Having Trouble Deciding?
If you’ve spent any time at all investigating the software designed to help you better manage real estate information, you know that there is an abundance of options with an overwhelming number of features. First, typing “lease administration software” into Google will turn up millions of results, including numerous software rankings from questionable sources and innumerable software providers. Next, once you start to dig into these systems, you find that they all seem to say they can do everything, but your concerns begin to grow about the questions you don’t know enough to ask or that you think could come up later as needs change. These complexities can make the seemingly simple task of moving your company’s real estate information from spreadsheets to a more intentional application seem like a impossible or at least risky undertaking—but finding the right software does not have to be either. By establishing your priorities and clearly laying out your processing and reporting needs, you will begin to establish a specification that prevents the software features from driving your process rather than the other way around.
The Allure of Software
All too often, software lures a company with flashy features or as part of a presentation by a service provider touting it as their secret sauce to deliver efficiency, cost savings and a quick fix to whatever might be ailing the portfolio. In a competitive environment, it is rare to hear the truth that while technology CAN make many things easier and help deliver desired results, software alone is not the answer and the software cannot populate and manage itself. Often any number of the prevailing lease administration or accounting packages will work very well but only when combined with the human processes that implement and manage them properly. Failure to plan and implement technology properly is the leading cause of companies having to switch applications and spend the time and money re-abstracting and re-validating data.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
There are three things we recommend to companies that are beginning to consider integrating a new software application into their lease administration process: First, avoid going through extensive software demonstrations before considering what reporting outputs and processes you hope to support. This is akin to going grocery shopping while you are hungry. It leads to letting features drive you rather than finding features that align with your goals. This is not to say that you shouldn’t consider new ideas and future scalability, but that is better left to a future phase. Second, consider who is showing you the software or suggesting its use. Buying proprietary systems or the only tool used by a service provider might be what is best for that company…not necessarily yours. Finally, consider your user base. Corporate culture, ability to absorb process-change and planned breadth of use will have a profound effect on being able to implement the new application across a user base in a way that can be sustainable. Some tools are better than others for small focused user groups, others are more geared for larger groups and more of a workflow environment. Further, you should remember that you do not have to deploy every bell/whistle of a new system all at once. In short, planning cannot be stressed enough.
Tips for Figuring Out What You Want
- What reports does management require?
- What processes are we hoping to support?
- What data do those reports/processes require us to capture?
- Who will be using the system?
- What functionality is essential?
How Portfolio Solutions Group Can Help
PSG designs each service engagement to deliver a NET COST SAVINGS. We are not real estate brokers or software providers that may have other motivations to promote a given application or bundle of features. We are the LEASE ADMINISTRATION EXPERTS that use these systems to help companies with hundreds or thousands of locations improve performance, reduce costs and save money year after year. At a minimum, we can help you focus your needs and get a quick comparison grid together to help narrow the field of choices and reduce the time, risk and frustration associated with this project. We can even offer pilot programs that let you “try before you buy” and really test the system.
Want to learn more about how PSG can help you? Visit our homepage or take a look at all the services and solutions PSG has to offer.