CON­SOLE CLOUD HAS AR­RIVED

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - Reg­is­ter at con­sole.com.au/new­con­sole to re­ceive progress up­dates, take part in our user group fo­rums or submit your re­quest to be­come an early adopter.

IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS Con­sole has gone from con­cept to first client in the cloud. In Fe­bru­ary we spoke to Con­sole Group CEO Tim Mol­loy about the new be­gin­ning for Con­sole and the goal of hav­ing their first client on the new plat­form by 31 March. Hav­ing suc­cess­fully achieved this mile­stone, we caught up with Tim again re­cently to find out what ex­cit­ing things we can ex­pect from Con­sole in the com­ing months. With the first sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone achieved, the ques­tion ev­ery­one is now ask­ing is – When can I get onto Con­sole Cloud too?

Our first client went live ex­actly as we said they would and they’ve been very, very happy. We’re learn­ing along the way, ad­just­ing what is de­liv­ered next and that’s ex­actly why we chose to go out to mar­ket the way we’re do­ing. The up­time and per­for­mance has been 100 per cent dur­ing the first five weeks of op­er­a­tion and the client is trans­act­ing a real prop­erty man­age­ment op­er­a­tion on that plat­form to­day.

The next few phases in the Con­sole Cloud jour­ney will in­volve pro­gres­sively mi­grat­ing ex­ist­ing Con­sole Gate­way clients onto the plat­form by in­vi­ta­tion only. This quar­ter our fo­cus is on de­liv­er­ing ad­di­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the plat­form to sup­port clients with fewer than 100 prop­er­ties un­der man­age­ment. New ca­pa­bil­ity is now be­ing added to the Con­sole Cloud plat­form ev­ery few days. In the third and fourth quar­ters this year we will be look­ing to start bring­ing on medium-sized agen­cies, with ca­pa­bil­ity to sup­port larger agen­cies from early 2018.

Again, we have in­ten­tion­ally taken a phased ap­proach to en­able us to iden­tify clients that match spe­cific cri­te­ria. It’s an ex­cit­ing process and we have a very strong bias to ac­tion which is de­liv­er­ing tan­gi­ble re­sults for us and our Con­sole clients.

Cloud-based so­lu­tions are cer­tainly not a new con­cept and there are, of course, a num­ber of com­peti­tor prod­ucts al­ready on the mar­ket. What is it about Con­sole Cloud that makes it dif­fer­ent to the so­lu­tions that are al­ready avail­able?

One thing we want our ex­ist­ing and prospec­tive clients to un­der­stand is that we have not just lifted the fea­tures from our ex­ist­ing server-based so­lu­tion and put them on a cloud plat­form. Sure, our clients will find all the usual ca­pa­bil­ity around trust ac­count­ing, rental re­ceipt­ing, and so on. But we’re solv­ing for a very dif­fer­ent busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment for to­day’s prop­erty man­agers than the en­vi­ron­ment Con­sole solved for back in 1992.

“THE TRAN­SI­TION FROM GATE­WAY TO [CON­SOLE] CLOUD HAS BEEN EX­TREMELY WELL MAN­AGED. CLOUD IS VERY IN­TU­ITIVE, EASY TO USE AND HAS STREAM­LINED OUR CUR­RENT BUSI­NESS PRO­CESSES TOO.” TED AND SH­ERYL VAN FLEET, MAY­FAIR RES­I­DENCES BRIS­BANE.

We started from scratch with the de­vel­op­ment of our cloud so­lu­tion. We’re part­ner­ing with our clients at ev­ery stage of the de­vel­op­ment process to search for and un­der­stand the prob­lems, fig­ure out the out­come they need for their busi­ness and then build a soft­ware so­lu­tion that meets those needs.

Agency prin­ci­pals and prop­erty man­agers are al­ways look­ing for ways to build and man­age big­ger, more prof­itable rent rolls. What role do you see Con­sole play­ing in help­ing them achieve that re­sult?

We are build­ing a plat­form for to­day’s com­plex prop­erty man­age­ment world and en­sur­ing the plat­form is ca­pa­ble of ad­just­ing to meet their needs in the fu­ture. There are a num­ber of core driv­ers in the real es­tate in­dus­try that make it some­what unique.

Some of those driv­ers are:

• The trust ac­count – which ev­ery agency needs to func­tion

• The rent roll – which many start-ups use to get go­ing and ev­ery prin­ci­pal needs to be prof­itable to fund their retirement or next phase in busi­ness

• The soft­ware so­lu­tion that man­ages both the rent roll and the trust ac­count

• A prop­erty man­age­ment world pop­u­lated by dig­i­tal na­tives who ex­pect to be ser­viced on their de­vice By virtue of this re­la­tion­ship and the in­ter­de­pen­den­cies of all of th­ese driv­ers, Con­sole is at the core of ev­ery real es­tate agency busi­ness. Rather than hav­ing three, six and nine-month con­ver­sa­tions with our clients, we’re en­gag­ing in three, six and nineyear con­ver­sa­tions that fo­cus on part­ner­ing for busi­ness growth and prof­itabil­ity.

We want to see more prop­er­ties un­der man­age­ment with greater ef­fi­ciency and ser­vice pro­vi­sion to ev­ery player in the prop­erty man­age­ment mix – prin­ci­pals, prop­erty man­agers, land­lords, ten­ants and sup­pli­ers. Our fo­cus is on re­duc­ing the fric­tion points in ev­ery part of the prop­erty man­age­ment in­ter­ac­tion process so ev­ery­one has a bet­ter qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence and ev­ery trans­ac­tion is ef­fort­less. Soft­ware that seam­lessly in­te­grates with best prac­tice busi­ness pro­cesses is how Con­sole will de­liver this to mar­ket.

What do you see as the big­gest op­por­tu­nity in the prop­erty man­age­ment mar­ket at present?

Aus­tralians have a long-term love af­fair with prop­erty. For the post-war gen­er­a­tion the great Aus­tralian dream was to own prop­erty. Thanks to the eco­nomic growth and pros­per­ity the new great Aus­tralian dream is to own your own prop­erty port­fo­lio.

Add to that the high vol­ume of new stock hit­ting the mar­ket and we are en­ter­ing a time in Aus­tralia’s eco­nomic his­tory where there will be more prop­er­ties un­der man­age­ment than ever be­fore, and the agen­cies that can pro­vide prop­erty in­vestors with cer­tainty and value for money will take the ma­jor­ity mar­ket share.

Prop­erty in­vestors want cer­tainty on their rental re­turn, cer­tainty on their rental in­come pay­ments, cer­tainty that their in­vest­ment is be­ing looked af­ter, and cer­tainty that they are pay­ing the best price for the best sup­pli­ers to keep their in­vest­ment well main­tained. Much of the process to de­liver this cer­tainly re­lies heav­ily on the prop­erty man­ager be­ing ef­fi­cient, or­gan­ised, proac­tive and as shrewd as the in­vestor them­selves when man­ag­ing their prop­erty. The Con­sole plat­form will en­able prop­erty man­agers to do an even bet­ter job, more ef­fec­tively, in less time by tak­ing out a lot of the cur­rent man­ual pro­cesses and re­plac­ing them with au­to­mated soft­ware ca­pa­bil­ity – free­ing them up to do what re­ally mat­ters – which is get the best re­sult for the land­lord.

Dis­rup­tion is a real buzz­word across many busi­ness sec­tors. How do see the real es­tate in­dus­try be­ing ‘dis­rupted’ and what do you think could change this sec­tor in the next few years? Prop­erty man­age­ment is still a heav­ily paper based in­dus­try due to the trust ac­count­ing mech­a­nism and the com­pli­ance re­quire­ments that go with that. Com­pared with other in­dus­tries that also have a com­pli­ance el­e­ment like in­sur­ance, bank­ing, and trans­port – the prop­erty man­age­ment in­dus­try is still way be­hind in terms of in­te­grat­ing tech­nol­ogy into the day to day busi­ness prac­tices to de­liver greater ef­fi­cien­cies.

We are a mo­bile so­ci­ety. We use our mo­bile de­vice to do things on the go all the time – more im­por­tantly at a time that is con­ve­nient to us. In the bank­ing in­dus­try it started with ATMs and now you can do ev­ery­thing via an app and even use a mo­bile de­vice to pay at point of sale – you don’t need a card any more. In the prop­erty in­dus­try, we of­ten still fill out paper based forms to set up a te­nancy agree­ment and in a lot of cases the only way we can set up di­rect debit rental re­pay­ments is through your bank, not your real es­tate agency.

The big­gest op­por­tu­nity we see for our in­dus­try is the in­te­gra­tion of customercentric in­ter­faces that are fully in­te­grated and span across de­vices, with an in­tel­li­gence that knows who the in­di­vid­ual is, re­mem­bers their pref­er­ences and fa­cil­i­tates trans­ac­tions that makes their life eas­ier.

The rental prop­erty sec­tor of the real es­tate in­dus­try cur­rently doesn’t make it easy for peo­ple to trans­act in the prop­erty ecosys­tem. As we saw with Uber, if you can pro­vide the cus­tomer with a bet­ter, eas­ier, more en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence and value for money they will em­brace that bet­ter way of work­ing.

We’re now see­ing a bunch of new play­ers en­ter­ing the real es­tate mar­ket in Aus­tralia – com­pa­nies like Hello Real Es­tate – who are look­ing to ex­ploit the ‘happy dis­sat­is­fac­tion’ that peo­ple feel when they pay a sales agent to sell their home for them but don’t feel like they get good value for money. Like­wise in the rental side of the in­dus­try, Con­sole is look­ing to im­prove the value per­cep­tion that a land­lord has of the prop­erty man­ager who man­ages their in­vest­ment for them.

Our job is to make life easy for our clients – prop­erty man­agers – so that they can make life eas­ier for their clients. ■

Ted and Sh­eryl van Fleet, May­fair Res­i­dences

Tim Mol­loy

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