Single Source of Truth (SSOT) in Property Management

SSOT is a Superhero's Rescue in Times of Uncertainty.

If there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change. You’ve experienced this first‐hand as Property Manager: rapidly changing legislation at all levels of government, rising insurance premiums, virtual AGMs, timber prices, supply & demand issues, COVID Pandemic Response, increased arrears / bylaw infractions / fines / stress from more owners at home, and evolving licensing requirements.

And, of course, more people are staying at home, more people are calling for more service. 

All Property Managers across North America are facing a new reality:
  • increased service requests,
  • impatient tenants and owners,
  • staff burnout,
  • frustrated trades, &
  • heightened litigation

The times, they are a’ changin’

The Pandemic ripped open cracks in how property managers approach owner & tenant service for associations & rental properties.
The systems you have built may no longer be keeping up. And, neither are your staff. 

There is hope though. And, it’s by embracing “Single Source of Truth” data, or “SSOT” for short.

Success with Single Source of Truth happens in 3 steps:
  1. Consolidate your data in a single place so you can rely on it
  2. Construct automated processes that work on that data
  3. Rely on KPI measurements and reporting to manage your business

What is a Single Source of Truth?

A single source of truth (SSOT) is the practice of aggregating the data from many systems within your property management to a centralized location. 
This means your property management firm should structure information so that every data element is stored exactly once, and everything else references that data.
Aargh Software Property Manager with all the building knowledge in his brain with super powers using Rent Manager

Do you have “data silos” at your property management firm?

Property Management is a highly information-intensive profession. To swim in the tsunami of data that is coming their way, all property management firms are at varying levels of bringing technology into their offices.

One of the problems of bringing technology into your office is that your data ends up coming from multiple sources and being stored in multiple places:

  • Paper
  • Email
  • Phone systems
  • Personal hard drives
  • Varying cloud drives
  • And, of course, in Rent Manager.
Having multiple sources of data that is separate from each other is known as having “data silo’s.”
Data Silos in Property Management Diagram

Why is SSOT Important for Property Managers?

When a property management firm embraces single-source-of-truth, here are some of the benefits you’ll experience:

  • Information is not siloed
  • Information is easily discoverable by all members of the team
  • Team members find it easier to collaborate – Staff have the same 360-degree view of the tenant
  • Information can be searched … it includes “structured data” not just “BLOBs” … for example, scanned by-laws should have searchable text via OCR, vs. just being images.
  • Double-entry is eliminated
  • Having people ask  “do you have the most current copy of the spreadsheet” is a thing of the past
  • Reduced time searching for things
  • Less filing cabinets and missing boxes
  • Errors are less likely and less costly
  • Your history is all in one place; it’s easier to provide backup & respond to:
    • owners requests for info
    • Tenant disputes
    • Legal claims

Most importantly, your data is complete. 

With complete data, there are four management opportunities with SSOT:

  1. Reporting: Reports can be set up for easier oversight
  2. Automation: Systems can be set up because data is reliable
  3. Communication: You can rely on systems to respond to tenants
  4. Benchmarks: KPI’s established to manage business & staff

Single Source of Truth means Rent Manager is the Center of the Universe

Over time, Rent Manager has been doing a great job creating a data repository that can be used for every facet of a property management business.

For property management firms, that means that you need to embrace the discipline of getting information from these other sources and into Rent Manager.

Rent Manager integration partners do a great job of adding extra features to Rent Manager, as well as the ability to get data in and out of Rent Manager more easily.

Rent Manager has a very robust API for integration partners to use. This API is also useful if you have a custom need for programming in your property management firm, it’s easy to hire a developer with skills to help you.

For Rent Manager users, SSOT gives you the confidence to embrace OWA and TWA portals.

Allowing clients to “self-serve” on a 24/7 basis using the Web Portals is essential to helping reduce service levels.

SSOT in property management means Rent Manager in the center with OWA and TWA owner and tenant web portals

Take advantage of SSOT to build reports with KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and Benchmarks

When all of your data is in one spot, you can rely on it to run your business, and make improvements to the things that are most important to tenants and owners:

  1. Reporting improvements. So many you can make, the skies the limit! Consider:
    • Weekly Batch Report with any service issue marked with status “New” that’s > 2 days old
    • Make 5 versions of the Batch Report available; past due date, 2 days, volume by tenant, staff usage
    • After-Hours service list
    • Service Issue Reports are provided to Boards
    • Monthly management automatically reports created from data vs. typing in Microsoft Word
  2. Benchmarks Improvements; Key Performance Indicators (KPI) — lots to consider, here are a few for service management:
    • Tenant usage of service: STU ratio “Service Ticket per Unit” per property
    • Service ticket usage per staff
    • Average time to respond to and close support issues
  3. Automation. Once data is in a single spot, processes can be built and relied upon.
    • Automatic filters and auto-responses in email
    • Use triggers in Rent Manager to manage a number of things. For example, to automatically send a notification to a tenant when a Service Issue is closed.
    • Use Rent Manager APIs to program custom functionality for your property management company
    • Use Rent Manager integration partners to accelerate your adoption and successful outcomes of SSOT

With Single Source of Truth, it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

Technology is great but not if it comes with a bunch of different data silos. Use SSOT to help you provide better service to your clients and more efficiencies for your property management team.