experience through digital transformation started with a refresh of core legacy systems and a shift to Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud technology to ensure the company has timely and accurate information for all 1,500 facilities across the country.

Pluralsight was critical in helping us meet our deadlines by allowing our team to get up to speed on several new technologies very quickly

BRON McCALL
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

“Pluralsight not only helped us understand the best way to approach agile development and build a devops culture that brings developers and IT operations teams together,” says Rich Keeler, Software Engineering Lead. “It also helped us create and ship stable quality code in an iterative, efficient fashion. And now our product is more scalable, stable, and predictable than our old system.”

Many Extra Space Storage customers are engaged on mobile and want to interact with the company on their smartphones. Others prefer a high-touch, concierge-type service. They all want a seamless, frictionless interaction with their storage provider.

“After the multi-year refresh of our core systems, we’re now diving into the development of more customer-facing applications to help customers interact with us better and easier, so they have a better experience when they do business with us,” says Jeff.

Foundation for agile development and devops success

Part of their digital transformation includes leveraging technology to help customers access all of its services and make purchases however and whenever they choose. The company also wants to boost the customer experience with its call centers, finding efficient and cost-effective ways to serve more customers. Learning agile development and understanding devops processes were a key part of that.

Pluralsight has given us the base foundation to help the devops teams to understand the new things they can try, greatly speeding our digital transformation efforts.

JEFF STOTT
VICE PRESIDENT OF TECHNOLOGY

“We’re using a range of new technologies, such as Angular, Gulp and other open-source and software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools. Plus, we’re learning new patterns and best practices for existing languages and tools we’re already familiar with, including C#, Web API 2.0 and SQL Server,” adds Rich. “With Pluralsight, we can assign developers courses when we get started and get everyone on the same page, so they build a consistent, maintainable, scalable solution every time.”

CHALLENGE

Keeping pace with innovation and providing industry-leading customer service at the second-largest storage provider in the nation calls for innovative skills and solutions. Extra Space Storage needed an efficient learning method to close learning gaps and get all teams up to speed on the necessary cloud and SAAS technologies and agile devops processes.

SOLUTION

Extra Space Storage partnered with Pluralsight to get developers quickly up to speed on new technologies and agile/devops processes to pave the way for customer-focused digital transformation.

Insights on trends and how to put proven technology to best use

“As a team leader, I’ve been able to use Pluralsight to educate myself on upcoming trends. Knowledgeable experts and thought leaders from Pluralsight help me understand what’s up and coming, what’s tested and proven, and how to use those technologies in the best way,” says Rich. “And from an architectural standpoint, I can decide the best path forward, so we can build the best solution, stay up to date on evolving tools and best practices and create opportunities for our developers to invigorate their careers with new learning.”

Recently, the whole leadership team took the Scrum framework assessment available on Pluralsight. “That was a good way to encourage all of us to make sure we had a base understanding of the process to help guide our teams appropriately,” says Jeff.

Teams are also using the assessment and Skill IQ features to engage in friendly competition and knowledge sharing, resulting in greater expertise across the teams.

“They can measure their own skill level and compare their results with one another. Doing so helps them see where to focus future learning efforts, so they can raise their score, which raises the bar for their peer group, too,” says Bron. “With a wealth of content available, Pluralsight helps us quickly address key skills gaps.”

“By investing in the Pluralsight platform and giving everyone licenses, employees see that we’re invested in their learning and growth. Meanwhile, insights available in Pluralsight help me understand who’s using the tools and what skills they want to learn,” says Jeff. “Ultimately ..

Pluralsight helps us answer important questions: Is someone ready to take on more responsibilities? Are they ready for this new project?

JEFF STOTT
VICE PRESIDENT OF TECHNOLOGY

No-brainer to help keep pace with innovation through convenient and efficient learning

“If I had to choose between sending a developer to a conference or giving them Pluralsight license, it's kind of a no-brainer,” says Rich. “Pluralsight allows us to learn what we need when we need it, and to do it at our own pace.”

Most importantly, access to a platform that includes curated learning, a community of experts, and a vast library of technical answers gives Extra Space Storage a key advantage over its competitors.

“With Pluralsight, over the last year, we’ve saved 60% of our budget versus equivalent classroom training,” adds Bron. “With how quickly technology is changing today, our learning needs are not slowing down. Pluralsight is a critical partner in helping us keep pace with innovation through convenient, cost-effective and efficient skills development.”

In an industry designed to help you use your space more efficiently, that’s everything.

SITUATION

Extra Space needed to completely rewrite their core software to meet modern demand for customer experiences set by digitally native tech companies.

RESULTS

  • Implemented Agile
  • Enjoys cost savings of 60% compared to traditional classroom training
  • Completed a 2.5 year project completely overhauling their core software