Why property management processes should be automated

PRESSFOTO/FREEPIK

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE ongoing coronavirus pandemic necessitates the adoption of smart processes for property management companies, but changing their mindset towards innovation remains a challenge, according to cloud-based property management solutions provider Inventi.

“Real estate is a very traditional industry. Innovation comes very slow to the real estate industry, so it’s all about changing the mindset of the companies to make technological innovation and integration a part of their strategy,” Inventi Business Development Manager Francis R. Henares told BusinessWorld via Zoom on April 23.

“I would say that real estate development is one of the slower industries to embrace change, and this has a lot to do with people and manual processes. They are more comfortable trusting people to do the job as opposed to a computer or a piece of software,” he added.

Many property management companies are very traditional, since they became successful without technological integration, the Inventi official said.

Property management is mainly about maintenance and tenant management. This means making sure the building operations run smoothly, such as elevators, water pumps and fire safety systems. It also involves providing efficient services to the building’s tenants.

Many problems arise from manual processes such as requiring guests to sign in a logbook or fill out forms before being allowed entry, as well as manual reading of meters and elevator management.

“We came in initially to try to change these ways by digitizing them. But since the start of the pandemic, it’s kind of kickstarted the need to incorporate technology even more because we now have the challenges of remote working and skeletal facilities teams. Before, property management was so manual, everyone had to coordinate in person manually every single day. But what happens if you are working from home? What happens if your teams are skeletal? What happens if the property manager is also working from home?” Mr. Henares said.

Inventi started in 2017 as a building management system. It then transitioned to a multi-branch property management system until it incorporated internet of things devices into its system.

By the end of the second quarter, Inventi’s system will have been implemented in more than a hundred buildings around the Philippines.

“Slowly, by the end of the year, we hope to go into machine learning wherein the system, based on the data it receives, makes decisions without intervention,” Mr. Henares said.

“For example, when generating a report. Usually, property managers need to generate reports every day, every week, or every month, and they are in the office manually inputting data and generating their reports to give to their supervisors. What our system can do is collect the data, automate the creation of the report, and send it every day at 8 p.m. or every week on Friday at 8 p.m. to the people who need to see it,” he explained.

The same can be done with statements of account. The reading of water and electricity meters can be automated by replacing them with smart meters that can feed the consumption data into the system, which will automatically generate a report, Mr. Henares said.

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