Cloud-Based Technology Drives Efficiency for Property Managers
Property management is an industry with specific needs and a multitude of audiences, including owners, tenants and a variety of service technicians. While many property management companies are smaller “mom and pop” shops, others are managing multiple properties, sometimes divested among several locations.
And while property management is certainly changing and becoming more modernized, traditionally it’s not been a technology-forward industry. While we’re beginning to see more online customer interfaces like tenant portals, oftentimes policy management and employee training are still based on an outdated paper-based system.
Binders full of policies take time to review and update, and for property managers with large employee populations and multiple locations, this can result in excessive overhead costs.
As this problem becomes more widespread, cloud-based technology solutions are entering the fold to help large property management firms more effectively and efficiently manage policies, and ultimately improve their bottom lines.
How the Cloud Can Help
The cloud can help property managers become more efficient and effective by housing crucial information, making it available to the right people and creating a critical trail of updates – within a single, easy to access location.
Make Permitting Easier
For many large property management firms, the upkeep and issuance of permits for properties can be time-consuming. If these records are not stored digitally, paper documentation can easily be lost, resulting in unnecessary fines. The cloud makes it easy to digitally record the process of tracking permits so that regardless of turnover, property managers are always in the loop and the right documentation is at the ready to avoid costly fines.
Effectively Communicate Policies
Many property management firms still house their policies in physical binders. While this can be a comprehensive way of housing crucial content, it can also make it very difficult to communicate new policies or policy updates to employees. The cloud ensures all crucial content is still stored in a single location while making it easy to send an email communicating new policies and policy updates, and in some cases provides automated notifications flagging policy changes.
Hold Employees Accountable
By communicating information electronically, it is also much easier for property management firms to hold employees accountable to company policies. Notifications can often be provided demonstrating when the policy was read and signed off on, and managers can refer back to this information as needed.
The Cloud at Work: Managing Multiple Properties With a Single Solution
Property management company Univesco is a prime example of a property management firm that turned to the cloud for help with managing its policies. Based out of Plano, Tx. Univesco manages 21 properties. With 250 employees, it struggled to keep policies updated. It had been using a paper-filled, binder system that was daunting to update and in fact, had not been updated in five years.
Additionally, it had individual property managers for each of the 21 properties. Kim Grogan, director of operations for Univesco, described the communities as, “little cities with property managers serving in a mayor-like role.”
The combination of an antiquated policy system and a dispersed employee base with frequent turnover was costing Univesco a significant amount of time and money. A high amount of manpower was spent looking for documents and they often faced fines for out-of-date or missing permits. They knew an updated system was necessary, and that the right technology would be key.
Univesco employed a central system for managing and updating documents and chose a cloud-based management system that addressed these issues.
They were able to find a system that made it easier to track when employees reviewed policies and highlighted updated portions so users can go directly to the updated information, all property locations are streamlined through one platform, and users can access the information from a mobile device.
The ROI has been significant. Univesco has eliminated the fines they were receiving from mismanaging permits, employees now have clear policy direction and easy access to the most up-to-date policies, and there is added accountability for employees reviewing this information.
What to Look for When Turning to the Cloud
There are several key items to look for when choosing a cloud-based data management solution:
Does the technology update policies in real-time?
Real-time updates mean that everyone sees the most current information – no more waiting around to update and distribute printed copies.
What kind of tracking is included?
When employee receipt of policies can be tracked and monitored, you can be certain that your team is staying up to date on important information.
Can a platform be accessed from a mobile device?
For an industry that is as geographically diverse as many property management companies, not to mention you’ve got employees that are on-site vs. sitting in an office – having mobile access to important policies is crucial.
Technology is Changing the Game
The benefits of integrating technology into the property management industry are endless. In addition to using technology for their forward-facing, client-driven needs, management companies can create an updated work environment that saves money and time.
From updating policies to tracking and managing the dissemination of information, technology can create significant ROI, saving time and money and creating a more effective back-end system.
Joshua Snyder is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development at PowerDMS, a cloud-based document and compliance management solution. He and his team are responsible for identifying growth opportunities, developing strategic alliances, and serving as the voice of the company to their network of partners. As a member of the senior leadership team, Snyder is also responsible for guiding the company’s strategy for product and corporate development. PowerDMS provides software tools to organize and manage an organization’s critical documents and industry accreditation standards, as well as allow for the training and testing of employees. Visit www.powerdms.com to learn more.