Reduced frictional process interactions for both customer facing and back office personnel allows for a multitude of both financial and non-financial dots to be joined together for every stakeholder involved within a process.
Each stakeholder has their own set of objectives, which at any point in time can be complementary or conflicting to another. In both of these scenarios, various levels of information need to be shared within and across the parties involved, so that processes can conclude with as little manual intervention as possible, whilst all being executed against a backdrop of maintaining security, privacy as well as taking care of other initiatives surrounding compliance.
Functional roles and process steps can be extremely varied across corporates, even for similar business flows, and whilst this sharing can be simple or complex depending on functional role, all of them broadly follow the same macros steps. This sees end users, employees or bots driving fully or partially automated secure end to end processes, coupled with single or multi-tiered dependent authorisations, as well as various outputs for decision support, controls and management reporting.
Complexity always exists and although the steps above sound simple enough, there can be challenges surrounding how the required data sets will consistently come together over the longer term to drive the required results on an ongoing repeatable and auditable basis. Operational processes must also be able to withstand changes in personnel, and be capable of being fine-tuned over time for any future iterative requirements or larger more strategic change management initiatives.
Data transformations are therefore often the stumbling block within these types of process flows, and this historically has led to spreadsheets being pervasively used to solve these challenges. On the flip side spreadsheets also bring data quality issues, as well as ongoing cell maintenance into the fray.
Latest technologies can remove these operational issues, but this is actually an oversimplification, and hides some of the other benefits that can facilitate and drive value creation. For example, they enable full or partial automations x-application and x-ecosystem that can manage some of the heavy lifting on a repeatable and auditable basis, thereby making information timelier and of better quality, as well as reducing learning curves during any staff turnovers.
Property Types. Holistically, the above can apply to all property types, including malls, shops, apartments, car parks (including charge points for electric vehicles), airports, theme parks etc. Within each of these there will be specific requirements, such as the handling of billing, rental receipts, procurement, treasury, plus various forms of reporting i.e. ad hoc actionable contextual in-process reporting, controls or the more formalised and planned monthly reporting arrangements via the property management system.
Adding more depth to reporting requirements, then examples would include, portfolio profitability, detailed transactional analysis undertaken for segments, currencies as well as various types of stakeholder reporting to different GAAP requirements, with the ability for some stakeholders to reconcile between them.
Qualitative and quantitative processes are yet another differentiating factor here, plus they can handle a multitude of data source types. Examples:- voice; image; video; footfall; efficiency metrics; building performance management metrics; NFT management for artwork; plus IoT (Internet of Things) data streams that might leverage private 5G networks for proactive maintenance and ESG purposes. The benefit here is that all processes can work ostensibly the same way, bringing enhanced compliance control capabilities to all parts of the business.
Stakeholder types can also be varied to include owners, investors, operators, managers and tenants, with some of these actually dealing with your organisation in multiple jurisdictions. This means that business workflows need to work seamlessly together to provide users with deep operational visibility, whilst taking into account the various nuances associated with the handling of international business, including the fast emerging BEPS 2.0.
Stakeholder support, from a sales perspective, requires controlled secure access to information from differing dimensions. This might include a breakdown of property portfolios by segment, stacking plans, plus timely information regarding movements associated with both new and recurring leases, so that lead management timing can be optimised for best results.
Self-service options are very relevant to all stakeholders who all need to access specific subsets of data @anytime @anywhere, but as can be seen from above there can be different levels of complexity to handle. For example, tenants require easy access to private, as well as less restricted information, which might include self-service portals for ease of onboarding, renewals, payment options for various services, plus details on any upcoming seasonal activities amongst others.
Management companies have options to themselves drive proactive building related maintenance workflows or empower tenants to do the same from portals or mobile apps to capture relevant images e.g. broken lights. These in turn are useful, as they provide a deeper level of clarity as to the location and type of fix that might be required, whilst back end process flows ensure that the work is done as quickly as possible.
Chatbots can also provide to tenants a modern automated user experience to a variety of enquiries. These should not be seen as a one off solution, but rather one where underlying artificial intelligence (AI) models can be fine-tuned (trained) on an ongoing basis. This following might seem a strange thing to say, but bots and robots should also have an associated on boarding and continual management overview structure to ensure that they are working on an optimum basis.
Illustrating self-service capabilities for multiple stakeholders throughout the customer journey, brings home the point that processes can be end to end. For example, lease contracts can be exploded into their appropriate accounting entries over the life of the contract to support IFRS 16 and ASC 842, including the appropriate amortization treatment of associated expenses with all information being accessed with compliance controls at holistic or contract level. Extending this further and looking more inwards, financial bonds can also be managed to the same level of depth, which again not only drives time savings, but allows for greater levels of transparency in this area.
Direct and indirect procurement is yet another example where business flows can be extended end to end so that purchases can be granularly managed to keep decisions within policy including for T&E and supplier management. This includes FP&A and financial budgeting processes especially when it comes to ensuring that approved procurement expenditure, that is not yet consumed, is not actually spent a second or third time.
Current pandemic environments existing today require some lateral thinking re office designs and staff management to help re-foster the rebuilding of corporate cultures and individual mindsets (including their mental health). This might see a drive to more flexible working hours for some types of stakeholders, the hiring of cleaning robots that themselves use artificial intelligence (AI), and a rethink of integrating more mobile based technologies to get staff more optimally to their offices through the use of mobile phones that leverage elevator API’s.
Commercial decision making and priority setting is helped by the fact that systems can work for you and not vice versa. They do this by providing contextual actionable information to the right person in a timelier manner to reduce risk. Process enhancements can be done on an iterative basis.
Compliance should be seen as being part of every process and not an extension to it. There are multiple levels to this, including the physical, logical, legal and taxable location of data, BEPS 2.0, encryptions etc. Examples here might be ensuring adherence to IFRS 16 and ASC 842 rules or various scenarios involving ESG etc.
ESG dovetails back into compliance in a number of different ways, so as explained above it can become part of end to end processes that drive KPI’s for ongoing proactive management. Every organisation has subtle differences, so the key takeaway here is being able to bring the relevant data together on an ongoing basis across the years, in order to build and fine tune your required KPI’s to make change happen.
Data driven corporations are becoming reality but for the foreseeable future your digital enablement tasks will have to be prioritised both on an overall basis and by functional teams in order to deliver the best and most cost effective value at any single point in time. Today’s ultra-granular process designs, coupled with apps, applications and latest payment technologies, take business systems more flexibly to the next level to bring greater levels of visibility and more timely and higher quality information to all stakeholders to drive value creation. A game changer!
GaiaPM, a member of the FlexSystem Group, provides lease and property management software designed to help you drive performance up and costs down. As a global solutions provider in over 38 countries GaiaPM, together with proven solutions for financials, human resources, and operations is a business software vendor to 1 in 10 Forbes Global 2000 (May 2020), and 1 in 5 Global Fortune 500 (August 2020), operating at the intersection of new digital process and payment technologies, whether on-premise or cloud, to provide you with iterative opportunities for value creation.