The concept of automation has been discussed and debated at length in many industries for years. Now in 2020, automation technology has finally reached the property operations world. But what does that mean for property operations professionals, both onsite and back at the office? And what’s the next level of automation that makes all the difference for management teams?
Let’s start at the beginning. According to the dictionary, automation is “the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.”
At first, this seems counterintuitive to the property management and operations world – so much of which is guided by interactions that are inherently human. But with so many moving parts – interacting with residents, vendors, staff, and all their respective needs – automation isn’t just a “nice thing to have”, it’s absolutely necessary.
Let’s boil it down a bit: at its simplest, automation connects processes and operational logistics so your team can focus on what they do best (instead of paperwork, lost messages, and other time wasters).
Here’s an example: setting a trigger on your iPhone to open your mobile inspection app every time you arrive onsite at a specific property. That’s automation – removing manual blockers by automatically taking action, saving you time and letting you focus on core work.
Another example – one you might use frequently: automatic email responders. Putting an automatic response in place when you’re out of office or away from your desk saves time for you, your team members, and anyone else you interact with.
While these examples are pretty simple, it’s clear – the more things you automate, the more time you save. A minute here and there adds up to time better spent focusing on the core of your business.
The more you incorporate automation into the things you do every day, the more you can actually focus on the things you want to do – the things that will grow your business and your career.
Every owner has a plan for their properties – how to make them run better, more profitably – automation unlocks that plan so you can get to your goal faster.
What Makes Automation Smart?
Automation is just a first step. In order for automated process to have a positive impact on your business, they need to be smart. Smart automation understands the human elements of your business – the decisions or next steps that need to happen for every scenario, project, or incident.
Let’s take another look at the above examples. What if your phone was smart enough to know which inspection you needed to perform based on the time of year, and opened automatically on that screen? Or if your app knew you were away on vacation, so it assigned those inspections to your colleague instead?
Seems far-fetched, but it’s not – a number of new real estate tech solutions are building smart automation into their platforms so work gets done on time & the right way, even in the face of changes or adjustments.
The best smart automation solutions are intelligent enough to adapt your company’s standard operating procedures based on things like available staff, applicable properties, and even inspection details recorded onsite.
And that’s exactly the point – smart automation technology enables your management team to focus on the work, seamlessly making operational adjustments in the background, and without delay.
Putting It Together
Ask yourself: what work could I focus on if I didn’t have to deal with administrative tasks and adjustments? How much more could we do with our day if we didn’t have to worry about things could happen automatically? How can we incrementally increase the amount of time we’re spending on reaching company goals, and decrease time spent on time wasters?
These questions (and your answers) are a great place to start thinking about how smart automation can positively impact your team. We’ll be sharing more about how other teams are implementing smart automation tech to improve the way they work, so stay tuned. And in the meantime, check out our quick-start guide on how to take small steps towards automating your business.