10 reasons why universities need real estate management software

Paul Sharp

Paul Sharp

Technology – it’s here to kill us all and take our jobs, right? Not exactly. If we can get out of that dystopian mindset, it can actually help us to do better in our jobs without having to give them up – and make more from our property portfolio. 

Never has this argument been more pertinent than with universities. If you’re not familiar with real estate management software, it’s more or less there to make your life easier as a facilities manager. We can look at this from the point of view of its three main services, for example: 

Accounting

Not sure whether you’re coming or going with your property costs? Because of the flexible nature of academic buildings, it’s hard to keep a hold on income and outgoings. Real estate management software solves this with everything in one easy dashboard. 

Operations

 

Remember what we said about the flexibility of academic buildings? A lecture hall could be a sit-down theatre with 100 students one day, and a performing arts stage the next. This massively impacts how the space will be used and affects things like energy management or staff resources – all of which you can see more clearly with operations software.  

Management and leasing

If there’s one industry that loves bureaucracy, it’s academia. University facilities managers can avoid critical data leaks and get a hold of everything from property marketing to electronic signatures with simple software. 

But that’s looking at it in a broader context. If you really want to make the most of your real estate and lease management software, you need to break it down by its features. We’ve done the hard part for you – here are 10 reasons why universities need real estate and lease management software. 

10 ways universities can use real estate and lease management software 

Start getting better value from your academic properties with these must-have features. 

1. Keep in touch with university departments for better value. 

All real estate management software helps facilities managers keep in touch with their university departments. Academic university departments can send in their questions, comments, and complaints via a self-service portal online. They can also use this to check the details of their contract, helping to alleviate any potential conflicts in advance. 

While this is great for you to keep on top of your university management costs, it also provides better visibility for your university departments. Informed university departments are happier ones, which means they’re likely to stick around for longer and recommend you to others. 

2. Save costs with automated systems. 

No matter what your job, university facilities manager, or anything else – you don’t need to waste your time getting bogged down with manual tasks. How much time could you save if you weren’t stuck on laborious billing tasks, for example? Likewise, you can use tools such as e-signatures to get deals signed off faster, which helps you to secure profits faster and even has a positive effect on the environment. It’s a simple win-win situation. 

Using software, you can automate the tedium and better still, prevent errors. For example, manually inputting data runs the risk of duplicating it – which could inadvertently fudge the numbers and make it look like you’re making more or less money than you thought. Keep it easy across multiple systems with one simple automation tool. 

3. Find the data you need faster. 

You never know when you may need to find something quick-smart from a demanding university departments. Or if you find yourself in a university funding crisis, you may need access to the figures instantly.  

Real estate management software uses real-time reporting to give you the latest figures without having to sift through hours of paperwork. In fact, you can analyse data up to 10 times faster than you would with the human eye. We all know time is money, so get better value from your university buildings with faster data analysis. 

4. Keep your operational costs lower. 

The best way to keep your academic building costs lower is to understand them. Only by knowing exactly where every penny is being spent can you streamline and ultimately reduce your costs. Real estate management software helps you to do this by offering features such as expenses management, lease tracking, and simpler billing. 

Keep your eye on both fixed and variable costs to spot trends and identify opportunities to scale back as necessary. 

5. Get more out of every academic building. 

You want to get the best value from your university lease, right? By using university management software, you can apply a flexible approach to expense tracking and recoveries. This will help you to identify potential sunk costs or wasted funds through maintenance, heating, and water supply. 

Set up meters to track your expenditure on all these common maintenance issues, and spend less time doing the calculations yourself! This will help you to maximise efficiency for better value. 

6. Maximise occupancy levels. 

Nobody wants to manage an empty building. We all want regular, happy university departments – which we can do by using software to help. Using the analytics feature, you can get better data on occupied and vacant spaces, helping to predict trends and align your marketing to make sure they’re full throughout the year. 

By keeping your occupancy levels not only high but consistent throughout the year, you can save on costs in the long term. We all know that rule#1 of business is that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. The same applies to university departments in academic institutions! Use data to your advantage and keep in touch via their customer portal to keep those occupancy levels high.

7. Allocate charges for every lease type. 

From campus buildings to student halls of residence, car parks, restaurants, and coffee shops, you can distinguish the different lease types and charge accordingly. Save time diving through mountains of paperwork and trying to differentiate one university departments from another. Not only can university departments keep in touch through their portal; you can also store data more easily and find out exactly what your income is for every category. 

8. Maintain data safety for your university departments.

In the age of data protection, in particular, the General Data Protection Regulation, we need to pay attention to how we handle and store data. Facilities managers need to take the approach not only of university department protection, but business protection.  

Using cutting-edge cloud technology, you and your university departments can rest assured that all sensitive data, from student records to payments, is stored securely. Stay compliant and avoid data hacks with the in-built security features of real estate management software. 

9. Make simple changes to unit areas. 

You need to know what you’re working with, and ever-developing academic institutions often undergo changes. So, use the software to add assets to your units, for example pictures, floor maps, or even simple annotations.  

You can cross-reference this with changing data using the analytics software. For example, if occupancy levels are fluctuating or you’ve got new lease contracts to negotiate, you can make these changes in real time. Don’t forget – said analytics also helps you to predict future costs with trends, helping you to get a better idea of charges such as rent, cleaning, and maintenance. 

10. Fill vacant spaces faster. 

Using a comprehensive property lease sales management dashboard, you can identify your vacant premises straight away and manage any prospective leads. This means that real estate management software can also be used as a marketing tool for facilities managers. 

For example, you can identify potential contacts and categorise them in your CRM, determining who could be classed as a viable lead. You can then tag them up depending on where they are in the marketing ‘funnel’ – for example, just enquiring or ready to lease – and adjust your marketing accordingly. It makes more sense to give a prospectus to somebody at the enquiry stage than to arrange a full tour, which may take up more of your time.  

Software can help you identify exactly how you should treat every lead, and fill up any empty spaces for faster profits.  

Staying ahead of the curve at your university 

The times, they are a changing. With ever-developing student learning systems (for example, a hybrid of on-site and remote lectures), facilities managers need to be prepared for a sudden change. Using real estate management software for your university helps you not only to identify patterns, but to predict trends for the future. 

There’s no sense guessing – you never know when inflation is going to push up your maintenance costs, or when economic factors are going to affect your university departments. What’s more, university institutions are under more scrutiny than ever to stay compliant. Quite simply, that’s a lot for humans to handle! 

Using software like real estate management tools from AssetWorks, you can manage all of this to get the best value out of your university asset portfolio. Contact the higher education team today to start reaping the rewards.