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Blog Feb 11, 2016

Property Management 4.0 – Increased efficiencies and data quality

As discussed in a previous post (“How to manage growing real estate data more efficiently”), effort & cost of data management grow with the size of a lease file and the correlating documentation. In addition to increasing costs, inaccurate data is one of the biggest challenges in property management. Technology-enabled Property Management 4.0 addresses these issues – enhancing quality and efficiency.

Manual data implementation is inefficient and prone to error

Today, the management of large property portfolios is based on powerful IT solutions, such as the property-specific ERP systems SAP or Yardi, in which various information can be archived and maintained. In order to enable a computer-aided handling of commercial property processes, the databases of these conventional IT solutions have to be filled with the relevant information usually only available as hard copies. This entails the manual digitization and extraction of the relevant content of documents.

The underlying analogue information frequently takes highly individualized forms. Therefore, decisions have to be made as to which documents have to be processed in which manner. In addition, their effect on the digital database has to be evaluated. In this process, the experience and expertise of the person handling, evaluating and entering the data into such systems are absolutely critical to the resulting data quality.

The challenges arising from document management can be summarized as follows:

  • analysis and evaluation of heterogeneous data structures
  • reduction of adverse effects of transferring information from a hard copy to an electronic system
  • comprehensive provision of relevant data from diversified system structures for all participants

Schematic workflow of document management processFigure: Schematic presentation of current processes in document management

However, adding and entering data (step 2 in the diagram) in technically sophisticated database solutions causes problems in efficiency and effectiveness, for instance with regard to the consistency of data entry. The factors of time, errors (omissions, transfer errors) and room for interpretation play a substantial role. They lead to significant effects on the quality of data entered and thus on the effectiveness and efficiency of property management.

Automated commercial portfolio management increases efficiencies

The use of a new, self-learning computational linguistics software can help overcome these challenges and to achieve a faster, automated data entry with significantly better quality for entering and archiving data. As part of one use case, LEVERTON is applying artificial intelligence to the property management of STRABAG Property and Facility Services GmbH (STRABAG PFS). The software tracks the contractual breakdown of maintenance obligations between landlords and tenants for 1,000 leases and transfers the data semi-automatically to the customer’s internal management system.

In the future, the combination with a workflow solution is expected to enable a centralized and uniform handling of incoming documents with direct digitization. The digitalized documents are recognized by LEVERTON’s software and entered in the respective intended workflow process. In a granular case-by-case analysis, a distinction can be made between direct routing to the responsible employee and the digital provision of relevant data points for the automated data maintenance of the property management system.

Property Management 4.0 OverviewFigure: Workflow approach to automated document handling – Property Management 4.0

The automated handling from document receipt through to the archiving or expansion of the database for commercial portfolio management generates significant time saving, quality enhancing and efficiency potential, releasing employees from time-intensive and error-prone activities: Property Management 4.0.

A lengthier version of this article was written in conjunction with Marko Bohm and published in Immobilien & Finanzierung, vol. 21, pages 13-15

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