I had an “aha” moment recently. After three nights of waking up shivering at 2:00am, I realized my air conditioning had been programmed to drop ten degrees after midnight. I was frustrated. I just moved into a new house and, with all the unpacking and organizing, I didn’t have the time to focus on things (like making sure my AC programming was off) until it became a problem. It cost me a few dollars that could have been much better spent.
It all appears much simpler in retrospect. The real challenge, in life and in business, is having the right information you need ahead of time to make a decision before it becomes a problem, before you have three restless nights sleeping in an ice box. Easier said than done.
As a real estate management company, you have an enormous amount of property information that you need to manage: rent, leases, occupied units, vacant units, billing, legal clauses, square footage, security deposits, and so much more. You need to know what your situation will look like 30, 60, and 90 days from now. If you’re like most real estate companies, more than likely, you spend too much time trying to find this information. So much time, that you may not have a spare minute to focus on the actual problem itself.
Pile this on top of the fact that you are managing properties in an uncertain economic environment. Commercial Real Estate Outlook: Top 10 Issues in 2013, a 2013 report published by Deloitte, tells us that “the commercial real estate recovery appears to be unsteady". So now we’ve added another challenge: find a cost effective way to balance business challenges while maintaining a competitive edge.
Static, clunky, native reporting in JD Edwards is not the right answer. Native reports require too much assistance from IT and produce stale, immobile data. Excel may be finance’s best friend, but let’s face it, it’s not the most efficient way to do things, and the risks carry mighty consequences. Some real estate property management companies invest in big business intelligence (BI) solutions, but they are left with a multi-million, multi-month, multi-IT resource implementation and the end result is still staged data that does not tie to your actuals. All of these options give no real-time visibility to critical data you need, like rent roll, lease expiration, and occupancy/vacancy.
I encourage you to take the time to think about your reporting processes as they are now. End-users should have the ability to find the information they need, right when they need it. They should have the flexibility to drill down to the source, and easily see all their data in their ERP, just as they need to. Do you struggle to create and use meaningful rent roll reports? Do you have to manage separate rent rolls for every customer? Do you have full visibility to lease expiration across all your properties? Can you easily analyze your occupancy/vacancy and project cashflows? If you struggle to get to this information, I’m here to tell you it does not have to be so hard.
Try to imagine a process where your entire company has the ability to help themselves to the information they need without needing to understand the architecture of JD Edwards or manage a complex data warehouse. Lease managers from one property can see their rent roll as of a specific date, whenever they need it. Better decisions are made with automated processes and accurate, relevant, timely data. Finance can easily project out, to run through potential “what if” scenarios to make faster, more informed decisions. This solution would be inherently connected to your JD Edwards ERP with hundreds of pre-built reports and can be installed in under an hour. Your users could finally see their data as they needed to on day one.
I’ve seen customers, just like you, have reporting “aha” moments when they realize they finally have a real-time holistic view of their rents due and occupied or vacant units. Suddenly they can see historic, current, and future real estate data in real-time. Lease managers have instant visibility to move-in and move-out activity in selected properties, whenever and wherever they need to. With immediate access to receivables and collection activity, analyzing tenant income and reporting to owners are no longer big challenges. Companies often look back and ask themselves, “why didn’t we fix this problem before?”.
Take the time to rethink your reporting process. If your end users had the ability to find real-time lease data, it would free up finance to think strategically about the best revenue opportunities. For many real estate management companies, finding a solution that changes the process is exactly what’s needed to solve their biggest ERP productivity problems.