Zero Email – Too Good To Be True?

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Increasingly over the past decade, a major pain point in modern offices has been encapsulated in the phrase “This meeting could have been an email.” So much so that it’s earned a permanent place within the meme universe and is regularly included in the newest formats. It’s an issue worth addressing.

The driving sentiment being that interrupting people’s day to corral them into a conference room to review or present information that could have been summarized in a written memo is both inefficient and, honestly, a bit irritating. It is an artifact work of previous ways of doing when communication was limited and gathering everyone together was more efficient than physically distributing memos. As our workplaces continue to modernize – and especially with the rise of working from home due to COVID – this pain point is evolving to “This email could have been a Teams message.”

Ok, so maybe true zero is too good to be true, but zero internal email is an achievable goal within the Microsoft 365 environment. In the current era of instant messaging on pretty much every platform, small tasks like getting project status updates, requesting feedback on draft materials, or even just coordinating happy hour plans feel unnecessarily burdensome via email. This is especially important for those of us who file emails and see a clean inbox as a daily goal, but I would argue that everyone benefits from a less cluttered inbox.

The Microsoft ecosystem includes numerous features that make these enhancements seamless.

  • Teams interactions can be one-to-one messages with specific coworkers, group chats, or channel-wide posts. The ability to notify an entire channel or just tag specific team members helps elicit attention from the relevant people instead of having everyone tag along on a never-ending “reply all” chain.
  • Microsoft Planner allows users to assign tasks, comment on the task, and track progress throughout a project all within the project itself – no pesky update meetings or emails!
  • Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents can be collaboratively edited within Teams or their respective desktop apps without having to send drafts or comments back and forth via email.
  • Emails can be sent from Outlook to Teams for an internal discussion outside of the thread before responding to the external party. It’s also a great way to retain records of conversations without having to dig up dozens of emails later as the replies are all consolidated underneath the original post. 
  • Power App automation eliminates repetitive and tedious tasks and streamlines requests and approvals.
  • SharePoint documents can be shared directly eliminating the need to email draft versions back and forth.
  • And more!

All of these features are incorporated within the REALTY|share solution and add a whole new dimension of business transformation and efficiency to the workplace.

Many organizations pay the Microsoft licensing costs to just use Outlook and Office without really understanding the wealth of broader capabilities that are included. You might be surprised to learn how much of your organization’s internal operations can be consolidated with tools already at your fingertips. We’re here to help you maximize your investment in existing resources. Contact us at engage@realtyshare.net for a consultation – it’s a meeting you’ll be happy to schedule!

Written by: Yolanda Hartley

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 engage@arcuityconsulting.com , 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.

Yardi Data Available Via Your SharePoint Portal

Consolidate Financial and Occupancy Data from Yardi, MRI, and Other Systems

Due to the COVID Year, real estate owners and owner/operators are leveraging their investment in the Microsoft platform more than ever before. Microsoft Teams has become the standard for conferencing and collaborating. And SharePoint is finally being recognized for the powerful portal and document management platform that it has been for years.

Companies that have gotten their feet wet with SharePoint as a corporate and property portal are learning about what’s “under the hood” and how this platform can help them make critical data available across the organization in a seamless yet secure manner.

Many of our customers are either Yardi or MRI shops. We are able to help them surface data from these systems via their SharePoint portal. Examples include property financial data, occupancy data, vendor information, and tenant rolls. 

Most employees don’t have easy access to Yardi or know how best to access the information they need to get the job done. The days of requesting pdf (or dare we admit, paper) copies of common property reports should be a thing of the past. 

If your company licenses Microsoft Office 365 (and the vast majority of real estate companies do), please fill out this form so we can discuss how Arcuity can help you quickly and efficiently make property data and documents available via your corporate portal.

Use Microsoft Teams to Collaborate on Documents and Store Final Version in SharePoint Repository

Microsoft Teams

In today’s environment working remotely is a key factor to success and Microsoft 365 and Teams has answered the call to help enhance and streamline collaboration. In this video the REALTY|share team shows you how quick, effective , and easy it is to collaborate with your team members inside of the REALTY|share platform, the industry’s only Office 365/SharePoint document management and portal solution exclusively built for real estate companies.

Microsoft Office 365 as a Foundation Technology for Real Estate Information Management

Perhaps it’s generational; maybe it’s education; You could call it necessity – always the mother of invention.  Whatever the cause, the last few years have seen a significant spike in the adoption of technology in the real estate space.  As a result, the market has responded by inundating the industry with a proliferation of new products and solutions.

Many of these new products are cloud-based “point-solutions’.  They address a very specific, finite source of inefficiency by automating a single process or presenting data targeted to one audience.  The products are marketed directly to the target audience who are naturally excited to see a resolution to their current pain.

Nimble real estate owners and owner/operators with decentralized purchasing decision-making lack the IT governance maturity of larger firms with a dedicated CIO or VP, IT position.  As a result, seemingly elegant and viable technology products are brought into the organization without an holistic evaluation of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) or assessment of such unintended consequences as security implications, data integrity, user access management, and other governance considerations.  Furthermore, the cost consequences of SaaS (“Software as a Service”, cloud-based) products become quite onerous as the company continues to accumulate solutions that address individual business problems.

Forward-thinking real estate companies recognize that the answer to IT product proliferation is standardization around a select few core platforms.  One of these core platforms is necessarily the chosen property management and accounting system.  The other major core platform is the Microsoft Office 365 suite.

It used to be that Office 365 (or O365) was thought of as synonymous with email.  Today, however, O365 is a vast suite of capabilities integral to how an organization does business.  Depending on the chosen licensing package, O365 could include tools for email, real-time collaboration, video conferencing, document management, portals, business intelligence and data visualization, workflow, and many more.

Imagine this scenario:  A real estate firm enters the due diligence phase for the acquisition of a new property.  Using O365, they provision a new property portal that automatically generates a list of tasks based on a due diligence template.  The portal includes a folder for storing due diligence documents.  After the property acquisition is complete, the asset manager can access all financial and occupancy reports via this property portal.  They can collaborate with other members of the organization on the generation of the quarterly investor report and then easily email this report to a list of investors.  Property managers can track work orders and other property tasks directly from the portal.  Users can see a list of all tasks assigned to them across the entire portfolio.   External third parties (i.e., attorneys) can login to the system and add, edit or view only the documents they are given permission to access.

The above scenario is realized with REALTY|share, from Arcuity.  REALTY|share is built exclusively for real estate companies on the O365 suite.  REALTY|share allows real estate companies to maximize their investment in this O365 suite and delivers a framework to extend the capabilities of O365 to meet their other business needs as they arise.  For example, when a business user or department identifies a function that can be made more efficient through automation, there is a strong likelihood that the O365 platform can be extended to address this use case, obviating the need to license another software package and assume all the costs and consequences that this would entail. By standardizing on O365 as a core platform, real estate companies can leverage their Microsoft investment and recognize a wide range of business function solutions without having to continually add new and expensive technologies to their IT portfolio.  And by licensing REALTY|share from Arcuity, real estate companies will ensure that they are beginning with the industry’s best practice implementation of O365.

Ensure your organization is storing documents in a consistent, repeatable structure for all your assets

What’s more frustrating, not being able to find a document or not knowing if the document is the latest version? With REALTY|share, the industry’s only Office 365/SharePoint document management system you can create a consistent repeatable structure for all your asset documents and eliminate those issues. In this demo the REALTY|share team walks you through how this is done on the platform.