Founded in 1985, Amsprop is Lord Alan Sugar’s private real estate company. Amsprop owns and self-manages a diverse portfolio made up of prime commercial and mixed-use properties in Central London, the City of London, and across the UK. Amsprop is headed by Managing Director, Daniel Sugar.
In recent years, Amsprop’s portfolio has grown larger and more complex, in part to support the management and development of subsidiary portfolios owned by the Sugar family.
Amsprop required a management system to provide a holistic view of all their properties and centralise data across property management, accounting, and maintenance. The Amsprop team aimed to provide transparent reporting across all departments, improve efficiency in invoicing and service charge management, reduce voids between tenancies, and maximise income across the portfolio.
Mark Kober, Head of Leasing and Property Management at Amsprop, explains: “we’ve got a team of very knowledgeable people, but a lot of information was stored within spreadsheets. This became difficult – there was always a gap between property, estates and accounting teams, and a lack of transparency in overall management. The systems had been outgrown, and with a long-standing team member retiring, it seemed like a good time to update our processes.”
Having worked with MRI Qube in previous companies, Mark spoke to Malcolm Payton, Investor Solutions Business Development Manager at MRI Software, alongside a range of other potential providers.
After an intensive selection process, Amsprop purchased a 20-seat MRI Qube Property Management and Accounting solution, using MRI Qube’s Manager Hub to allow management, including Lord Sugar and Daniel Sugar, who have their own licences to easily view performance from an accounting and financial perspective. The team also signed up for MRI Maintenance Management, a module within MRI Qube PM.
“I had used MRI in previous companies, but we did a lot of research and checked out quite a few systems”, explains Mark.
We looked at a competitor product which presented well but didn’t have the full capabilities behind the bonnet. We then went back to MRI and we were very thorough – Malcolm and the MRI team were very patient in answering our questions. We even visited a few of my old companies to understand how they used their systems, and came to the conclusion that MRI Qube PM would work best.
Amsprop migrated their data into the system gradually, with a soft launch through the summer of 2021 which was completed in late July. “The property management side was intensive but a relatively seamless move over”, says Mark. “The finance side was far more technical than the property side, because of how the company and its subsidiaries operates.”
Pravesh Jibna, Head of Finance for Amsprop’s Property Division, explains the accounting migration further: “it was something we did struggle with at the start – people had been working a certain way, with Sage and a spreadsheet, for 20 years, so this was all new to us. It took a couple of months, but now everybody is on board and we really see the benefit of having the data in MRI Qube PM.”
Training the Amsprop team to use the new software took place remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and sessions included team members from a range of departments to ensure that all teams understood how Qube would affect them.
“It was a digital transformation project, so everybody needed to be involved”, says Mark. “The training proved to be very useful. At the beginning we wanted to have this face to face in the office, but we actually found that the remote training was a better way, as we were more focussed and able to engage.”
MRI Software’s Malcolm Payton was impressed with the Amsprop team’s high level of engagement with the training process. “A lot of companies do the training and that’s it”, he explained. “Amsprop ran additional sessions outside of this and rolled up their sleeves to crack on independently, which helped things move much more effectively”.
Since going live with MRI Qube PM, the Amsprop team have seen immediate time and cost savings as previously resource-intensive processes have been automated.
It used to take us days to get quarterly invoices out”, explains Pravesh. “We used to need four or five people to manually check and update information for our 150+ tenants every quarter, and then manually create, print and post invoices.
“It’s now all automated, including chasing late payments, and we have live information from MRI Qube PM instead of having to go into Sage to check payments. The software has cut out so much work and the process is so simple now – just press a button and everything works!”
The Amsprop team is also benefiting from the increased transparency and data sharing made possible by MRI Qube PM. “Having a holistic view of property finance, management and maintenance has really simplified the process”, explains Mark. “Before, we had a spreadsheet for property, one for estates and one for finance, and if there was a new tenancy or lease the data needed updated in three different places. Now everybody can see the information in one place, and we don’t need to check with different teams for lease renewal details, we can get these ourselves.”
As Amsprop continues to evolve and grow, Mark is confident that MRI Software is the right choice to support the company’s changing needs. “If you’re managing properties in house, you need a system like this. As the company evolves to its next stage we’ll also be looking into different MRI products. MRI Contract Intelligence is a possibility – it’s a very good product and AI is very much where the industry is going.”
Malcolm Payton, Investor Solutions Business Dev Manager at MRI Software, said: “It has been a real pleasure working with Lord Sugar’s prestigious property organisation. The team at Amsprop have been fantastic during the implementation phase of the project and are now live and fully embracing their new system. The solution is already providing a number of tangible benefits, including providing senior stake holders with transparency as to the health of the portfolio, which will help support and assist decision making. We are looking forward to a long future and partnership with the Amsprop team.”