Why workflows in Console Cloud should be your new best friend, and what are they exactly?
Simply stated, workflows are an easy way of managing property management processes in real estate and property management software. We named them workflows because they represent the work processes that most property managers already do. Console Cloud has workflows for maintenance, tenant on-boarding, lease renewals, vacates, inspections, compliance, arrears, and more coming soon.
A workflow in our property management software is really just a string of software features that work together to help you complete these often complex, non-linear processes, with as little work from your end as possible. They automate enough to get out of your way, but without compromising your control over it. That means you don’t have to skimp on customer service.
What workflows propose, in other words, is to take property management processes from the old way to the new way.
Why bother with workflows anyway?
The property management market in Australia and New Zealand is changing. Landlords expect more. They want more value for service, and expect a customised service. With the rapid changes in technology, certain tasks traditionally performed are becoming obsolete. Now more than ever, technology is allowing you the time and attention to give your owners.
To remain relevant and competitive, real estate agencies will need to find far greater efficiencies in managing properties, and at the same time, find new ways to provide extra value to owners and tenants.
Software apps that opt to cut the property manager out of the management transaction altogether will begin to absorb clients from agencies who don’t find new ways to provide value. And agencies that find new ways to provide value but don’t make their processes radically more efficient will find it increasingly difficult to stay in business.
That’s where workflows come in. They can make property managers the masters of their portfolio, and help them manage tasks quickly, and by exception. Together, workflows act as a sort of dashboard or ‘heads up display’ that alerts them when a task needs doing—rather than creating very manual checklists and systems to keep up.
Because of their ability to drive rapid efficiency, cumulatively workflows reduce the time it takes a property manager to manage a portfolio by a significant margin. This means property managers should be able to take on extra properties, without taking on the extra work.
Agencies really do save time with workflows
Workflows were purposely developed in Console Cloud to be the game changer for agencies. With the purpose of saving agencies time. Our data indicates that people using our in built workflows close out lengthy processes sometimes weeks ahead of others not using workflows. People using the rent arrears workflow have on average reduced their tenant’s time in arrears from 9 days to 3. Our lease renewal workflows shrank intention response times for owners and tenants to 66 hours with a 70% reply rate.
In terms of reported time savings, agencies tell us our workflows save them roughly 40% of the time it would take to complete those processes ordinarily. In practical terms, that’s how we know workflows drive radical productivity gains. And that’s why we’re all about them in Console Cloud.
Getting through the detail (skip if you need to)
Still confused about workflows? No problem. Typically, each workflow in Console Cloud (such as compliance) has a number of event triggers (such as a compliance item getting within 30 days of expiry) and automated communications (a tenant falls into arrears and is sent an automatic SMS reminder) baked into it.
These workflows are designed to provide you with all the right information at the right time, to save you the heartache of endless searching through tabs or windows. As you move through a workflow feature, you will be prompted by a number of options for next steps, alongside these are triggers and automated steps.
Console Cloud workflows will also help keep track of where you’re at, as well as cross-referencing all actions, documents, and other information relevant to the completion of that process (e.g. everything you’d need at your fingertips to renew a lease or on-board a tenant).
In other words, workflows in Console Cloud exist as a coordinated collection of triggered events, clicks, notifications, automated communications, useful information, and tracking that keeps working on your portfolio, even when you’re not.
Don’t confuse workflows with other so-called workflows
Console Cloud released its first workflow in 2018, the first of its kind in the industry. And whilst other software providers began using the term ‘workflows’ to promote their features in 2019 they generally meant something completely different. So needless to say, there’s been some confusion over the term and there is no real comparison to Console Cloud workflows.
When not used to describe features in Console Cloud, ‘workflows’ in other property management software often describe a triggered one-off email, the manual creation of an individual task, and the manual creation of an individual tag or notification that delegates a task to someone. The common theme is a one-off action and manual creation.
All of these micro-features rely on the user to either set up the trigger and / or then perform the rest of the activity manually. At Console, we would call this kind of feature a ‘task’. It would not be a workflow worthy of the name.
Task vs workflow, let’s explain
Same same? Not quite, very different. A task is a single action. A feature that makes a task more efficient in Console Cloud might look like a tick box to enable automated text reminders. On its own, an automated task provides an incremental improvement.
A workflow makes an entire process more efficient with multiple moving parts. It converts processes such as those for lease renewals and rent arrears into a series of quick clicks and automated components. This means property management activities take significantly less time and effort on a process level.
Will tasks ever champion workflows?
Jobs and tasks in property management software are simply an electronic version of the same admin load you always had. Yes they can provide you with a small benefit, but they don’t actually remove the need for a person to perform the action. They simply provide a new way to perform it.
Consequently, businesses that decide to pursue this easier-for-now approach to property management software are likely to face significant efficiency setbacks in the years to come. Hopefully they’ll be able to find the time to compete on value.
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Console are providers of trust accounting software and end-to-end property management solutions, for property managers and agents in Australia and New Zealand.