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One system to unite them all

Leveraging the power of a single system to drive your business data management strategy

By AppFolio Property Manager

Implementing an effective data management strategy is the ideal solution for efficiently acquiring and using data to inform wise business decisions. A data management strategy for property managers is similar to what health care professionals first envisioned when they created the electronic health record (EHR) system: a single source for collecting, verifying, storing, sharing, collaborating, and protecting relevant data. Sadly, less than half of business leaders surveyed in Experian’s 2021 Global Data Management Research project voiced a strong sense of confidence in their data assets.

Managing the lifecycle of your business activities through a single, central data source has many benefits, including accurate, consistent data collection and reporting throughout your organization.

An effective, single-source data management strategy can better inform your business decisions by helping you:

Overcome risks associated with false comparisons

When you pull data from more than one system, you run the risk of generating inaccurate reports. Different systems may use similar names for the same metrics, but they may compile the data using different parameters. For example, differing formulas may be used to calculate important metrics, such as occupancy rates. Alternatively, your report may depend on manual entries on spreadsheets, a method known for duplication and human errors. Using one system that doesn’t require manual data entry or synthesis validates your data comparisons.

Eliminate redundancy, improve performance

A single system also saves valuable time and utilizes resources more wisely. Relying on multiple platforms to source your data often leads to you paying for the same functionality multiple times. That leaves you with less money to grow your business. Additionally, your staff will inevitably spend unnecessary time ensuring data comparisons are accurate.

Using one organization-wide data system empowers team members to access, collaborate, and share data easily and efficiently. This will also instill in everyone a greater confidence that they’re all operating on the same page.

With this confidence, staff no longer has to verify and re-verify information. This confidence means that your team members will be freer to focus on more important business activities.

Gain valuable insights in real time

When you eliminate redundancy, you automatically improve your organization’s market shift response time with real-time insights. Implementing a single-source data management system eliminates the need for generating and analyzing myriad reports to check the pulse of your organization. Second-guessing is now a thing of the past. Real-time insights drive better marketing strategies, efficient maintenance delivery, and enhanced data protection.

Single-source data management strategy

Leveraging the power of one system that you trust will help drive faster, well-formed decisions when time is of the essence. Investing in a single-source platform means that you’ll never end up paying for duplicate functionality. You become stronger, more agile, and more responsive to changes in the market and within your organization. Perhaps the most valuable benefit is the ability to reduce stress for you and your staff. Freeing up time to spend on primary business responsibilities can be a wonderful motivator for your team.

The first step in optimizing your data strategy is to understand where your current data strategy is right now. To do so, ask yourself these questions:

Do you have a single source of truth for data or specific key performance indicators?

Are you looking at a single system consistently—one that acts as a comprehensive, go-to source for specific pieces of data—or do you regularly access multiple systems and collate information together somehow?

Do you know how your data is stored and organized?

You’re likely already working with systems that have been gathering data for quite some time. But what happens when new data is added to the system? What about when teams have to bring information together from different systems? Does your business have a process for modifying existing data fields or creating new ones to accommodate the variety of information points you’re collecting?

Are the right people pulling the right data?

Marketing, operations, and finance departments could all look at the same metric and draw three different conclusions. Make sure you have the right people looking at the right data, or you may unnecessarily invoke “information overload” and obtain conflicting insights.

Are you really getting an apples-to-apples comparison with your teams’ reports?

Getting data that’s in perfect alignment from every department in your organization is key. However, that can’t happen if teams aren’t unified around where data is coming from, how it’s defined and calculated, and which time frames to look at.

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, it’s time to put a solid data strategy in place for your organization. For insights into how to do it and to explore additional benefits of implementing a single-source data management system, check out AppFolio’s guide, solving the multifamily industry data challenge. This guide to optimizing your business explains how single-source data management systems empower you to make well-informed decisions based on your organization’s unique needs, so you can turn information into intelligence and insights into action.

Journal of Property Management

AppFolio Property Manager is a fully mobile, all-in-one property management software that allows property managers to more effectively market, manage, and grow their business. AppFolio simplifies daily tasks around accounting, rent collection, and reporting, as well as leasing, screening, and maintenance.

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