Is your operating software the right fit for your business?

This guide helps you to identify the gaps between your software and your business processes.

To leverage value out of your real estate software, it is necessary to make sure your standard operating procedures align with the use of the software.  
Your goal is to create a streamlined experience where your team uses all the software in which you have invested. Overall, this should be a straightforward process. However, there are often gaps in the way the software is operating or reporting, so optimising your software to handle or eliminate those gaps is critical to your users and the functionality of your system.   

How to determine operating gaps between the software and your business processes

Some of the gaps may have already been noticed by people who are using the software in their daily job, while other issues may have surfaced based on reporting needs to investors, asset managers, banks, mortgage companies, suppliers, internal boards of operation, or the residents of your properties.  
These obvious problems are a good starting place.   
When you are ready to take a proactive approach to identifying unacknowledged gaps in your system, it is recommended that meetings be held with stakeholders and users of the system.  
You’ll be reviewing the business processes against how the system works and reports information.  A list of items of concern should be created from this activity and prioritised into at least three categories, starting with high, medium, and low.  
This review process always uncovers gaps; some are minor and can either wait, or can be remedied through changes in the business process.  However, some will be major and need addressing, while a few will be critical and require action right away.

Staying in one system

It is important to identify any reporting or major calculations that are done outside of your main software system.  
In some cases, people are motivated to solve the aforementioned gaps by doing work in Excel or other external tools.  
This manual workaround leads to possible errors in reporting or calculating, and in some cases these errors are not easily discovered as they are outside the system of record and maintained without shared access.   
Enterprise software systems have data integrity built into the data schema and have audit tools to enforce business policies and procedures. When processes are performed outside the system, these measures are not applied and cause costly research and auditing down the road.

Selecting and using the right modules

Business process reviews frequently uncover that some purchased software is not fully utilised, or not used at all. This is typically due to running out of time during the implementation or putting the module into a future implementation phase that has not occurred yet. In some cases, the current users may not even be aware the module exists or how to use it effectively.    
If this is the case, it is important to put a plan in place to either re-implement the application not being used, or to work with experts either internally or externally (real estate technology consultants) to optimise the use of the module.  
In many cases, the inability to use a module effectively may be the cause of some of the gaps and struggles you are experiencing.

Customising reports and covering gaps

In today’s world, the focus is on data and how it is presented.  
Whether it is providing executive leadership with key performance indexes and information, delivering appropriate performance details to investors, giving residents the necessary information to get their rent payments made on time, or supplying the current operational results for your properties to the asset managers, the content and presentation of data is key to communication. Appropriate reporting has become king of the hill.  
To get the appropriate data included in your reporting may require establishing integration to other best-of-breed software or the use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA).  
To accomplish this with low risk and leverage of your return on investment, foster a partnership with internal SME’s and external experts in data mapping, integration, database performance, and real estate knowledge.    
Once the data is available for reporting, custom reports that present the data in modern, graphical layouts allow the outcomes to be more readable and understandable for the target stakeholder or software user.  
Most enterprise systems allow for customisation of existing reporting or allow you to create and customise brand new reports.  
By using experts who know the data and architecture of the system, these reports can be produced with a reasonable investment.  


Further Resources

  • Improving budget and forecasting reports to reflect additional comparative data, like prior periods and prior years, including variances and variance percentages.
  • Providing key ratios and calculations on cash flow statements and forecasts, like cash on cash, internal rate of return (IRR), and other industry comparable indexes.
  • Adding summary graphs on various reports to better visualise the data.
  • Improved rent rolls based on how the business needs to see data presented.
  • Refining resident invoices and statements to provide clear and easy-to-read information so the resident understands it without needing to call and ask questions.  
  • Being able to provide reporting that includes the right information and is presented in an easily readable and understandable format will improve communications to your internal and external stakeholders, including customers, staff and investors.
  • Proper reporting upfront, along with standardisation of your process, can reduce costs and labour by not having to address questions and inquiries after the fact.
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