Moving to a Property-Centric Document Structure for Real Estate

The real estate industry is document-heavy. Professionals across the organization must create, store, edit and consume documents as part of their daily work.

The document folder structure (“file tree” or “document tree”) that houses a real estate company’s files is most likely the result of an ad-hoc accumulation of structures created by individual departments or job functions. Everyone had their own tree at one point and then all the trees got consolidated. There’s a development tree, a property management tree, a legal tree, an accounting tree, an asset management tree. You get the point. Every tree has its own breakdown by property or asset. And documents are duplicated across these various structures. Not to mention twenty versions of the same document. Does this file name look familiar? “VenturaPlaceBusinessPlanV_34.3.xlsx”

More and more, when I talk to real estate company professionals, I hear that they’re revisiting their document folder structure. They need a better way to manage their information that is so critical to how they do business. And when they revisit their file tree, they’re likely moving toward a “property-centric” organizational structure rather than the department or business function orientation of the past.

In this property-centric structure, no longer does the business unit own and control their documents within their silo. Now the organization as a whole accesses documents for a property across all business functions. Certainly security is still applied as needed (only certain roles should have access to legal documents, for example). But the governance and control of the structure for all documents is centrally maintained, and business users across the organization can count on consistent document organization across all properties within the portfolio.

With our REALTY|share Office 365/SharePoint solution for real estate document management and collaboration, Arcuity has been helping real estate companies move to a property-centric document folder structure and a document management solution that allows the business to efficiently and confidently manage and access the information they need to get their jobs done.

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SharePoint or Teams — Which is Better for CRE Document Management?

RealtyShare - Teams and SharePoint

The biggest question I receive from the CRE industry regarding document management is ” Should we work in SharePoint or Teams?”. The simple answer is BOTH, but it does depend on the classification status of the documents being stored. Having worked within this industry for almost a decade and being responsible for implementing several document management systems, I believe in the  Short Term to Permanent Document Management Archetype. The minority of your documents will be classified as “work in progress documents” that will eventually move into a permanent home inside of Microsoft365 (M365) by the end of its life cycle. Nine times out of ten, the document management process for this methodology should start in Microsoft Teams unless the document received or migrated is already classified as permanent. However, working with work in progress documents inside of Teams allows organizations to collaborate and file share on a focused topic while filing these items in a lax structure. Once these documents move through the doc mgmt. life cycle, they will transition from short-term to a permanent document classification. This is when the documents should be moved and stored inside of SharePoint. Here, you can manage a more sophisticated permission structure as well as save documents based on your taxonomy. You’ll also be empowering the organization to quickly search, sort, filter, and refine on those values.

Now that our short-term documents have made their way to SharePoint with a permanent classification, what do we do with the remaining documents still in Teams? Well, the good news is you don’t have to do anything! The secret – Teams is SharePoint! When you save documents inside of Teams, it’s saving those documents inside of a SharePoint site. This means the organization will still be able to search and find these documents if needed for future reference.

Feel free to reach out to me at , and see first-hand how REALTY|share and our Short-Term to Permanent Document Management Archetype can equip your real estate professionals to work efficiently and effectively in the cloud.

DATA, DATA, DATA — Realcomm 2021

Realcomm 2021

One of my favorite times of year has come and gone. A space where we were able to converse, be educated, and learn all in the name of Real Estate and Technology. Where was this symbiotic event, you ask? Of course it was the only place to be if you are in real estate: Realcomm|iBcon2021 in Scottsdale, AZ at the beautiful Westin Kierkland Resort in the Sonoran Desert.  The theme for this year’s conference was “REsilience – Using Technology and Innovation to Navigate an Ever-Changing World”. The conference name is fitting because 2021 has had all of us learning how to navigate a new way of life and having to juggle business and family. First- let’s give RealComm their much deserved flowers! The conference layout at the Westin and the meticulously planned agenda was innovative in itself. The equally useful indoor and outdoor areas created an intimate but functional space that allowed everyone to feel safe and comfortable for the in-person event . On top of that, there was the alluring synergy between attendees and vendors. This not only sparked savvy conversations that weren’t solely focused on the “Sale” (I mean they do say “Always be closing” ), but it capitalized on the opportunity to network and learn from attendee to vendor but also vendor to vendor. 

Data was the hot topic, from how to house it, to how to visualize and analyze it to make better informed business decisions.  One session, “Data and Advance Analytics: Taking the Organization to New Heights”  that was presented by Justin Segal of Boxer Property, stuck out in my mind.  Justin talked about the critical importance of having a “single source of truth” when it comes to master data about your properties.  

In reality many real estate companies don’t have a data warehouse or central source for master data accessible to all systems across the organization.  For companies that implement a SharePoint based solution for property portals and document management, the SharePoint Property Master Data List becomes a starting point for this “single source of truth”.  Arcuity’s REALTY|share includes a Property Master Data List and has helped our customers take the important first step towards presenting consolidated property information via a central, universally accessible portal.

Remove the Burden of Entering Metadata from SharePoint Business Users

Making Business Easier

True document management solutions like SharePoint replace the familiar network share and its file tree structure with a system of document libraries and metadata. The challenge to a successful deployment of SharePoint is finding the balance between implementing a well-structured metadata taxonomy and the natural resistance of business users to entering metadata each time they save a new document. This demo shows you how REALTY|share elegantly addresses this challenge.

Quickly File Documents from a Central Location into Your REALTY|share Property Site

R|s Librarian

The REALTY|share Librarian empowers users to file documents from a central location and store those documents at the selected property site or sites. The Librarian will improve your Acquisitions Team “Property Closing” process by quickly and effectively filing documents in the selected library for a property with the required metadata fields, while making tax season a smooth breeze for your organization’s Accounting Department. For any questions on our new REALTY|share Librarian feature or REALTY|share document management system please click here.