Leveraging Technology Beyond Accounting
Accounting departments of real estate companies have been leveraging technology for years. Accounting and IT have been so closely aligned that many companies have organized IT to report to the CFO.
However, enhancements in technology, coupled with more tech-savvy executives, have aligned the stars for deploying technology to processes that have historically been limited to email and Excel.
The ability to leverage technology for high-profile functions like Leasing and Revenue Management has brought significant attention to the top-line opportunities that technology can help realize. Leasing Pipeline Management tools (aka CRM) are one of the hottest topics in the industry. When properly implemented, these tools can bring considerable transparency to the leasing process and reduce the cycle times associated with document preparation and negotiation. Even more importantly, though, these tools can bring attention to inventory issues (such as existing vacancies and near-term expirations) that warrant management focus.
Other tools that are commanding the attention of real estate executives are Business Process Management tools (“BPM”). These generic “workflow” tools can be easily configured to address the needs of virtually any process of a real estate company, accessing data from disparate systems to facilitate complex decision trees and parallel and sequential approvals. Like CRM, BPM tools have been proven to reduce cycle times, automate manual processes, and create valuable transparency. Some of the processes that have benefitted from BPM at leading real estate companies include (1) tenant forms processing, (2) variance analysis, and (3) JV partner collaboration.