Customer stories

widewaters imageWidewaters

Vertically integrated real estate business unlocks group-wide content management efficiencies with OpenText™ Extended ECM

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About Widewaters

Widewaters is a vertically integrated real estate organization with over 50 years of experience in the development, construction, acquisition and management of retail, hospitality, residential, and office/industrial properties across North America.

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  • Headquarters:
    Syracuse, New York
  • Assets:
    $2 billion
  • Developments:
    13 million square feet



  • Different systems and processes used by verticals to store and manage content.
  • Duplicated content and effort due to difficulty finding existing documents.
  • Time consuming training for new hires.


  • Replaced three legacy content management systems with a single, centralized platform.
  • Leveraged automated content workflows to streamline document-driven processes.
  • Drove group-wide adoption.


  • Boosted employee productivity by more than 350%
  • Accelerated data-sharing by 50%
  • Streamlined employee onboarding


  • Multiple verticals all used different systems and processes to store and manage content
  • Duplicated content and effort due to difficulties finding existing documents
  • Time-consuming training for new hiresnavigating the distributed storage landscape

A vertically integrated organization, Widewaters has more than five decades of expertise in real estate acquisition, development, management, construction, and brokerage. Today, the company operates across multiple real estate asset classes, including office and industrial, hospitality, retail and more.

Timothy Carroll, vice president – information technology at The Widewaters Group, said, “In the long term, our aim is to grow our commercial real estate development operations across North America. To realize that goal, it’s crucial that all our lines of business are operating as efficiently as possible.”

In the past, Widewaters leveraged different business systems and processes to manage each of its verticals. Employees relied on complex spreadsheets to keep track of project-related information. They also spent time trawling through email inboxes and shared drives to locate the latest versions of key documents. As a result, there was significant duplication of both content and effort, and training new hires to navigate the storage landscape was a lengthy process.

“We saw a big opportunity to drive efficiencies throughout the organization by moving to standardized, integrated processes in areas such as accounting, HR, and legal, powered by a new group-wide ERP solution,” Carroll continued. “At the same time, we decided to streamline our approach to document management by replacing our distributed storage repositories with a single enterprise content management [ECM] platform.”

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With OpenText and Wisteria IT, we’re transforming Widewaters into a more streamlined and data-driven organization.

Timothy Carroll
Vice President – Information Technology, The Widewaters Group


Working with partner Wisteria IT, Widewaters replaced three legacy content management systems with OpenText Extended ECM. Integrated with Microsoft® 365®, the solution streamlines content workflows and unlocks efficiencies across all lines of business.

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Selecting a central solution

As the first step on its ECM journey, Widewaters evaluated a range of potential solutions, including several vendors offering content management and document attachment functionalities. Following an in-depth assessment, Widewaters selected OpenText Extended ECM as the foundation for its centralized content management platform.

“We set out several selection criteria for a new ECM solution, including robust version control, centralized storage, and fast, fine-grained search,” Carroll confirmed. “Through our work with Wisteria IT, we determined that OpenText Extended ECM delivered on all our key content management requirements. Integration with our Microsoft 365 suite and the ability to integrate with our ERP system in the future were important factors in our decision to deploy OpenText Extended ECM, as these capabilities make it easier than ever for employees to store and access documents.”

Working with Wisteria IT, Widewaters leveraged out-of-the-box form templates to migrate complex project-related data out of its spreadsheets and into the OpenText solution. Each piece of content is linked to a specific project, simplifying navigation and document retrieval and enabling the company to display key information in reports and dashboards.

“One of the biggest challenges with our previous approach to document management was that there were many shadow content repositories scattered across the business,” explained Carroll. “With the OpenText solution, we’ve replaced all those ad hoc repositories with a single platform for all our verticals.”

Boosting efficiency through automation

With Extended ECM, Widewaters employees can access documents via familiar apps such as Microsoft® Teams, while information is stored securely behind the scenes in the OpenText repository. Using automated workflows in the new solution, the company can streamline many of its document-driven processes.

“We have a complex organizational structure with hundreds of legal and accounting entities,” said Carroll. “Integration between our OpenText and Microsoft solutions is invaluable for supporting and simplifying our workflows—it helps get content to the right place every time. Today, we can use our Microsoft and OpenText solutions to get everything done.”

Using virtual folders in Extended ECM Business Workspaces, Widewaters offers each user a personalized selection of content based on the specific requirements of their role. For example, employees in transactional functions such as finance and accounting see a different selection of information to those in document-centric functions such as leasing and legal. Crucially, although multiple groups have access to the same documents, the company only stores one copy of each—eliminating duplication.

Driving group-wide adoption

Together with Wisteria IT, Widewaters trained Extended ECM champions in each line of business. By adopting a train-the-trainer method, the company helped its business users to get up to speed with the new solution rapidly.

Carroll commented, “Our investment in training really paid off, and we had strong buy-in from our senior leadership teams throughout the process. Today, almost everyone in the business uses the OpenText solution to support their day-to-day work. Wisteria IT continues to be a valued partner to Widewaters, helping us to build new content management functionality and enhance our ECM platform.”

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Integration with our Microsoft 365 suite and the ability to integrate with our ERP system in the future were important factors in our decision to deploy OpenText Extended ECM, as these capabilities make it easier than ever for employees to store and access documents.

Timothy Carroll
Vice President – Information Technology, The Widewaters Group


For more than six years, Widewaters has relied on OpenText Extended ECM to support its end-to-end content management needs—boosting productivity by over 350% for more than 150 users across the business.

Boosting employee productivity by over 350%

By replacing multiple legacy content repositories with a central OpenText solution, Widewaters is reducing its operational costs while significantly improving employee productivity.

"In the past, there was significant duplication of content and effort,” Carroll said. “For example, employees would sometimes recreate documents because they couldn’t find the originals or begin working on a document only to later discover it was an outdated version, requiring them to start over again. Documents are instantly available and easily searchable, helping to boost productivity by over 350%.”

Carroll added, “It used to be a challenge to understand which of our contracts were due for renewal and who was responsible for managing that process—but with OpenText Extended ECM, that’s changing. We are now using the OpenText solution to assign an owner to each contract, which will enable us to set up automated alerts when renewal dates are approaching.”

Accelerating data-sharing by 50%

Using the data-sharing capabilities of OpenText Extended ECM, Widewaters is also making it easier than ever for employees to securely send documents to authorized external partners.

For example, Widewaters works with third-party providers to deliver management services for its hotel properties. At the end of every month, the third-party providers create financial reports for the Widewaters finance team. Using the OpenText solution, the provider adds the documents to a shared workspace, making them immediately available to the Widewaters team without the need to provide full system access to external users.

“Sharing documents via the OpenText solution is a huge improvement on manual methods such as sending files as email attachments,” said Carroll. “We can now securely send and receive information around 50% faster, helping our employees to spend less time managing files and more time on value-added work.”

Streamlining employee onboarding

With OpenText Extended ECM, Widewaters uses event-based triggers to automate many key workflows, including employee records management. Whenever an employee is added to the company’s HR system, the OpenText solution automatically creates a folder for the new hire based on pre-configured templates. When employees leave the business, the solution archives the relevant folders.

“The OpenText solution isn’t just streamlining onboarding processes for the HR team, it’s also empowering the new hires to get up to speed faster,” explained Carroll. “Using virtual folders in Extended ECM Business Workspaces, we provide each employee with immediate access to all the documents they need from a single point of control, eliminating the need for them to learn to navigate multiple content systems.”

Widewaters sees valuable opportunities to automate more of its document-related processes in the future, and the company is continuing its work with Wisteria IT to enhance its capabilities.

“With OpenText and Wisteria IT, we’re transforming Widewaters into a more streamlined and data-driven organization,” Carroll concluded. “Every time we introduce a new automated workflow powered by OpenText Extended ECM, there’s genuine excitement from the business. The solution is helping our teams get even better at what they do, and we’re looking forward to building on what we’ve achieved.”

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