In an era characterized by uncertainty, Canadian businesses are discovering that advanced technology can be a source of stability. In fact, according to KMPG’s 2020 CEO Outlook, 92% of Canadian CEOs fast-tracked their transformation to meet COVID-19 challenges, with 76% believing that investments in tech tools such as automation, artificial intelligence and cloud systems are critical to unlocking long-term growth.
Within the property management realm, 61% of respondents to a recent EY global survey of commercial real estate company decision-makers have escalated their adoption of new technology tools, 69% of respondents consider tech a high priority as a strategic agenda item. However, 58% of that sampling reported integration problems, which in many cases resulted from multiple disparate systems being used for business operations.
Openness to adopting technology is clearly on the rise among Canadian real estate owners and managers. Some are seeking differentiators in an increasingly competitive commercial real estate market, as the industry prepares for safe re-entry into office and retail spaces. As vaccines pave the way for an end to COVID-19 restrictions, how can organizations enhance their use of technology to drive staff performance, procurement and portfolio transparency?
Data integrity is crucial to analyze and achieve elevated asset management performance. Leveraging advanced software creates opportunities to increase the accuracy for forecasting, budgeting, visualizing portfolio health and making data-driven decisions. The right technology partner centralizes the data into a customizable dashboard powered by AI to automatically deliver real-time information, predictive insights and recommended action to internal and external stakeholders. Property managers can select quality leads, maximize deal performance, administer leases, manage tenant relationships (including rent collection, communication and tenant risk assessment) and run all capital planning from bid management to project oversight.
Through integration, all stakeholders can view and work with the same data set, communicate in real time within the system and enhance their results or decision making in a matrix environment. Technology should collect and provide access to relevant data such that the entire team is contributing to that single version of the truth, resulting in more enhanced insights and a competitive advantage.
Read our Ebook for more insights on how technology can drive informed decision-making throughout the asset management lifecycle.
Centralize procurement options
Implementing cloud-based solutions makes it possible to simplify the procurement process. These platforms are available to owners and managers of all property types and encompass everything from online MRO purchasing to invoice processing and vendor payments. Procurement tech solutions also provide reporting functionality that delivers full transparency of spend by supplier, portfolio or a single property.
By integrating the procurement system with property management and accounting platform, day-to-day purchasing, payment and vendor management is vastly simplified, giving site managers more time for other duties such as customer service. Vendors, meanwhile, can manage their entire relationship with the property management companies they serve through self-service portals providing access to purchase orders, work orders, contracts and RFPs.
In fact, a Yardi study found that operations can reduce costs associated with invoice processing from $25 to under $5. This shows procurement managers can further simplify operations with electronic signatures, approvals and payments functionality, which eliminates the labour, time and costs associated with producing and routing paper documents.
With advanced technology solutions, property managers can centralize the entire procurement lifecycle including multiple stakeholders and processes onto one system, which will garner simplified operations, greater visibility into spend and reduced costs.
Optimizing energy performance
With expenditures under increasing scrutiny, Canadian property managers are also paying more attention to their properties’ energy consumption. As one of a commercial portfolio’s biggest controllable operating expenses, energy is ripe for new efficiency.
Property managers can launch their energy strategy fairly simply by documenting and understanding energy consumption. Automated utility expense management solutions designed for that purpose eliminate the need for staff to perform that time-consuming task while providing visibility into cost trends and opportunities. Some systems can optimize building consumption even further through algorithms and machine learning.
Cloud-based energy management systems also give building operators access to real-time master and submeter data, and demand and consumption analytics. All of them are useful for optimizing building performance by cutting consumption and expenditures. Property owners can optimize the heating and cooling of buildings without impacting occupant comfort. HVAC problems can be prevented, saving money and reducing tenant complaints.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that many institutional investors are incorporating environmental, social and corporate governance criteria, into investment decisions.
All of these operations and more, can be executed within a single platform that eliminates manual data transfers, enables customization and accepts additional solutions as new business challenges emerge. The benefits of such a system can positively influence operating income, tenant satisfaction, the marketability of an asset and staff empowerment, all crucial considerations as the pandemic—hopefully—starts to recede.