Are the internal processes at your business aligned with Yardi’s best practices? Are you sure?
For many real estate companies, it can be a challenge to merge existing business processes with Yardi systems. Fortunately, our independent Yardi consultants at Saxony Partners can help your team fully integrate with Yardi software and improve your overall efficiency.
Here’s everything you need to know about how we conduct a Yardi business process review.
What is a Yardi business process review?
The term “business process review” encompasses the steps our consultants will take to better understand your business and make recommendations.
“It’s our way of better understanding their business and how they do things so we can more easily streamline processes and translate things to Yardi,” Magill said.
How does the process begin?
First things first, our consultants learn everything they can about a new client so they will start the reviewing process well-informed.
“We do our research,” Magill said. “We read whatever we can find about the company, we pour over the website, we research the people we’re going to be talking to. We want to know as much background information as we can about their business. That way, we can be as prepared as possible before we jump in.”
As part of the initial research necessary for an effective Yardi business process review, our consultants request documentation that describes existing internal procedures.
“If you have any kind of documentation, it’s good to get that,” Magill said. “We’re essentially doing a gap analysis: what processes are being done today, and are those processes accounted for? Are people doing things outside the system or outside of what the established processes are in order to get things across the line that you’re unaware of? Those are the things we need to know.”
Escobedo pointed out this is an examination of existing documentation – there’s no reason to scramble to create new materials.
“Generally, companies have some sort of training manual, document library, or operations manual that gets distributed – this is the type of documentation we’re talking about,” Escobedo said. “Nothing new has to be created. If they don’t have a process documented, they don’t have to write it now.”
Partnering with key employees who are putting business practices into action every day is also an essential component to the review.
“It greatly benefits the process when the client proactively nominates a strong employee from each area of the business to take part in the review,” Escobedo said. “This person needs to be efficient and someone who is physically doing the on-the-ground work within that department. We want to make sure that we talk to someone from every department, every area, so we can question them about all their processes and understand their work.”
“It’s very important to have input from the people who are actually engaged in the work,” Escobedo said. “There is often a difference between what is supposed to be happening, or what upper management thinks is happening, versus what is actually happening. This is where you really do identify what’s gone awry and deviating from the normal process.”
Finally, it is critical in the early stages to establish confidence in the process with important stakeholders.
“This is also a good time to make sure this has buy-in across the company,” Escobedo said. “The business stakeholders need to be informed and engaged. They need know that, yes, this process will take some time out of their busy day, but there are a litany of reasons why it’s important. It’s ultimately going to fix problems for them.”
How long will the process take?
If you’re wondering how much time your Yardi business process review will need from start to finish, the short answer is that it depends on the size and scope of your business. But plan for about two to three weeks.
“The meetings can last anywhere from two to five days,” Magill said. “And then, after that, we assemble the report. There are a lot of notes and interviews that need to be transcribed and analyzed. We essentially document all of your business processes and make recommendations based on that documentation – so it takes another week or so to assemble that. The entire process should be completed within two to three weeks.”
What questions will our consultants ask?
In order for our consultants to help you use Yardi to its full potential, they need to know which modules you want to focus on.
“We want to know what modules they are using so we can dig into that specifically,” Escobedo said. “We don’t want to spend time putting together, for example, questions related to RENTCafe if they aren’t using it. We want to set up questions that cover all the bases.”
“We also look at what they are using and begin tailoring questions to that. What tends to happen is that as the review begins, and as we listen to what the client is saying, many of our questions organically evolve from that conversation.”
“Some of our most common questions are: ‘What are your pain points in Yardi?’ ‘What do you think doesn’t make sense.’ ‘What do you wish happens differently?’ ‘What do you do outside of Yardi that pertains to Yardi – like, what do you export into Excel and reformat in order to answer a specific question?’”
Magill said the more information he can gather from employees, the more confidently he can make further recommendations.
“Our goal is to capture everything that they are doing from A to Z, and all of those in between steps,” Magill said. “Are they having to add extra steps to an established process, or deviate from the process in order to accomplish what they need to accomplish? These are the things we need to find out – and that’s why we need to talk to so many people, because we want to make sure that everyone in the company is aware of what’s going on and understands the business processes.”
“We listen, we ask questions, and then we use our industry knowledge to drive some of those questions and ask follow-ups.”
What are the benefits to a Yardi business process review?
Why should you bother to spend 2 to 3 weeks with a consultant to undergo a Yardi business process review? Because ultimately, higher efficiency means better profits.
“It gives valuable information to the decision-makers about the business,” Magill said. “They can make informed decisions about what needs to be changed and where to make investments.”
“It helps align a company’s technology stack with their business goals. It also provides valuable insight to management, who maybe don’t have a full picture of how work is getting done at the ground-level. They may not be aware of all of the processes that are taking place in order to get that work done. So, we’re capturing and translating all of those processes, documenting all of those jobs, and putting it all on paper so that everyone has transparency to what is happening throughout the company. They’ll know how technology can improve efficiency, reduce timelines, and make budgeting more precise.”
“The BPR can lay the ground work for future engagements, like Yardi managed services” Escobedo said. “If we have a clear picture of how the business operates, we can seamlessly jump in and support you with less ramp-up time.”
“Some of the recommendations we make will be simple, turn-key things – others will be implementing modules and other intensive things that a consulting team can execute for you. But at the end of a Yardi business process review, you will know where your gaps are and will have a roadmap for success.”