Workflow Automation adds value to property management firms Cloud storage boosts flexibility in data usage
Today, real estate comes in an increasingly diverse range of property types, and as property owners are subject to numerous laws, they must make sure different parts of their properties meet international standards as required. As a result, property and facility management has now become a highly specialized industry.
In Hong Kong, a well-known property and facility management company has more than 200 properties across the territory under its management. But until recently, the company still used a traditional method to manage data: the office of each property on its watch was installed with a network attached storage system. Running a property management business like that is not efficient, as the costs of procuring and managing the storage devices are high, and decentralized file storage slows down workflows. Not long ago, the company sought help from Ricoh’s business consultants. The team first reviewed the structure of the company’s workflow and the culture of the property and facility management sector. Then they suggested the company to switch to cloud document and file management, so that the files of different property offices would be centrally managed and used. On top of that, the Workflow Automation Solution would be adopted to shorten the time needed to conduct reviews and boost operational efficiency.
- Decentralized management of storage devices is costly and inefficient
- Workflow Automation enhances digital accuracy; cloud file management safeguards data security
- Words from a Ricoh business consultant
Decentralized management of storage devices is costly and inefficient
- The company provides a comprehensive range of professional property management services to property owners. These encompass property and facility management, leasing affairs, human resources, surveying issues, repair and maintenance, and cleaning work. Normally such tasks involve handling a great deal of paper documents and electronic files on a daily basis, and a lot of manpower and resources are devoted to specific review and filing procedures.
- The company manages a vast array of properties, including large shopping malls, grade A office buildings, industrial buildings, big housing estates, clubhouses and recreational facilities. Before going digital, the office of each property generated an enormous amount of documents and had to file them every day. Although the company headquarters had put in place a list of guidelines on filing, employees did not always follow them, which often led to disorder.
- Employees had to bring network attached storage devices to the company’s head office to copy and back up files. That carried the risk of data loss. In case of emergency situations, such as the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced employees to work from home, the company office might not be able to obtain the latest data from different locations, making it difficult to make necessary changes to resource allocation plans and even leading to disruptions to schedules for preparing reports.
Workflow Automation enhances digital accuracy; cloud file management safeguards data security
- Workflow Automation can be equipped with the Optical Character Recognition software of Ricoh’s Multifunction Printer, so that data contained in paper documents can be converted into digital format accurately. The digitized files, together with other electronic files, can then be automatically sent to designated employees and supervisors for review and filing in accordance with preset review procedures. This has the benefit of speeding up workflows and minimizing human errors.
- Using the cloud document and file management service recommended by Ricoh’s business consultants, the property and facility management company can divide the files of the 200-plus properties under its management into 12 categories and store them on cloud. The head office can read any documents and files at any time. With data moved to cloud, the company can reduce the costs of procuring, managing and maintaining network attached storage devices. In addition, it can swiftly complete IT deployment plans for the offices of properties newly added to its operations while saving $200,000 annually on each site. The return on investment in the service is high.
- Storing data on cloud can greatly reduce the risk of data loss, and it makes data backup and storage much easier. Cloud management also allows IT workers to provide remote technical support. In case of emergency situations, these workers can quickly come to the assistance of on-site employees. Another benefit of cloud management is greater transparency of data usage. The head office can deploy different types of data as needed (e.g. the rate of reaching service-level agreements for different property offices) and generate reports with greater reference value to support the company to formulate long-term policies and improve customer experience.
Words from a Ricoh business consultant
Nick: “This client has a huge number of clients to serve, and the scope of their property management work is very broad. So they had been cautious about going digital. Our professional consultants conducted a detailed analysis and gave them a proof of concept. Recently, the client carried out pilot tests on a number of properties under their management. The results indicated that digital transformation could help them enhance efficiency and achieve a notably high rate of return on investment. Therefore, the client decided to gradually launch digital transformation plans for other sites. Corporate digital transformation may seem dauntingly complex, but with the help of experts, it is absolutely possible to simplify things.