The world is changing, and so too should be the way you work. If the technology you’re using to manage your portfolio is failing to keep up with the latest developments in the industry, you’re only starting each day on the back foot.
But what are these latest trends and how will they shake up your working processes?
1. Self-help access
Recently there has been a big shift in terminology within the industry, led by some of the largest players attempting to the ditch the word ‘tenants’ from their vocabulary in favour of ‘customers’. No doubt brought on in part by the growth within the private rented sector, this is so much more than just a word change and instead marks a new attitude towards customer service.
One significant way we’re seeing firms look to ramp up their service levels is through the introduction of online tools allowing customers (tenants) to log in and self-access information at their leisure. As well as keeping your customers happy, using simple to use online tools and portals will streamline your own processes, reducing reliance on manual, paper heavy tasks and ensure data is kept up to date.
2. Flexible systems for a broader portfolio
With many residential and ‘alternative’ properties proving to be more stable investments in recent years, it’s no surprise that so many investors are looking to diversify their commercial heavy portfolios. Data stores, retirement homes, residential blocks and student housing are proving to be popular diversification options for many. But has your system supplier adapted and developed their solution with to the needs of managing different property types? Or have they simply shoe horned afterthought functionality in to a system that was never really intended for anything but a commercial portfolio?
If you’re able to work with a diverse range of properties, it shouldn’t really too much to ask for your supplier to do the same. Any modern system worth its salt will be able to handle them all with ease and continue to adapt to any future trends the market can throw at it.
3. One solution for end to end management
With a recent surge of investors turning towards the private rented model and build to rent schemes, their typical property management software may be struggling to cope with all the new responsibilities. Therefore, it’s understandable that the market is seeing so many advancements in a single all-encompassing solution. One system or package covering functionality for everything from development, marketing, management, lettings and facilities. Plus just one solution gives the added benefit of high view reporting, taking into account a far wider range of data.
4. Cloud hosted and web enabled
Gone are the days of clunky and expensive on-site servers, instead businesses of all kinds are migrating their systems to the cloud and reaping the benefits.
Firstly, with anytime, anywhere access to your data, your decision-making process will surely be far more reactive than ever before. Plus by doing away with on-premise servers you eliminate many of the associated costs; storage, power, personnel, maintenance… instead pass on these headaches to your supplier allowing you to focus on what you do best.
Most of us have been working this way for years with our personal technology, think Gmail, Netflix and Dropbox, but by now you really should be demanding it in your workplace systems too.
5. Any place and any device working
Cloud technology fits hand in hand with a mobile way of working, and tablet use and mobile apps are certainly now the name of the game. In 2016 it’s almost unfathomable to expect your workforce to be tied to their desks all day, in fact Deloitte claims that as much as 40% of our workspaces are empty at any given time during normal working hours.
If your property management system is restricting your ability to work on the go from a mobile device, you’re only increasing downtime and decreasing productivity.
Mobile apps make this process even easier, allowing maintenance teams, on site inspectors and even tenants to update information instantly without having to grant them access to your full system. This not only protects the integrity of your data from untrained fingertips, but also results in your system being more up to date than ever before.
In reality none of these trends are anything all that new or unattainable, and we’re already seeing investors of all shapes and sizes throughout the sector benefit from this modern technology. It’s time to view things such as integrated portals, multi-purpose functionality, cloud hosting and mobile access as ‘must haves’ as opposed to just ‘nice to haves.’ After all, if the systems you’re using are failing to keep up, they’re only falling behind and could soon be taking you with them.