10 reasons property management needs a digital transformation: part 2

In part one of this series, we took a look at five reasons why digitizing paper improves your ability to manage properties.

Now that you’ve had time to think about how much easier property management is in a digital world, we’re going to look at five more reasons why you need to get rid of paper.

6. Make ALL your forms work smarter

Think of all of the forms you complete as a property manager. There are facility inspections, room inspections, resident feedback requests, employee feedback requests, time off requests, work order requests, incident reports, and many more. How do you manage these today?

Back in the day, we used massive three-ring binders with no way to search for common offenders in incident reports. We also didn’t have a way to identify trends among our facility inspections. You either remembered or you didn’t. Maybe it was in a resident’s file. Or maybe it wasn’t.

Why not digitize these forms so you can use them in a smart way?

By making these paper forms electronic forms, you accomplish two key things. First, you simply eliminate the binders and physical forms. Staff no longer shoves paper in a binder or file cabinet, where no one will ever see it again. You no longer lose track of binders on someone’s desk. Paper forms no longer sit in an inbox until someone remembers why they’re there.

Second, you can manage whatever process those forms kick off. Maybe a regional manager wants to audit all of the inspection forms or incident reports weekly. Maybe a PTO request or feedback form has to be routed to someone who isn’t based where the form was completed. Short of snail mail or attaching to email, an enterprise content management (ECM) platform offers a secure way to manage those forms and the accompanying process.

You can also utilize workflow management to automatically forward these forms through processes while alerting stakeholders along the way.

7. Don’t let paper manage your HR processes

Just like tenants fill out applications and turn over regularly, your on-site staff does too. This is especially true in student housing, where the makeup of an office staff changes by the academic year as part-time student workers graduate and leave campus.

Just like leasing applications, is there a physical set of employee applications that you have stacked on your desk? Do you perform every interview evaluation by hand? How do you track what is missing without the dreaded physical checklist we’ve already talked about?

It’s proven that millennial job seekers value a modern and engaging process. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that an online application is necessary, but it is only the first step. By taking the HR files themselves into the digital age, the same visibility, accuracy, and ease of use we described for leases remains true for this set of documents as well.

Need a regional manager or central HR office to see the relevant information? Great! Give them rights and privileges to see that information without having to make copies and send them in the mail or attach PDFs to an email.

8. Take your work where the work is

Quick, where are your lease files? Hopefully, you have them locked and secured in an office somewhere.

But what happens when you are away from your office and a mission-critical issue comes up? You can’t access the information you need to make that decision in real time. What if you are out at a property and an issue arises that needs a copy of a lease or the incident documented right then and there?

I once had a resident drive a car through an exterior wall. I kid you not. I needed to take pictures and document communication with the resident and my boss. I couldn’t do that from my phone, so I had to trudge back to the office, upload pictures, save them, and then attach them to an email.

Why not make it easier to do the work where the actual work is?

OnBase’s integrations with Outlook and a variety of mobile platforms empowers your teams to perform their work where they need to. They can even take relevant information with them to work on and upload the changes once back on the local network when they are finished. They can complete forms, approve requests, or attach pictures of exterior damage to a building – all on the go.

9. Unleash the power of your business applications

Beyond accounting systems and ERPs, your team members more than likely use the full suite of Office™ applications like Word, Excel, and Outlook. With only physical files, staff members need to save, print, or email any work they perform in those applications for anyone else to see it. When someone receives an email with an attachment that is important for a lease file or employee record, they have to print it and then place it in the file.

That costs money for printers, ink, paper, and time off value-added tasks that improve curb appeal and resident satisfaction.

The right ECM solution will offer a wide range of integrations beyond the aforementioned mobile applications. Integrations with Office Business Applications like Word and Excel can send those documents right into the system without having to print. For example, OnBase’s ability to “print to OnBase” cuts out the printing process entirely. Integrations with Outlook allow your users to add whole emails or attachments into the system to make necessary approvals without ever leaving Outlook. By saving that kind of time and operational costs, your team can focus on real value-added tasks during their day.

10. Don’t be bound by the size of the file cabinet

There is a finite amount of paper you can store in a filing cabinet or in your desk. You can only put so many banker boxes in a storage room. There are only so many pieces of paper you can stuff in a resident file before it simply overflows. The paper, the storage, the cabinets themselves all have a cost and are bound by physical limitations in your office space.

With ECM, you expand your ability to store, retrieve, and process everything that is important to your teams, whether they’re on-site or in a central office. On premises or in the cloud, an ECM platform like OnBase turns your file cabinets into searchable databases of business critical information that makes your people smarter and by turn your residents and tenants happier. By increasing visibility, increasing accuracy, and increasing efficiency, taking your file cabinets into the digital age can only have a positive impact.

There you go. Five more reasons to ditch paper and go through a digital transformation.

From the ability for people to get work done when they’re on the go to lowering the costs and risks of dealing with paper, it’s time to manage your properties without paper. And that’s something to write home about, but only by email.

This blog post was originally published on Pulse.

Joe Russo

Joe Russo

Joe Russo is a strategic account manager at Hyland. Currently, Joe also writes for Factory of Sadness, a Cleveland sports website operated by Fansided, and The OnBase and Hyland Blogs.... read more about: Joe Russo

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