The commercial real estate (CRE) industry stands at the cusp of transformation, driven by evolving economic, environmental, and societal drivers. The year 2024 is marked by an industry rebound, with more tenants returning to offices full-time, affirming the resiliency of CRE in the post-pandemic era. 

Yet, property management teams are still grappling with finding the resources to complete time-consuming tasks.  

In a recent survey conducted by Building Engines, a JLL company, in association with the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), property teams were asked what areas of their building operations are the most time-consuming and/or ripe for automation.  

Let’s delve into these areas and examine how automation can boost efficiency. 

Which areas of your building ops are most time consuming

1. Tenant issue management

Managing tenant issues efficiently is crucial to maintaining high levels of satisfaction, which keeps tenants renewing their leases. According to the survey, 46% of respondents find tenant issue management highly time-consuming.  

Automated helpdesk systems and tenant service apps can provide swift communication, ticket tracking, and manage resolution more effectively. Automation ensures that tenant requests are addressed promptly, leading to an improved overall experience. 

The benefits of automation in tenant issue management, such as via a work order management system, include: 

  • Prioritization and response: Automation software can prioritize issues based on severity, impact, and predefined criteria, ensuring that the most critical tenant concerns are addressed first. This leads to faster response times for urgent issues. 
  • Transparency and tracking: A centralized dashboard can track the progress of each issue, providing transparency for both tenants and property managers about the status of the request, response times, and resolution steps undertaken. 
  • Consistent communication: Automated communication tools can keep tenants informed at every step, reducing frustration and showing tenants that their concerns are being taken seriously. This constant loop of communication reinforces trust between the tenant and property management. 
  • Self-service options: Tenant service apps can offer self-service options for tenants to report issues, track progress, and access FAQs or knowledge bases for minor concerns that do not require direct intervention from property management staff. 
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Top 7 goals for property managers in 2024

There’s certainly a lot to plan for this year and beyond. Read on for the top goals for property managers in 2024, complete with resources to help as you strategize for the year ahead.

2. Preventive maintenance tasks

Another area that can greatly benefit is preventive maintenance, with 38% of CRE professionals indicating that it’s a prime candidate for automation. By leveraging a dedicated property management system or IoT solutions, property teams can automate scheduling, task assignment, tracking, and documentation. This not only ensures that the property remains in pristine condition but also reduces downtime and extends the lifecycle of critical assets. 

Benefits of automation, such as via preventive maintenance software include: 

  • Enhanced scheduling and planning: Automation enables property teams to create and adhere to dynamic preventive maintenance schedules. Digital calendars and alerts can remind teams of upcoming maintenance activities, ensuring no critical inspection or procedure is overlooked.
  • Task assignment optimization: An automated system can assign tasks based on technician expertise, availability, and location. This ensures that the right person is handling the job, which can increase efficiency and reduce errors.
  • Real-time tracking: Through IoT devices and mobile technology, property teams can monitor the status of maintenance tasks in real time. This visibility allows for better coordination, quicker response to changing priorities, and more informed decision-making.
  • Digital documentation: Automating maintenance logs and reports leads to consistent record-keeping. This can be invaluable for compliance, auditing, and informing strategic decisions about the property. 
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As more data presents itself, we are learning that AI has the power to transform commercial property management. And many CRE professionals are embracing these changes by implementing new technologies at their buildings.

3. COI management

About 37% of property teams believe certificate of insurance (COI) management is ripe for automation. Managing these important documents can be tedious and error-prone when done manually.  

Automation through COI tracking software can remove the tedium and lower the risk by ensuring all contractors’ and vendors’ insurance coverages are up to date and compliant with property requirements. 

The benefits of automating COI management via COI tracking software include: 

  • Centralized document management: Implementing an automated system allows for the centralized storage of all COI documents, making it easier for property managers to access, update, and retrieve information about insurance policies as needed.
  • Automated alerts: Automation software can be programmed to send notifications and reminders when policies are approaching their expiration dates, ensuring that insurance coverage is continuous and compliant with the requirements.
  • Digital record-keeping: An automated approach to COI management improves the accuracy of records and reduces the likelihood of human errors in data entry. Digital logs provide a reliable audit trail for all insurance-related activities.
  • Vendor portal access: Vendors can often manage their own insurance information within an automated COI system, uploading new certificates directly into the portal, which can reduce administrative overhead for property managers. 
Embracing automation: Achieving excellence in COI tracking across 5 properties

Embracing automation: Achieving excellence in COI tracking across 5 properties

Learn how one CRE team leverages Prism by Building Engines to automate COI tracking to save time and focus on other important tasks, like boosting tenant experience.

A more efficient property 

As commercial real estate continues to harness the potential of technology, the implementation of automation in property management is increasingly becoming a cornerstone for driving efficiencies.  

In an era where time is a coveted resource, the integration of these automated solutions translates into more agile, effective, and future-oriented property management strategies. The road ahead is clear: The meaningful adoption of automation is fundamental in propelling the CRE industry toward a more resilient and responsive future. 

Learn more about how technology is helping to shape current and emerging CRE trends this year in “The state of commercial real estate property management for 2024.”