Process Automation—The Secret to Efficient Real Estate Operations

The Prevailing Predicament

Technology’s role in managing real estate operations has never been more important or had a more significant impact on productivity. While its importance cannot be overstated, embracing and adopting changes in technology may be one of the most critical and challenging strategic business priorities facing real estate companies today. The promise of technology is supposed to make things easier. Instead, it often adds to the rising flood of disorganized communication and disconnected processes that challenge day to day operations. The net result is confusion, mistakes and inefficiency which equates to higher operating costs, increased risk and reduced client satisfaction.

For many, the biggest challenge with managing real estate operations in the digital era is simply getting a clear picture of who’s working on what and where things stand at each property. For others, it’s connecting their data, systems and people across all their properties to create a truly digitally-connected business where everyone knows more, works together better, and gets more done, faster. Without a sound enterprise-wide digital strategy, a number of symptoms that cause inefficiency begin to emerge. Chief among these symptoms is the practice of using processes that are manual, time consuming, and prone to error. Another is the creation of information silos caused by adopting multiple software solutions in an ad-hoc fashion. Information silos have a negative impact on the organization’s workflow as they discourage cross-departmental communication and sharing of data, which hamper the ability to generate meaningful reports. When proper reporting cannot be performed, critical business decisions are made inside of a vacuum, devoid of timely and accurate business intelligence.

A Different & Better Way of Thinking

Real estate companies today can address the cause of these symptoms by implementing real estate process automation. Process automation seeks to optimize data capture with workflow automation. The result is an increased level of efficiency enterprise-wide. HFS Research’s report, The State of Automation and AI: The C-Suite’s Number One Strategic Imperative, found that 80% of C-suite level professionals view process automation as their number one operational strategic priority, further validating this conclusion.

The usage and adoption of process automation is changing organization’s overall approach to the way their businesses are run – time is no longer squandered, and productivity isn’t hindered – thus offering significant advantages. Forward-thinking companies are using automation in many areas of their business, examples of which include approval management, inspection management, incident management, proposal management, property management, compliance and insurance management, lease process management, and reporting to name a few.

To illustrate, consider the automation of a tenant lease renewal process. Automatic reminders and customized tenant notifications, online documents and smart forms, electronic signatures and approvals help to streamline a process that is typically very time consuming. By using technology to replace the repetitive tasks in the approval workflow, tenant lease renewals can be completed, updated and signed off in a drastically shorter timeframe—improving tenant loyalty and increasing operational efficiency.

Why Change Now?

There are many advantages to implementing this modern approach, some of which include a new level of control and transparency. Reporting can be done with real-time information, leading to more insightful decision. Time-savings is another benefit of automation, as manual, repetitive tasks are completed faster with less effort. Lastly, an additional benefit CRE firms will likely experience with the implementation of process automation is integration. Due to the proliferation of disparate software applications that don’t share data, information silos develop and the return on investment benefits promised by new technology remain unrealized. All of these benefits lead to a significant operational advantage and help CRE companies reach their full potential by using technology to reinvent themselves and remain relevant.

How to Cross the Chasm from Peril to Success

But how does an organization embark on this journey of boosting efficiency with process automation? The first, most logical step is to have a trusted advisor partner with you to conduct an assessment of your current operations and systems and to understand your business requirements prior to investing in automation technology. One such advisor is Common Areas. Common Areas’ industry experts can utilize their Business Process 360 assessment in an effort to guide you through the process of documenting and understanding your current processes and technologies so that you can strategically improve your operation’s efficiency and effectiveness. Common Areas uses a five-step approach in this methodology, putting a plan of action in place that includes: discovering and identifying your current processes and existing infrastructure, analyzing and gain a detailed understanding and focus of each business unit, defining new processes, goals, objectives and any gaps needing to be filled, reviewing with your management team the goals, expectations and requirements for facilitating a collaborative process automation solution within your organization, and finally implementing the new system, including the final step of training.

Partnering with Common Areas can help you stay ahead of your competition by developing and implementing a comprehensive enterprise-wide digital strategy that includes collaborative process automation. Click here to schedule an in-depth Discovery Call with experts to find out how we can help you reach this goal and improve your net operating income for 2019 and beyond.