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Post  |  May 2, 2017  |  MRI

Workflow Automation for Commercial Real Estate

workflow-automationWorkflow Automation for Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate (CRE) firms tend to rely heavily on spreadsheet tools such as Excel to perform complex analysis and financial modeling tasks. The time-consuming process of integrating data from disparate sources, such as an accounting system, legacy systems, and even other spreadsheets, often involves inefficient workflow management. Many CRE firms are seeing significant value from using real estate financial modeling software to improve workflow automation and eliminate manual processes.

Commercial Real Estate Software versus Excel spreadsheets

Overreliance on spreadsheets to manage data aggregation, modeling, and analysis creates risks for the business on multiple levels. Excel perpetuates a siloed, error-prone, highly manual processing environment, and it is not easy to collaborate or perform complex calculations.

Knowledge Sharing – Organizationally, firms that use spreadsheets as a core part of their processes have great difficulty sharing knowledge with others in the company, and there is little opportunity for process improvement. Any insight that the business user gains while analyzing Excel spreadsheets stays with the user, whereas CRE software offers an automated workflow that allows others to access and share insights that have been derived from analysis, without compromising the security of the data.

Version Control – When spreadsheets housed on local workstations are sent to other users, it’s very difficult to maintain version control, and this can greatly increase the risk of mistakes. A real estate modeling solution can serve as a system of record that ensures all users are looking at the most recent information and that the data has been normalized to avoid discrepancies.

Efficiency and Agility – The typical model running in Excel requires so much data wrangling, cleansing, and manipulation that precious little time remains to perform the actual analysis on the data. When the preparation work takes up to 85% of the total time and effort required, the value of the resulting analysis is greatly reduced, and the outcome may no longer be relevant or timely. A CRE solution allows staff to create financial models significantly faster, which provides more accurate information that real estate executives can then use to make decisions.

Automate Commercial Real Estate Workflow

To drive the most value, a software solution designed specifically for the industry is the only way to make the transition from thousands of spreadsheets and reduce the mammoth manual effort currently in use at many CRE companies.

Dedicated software for financial modeling and portfolio management pays for itself within months by:

  • Reducing the non-value hours of staff
  • Improving the value of solid decision support
  • Delivering real profit-enhancing value

A flexible CRE financial modeling software can easily integrate with other systems, such as external accounting or property management systems. The ability to leverage multiple systems gives CRE firms expanded functionality to achieve business goals, while presenting a seamless experience for system users.

Increase Value and Productivity

Implementing a CRE solution often results in a paradigm shift for the organization. Employees that previously spent too much time on manual processes now feel that their efforts add more value to the business. This results in increased productivity and improved employee morale, almost without exception. Personnel can focus their attention on value-add opportunities for the business, such as:

  • Maximizing capital utilization
  • Minimizing tax burdens
  • Anticipating events such as interest rate increases
  • Identifying new business opportunities

Becoming more analysis-driven is transformative for CRE firms. As more people devote time and effort to analysis work, more innovation and new ideas are generated. Data sharing across departments fosters the development of new ideas, and opportunities, threats, and general trends are identified sooner with better tools and refined processes.

Learn how your firm can automate workflow and eliminate manual processes with commercial real estate modeling solutions.

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