Tools & features
Property management on any significant scale involves the organisation and manipulation of huge amounts of information.
Masses of financial data has to be assigned correctly, people in different roles have to complete thousands of daily tasks, and multiple reports must be produced and shared.
Our interface helps you to do that with minimum effort.
Your own perfect workspace
Workspaces collect together all the tools and information you need to do your job. You can create and save any number of workspaces, each accessible with a single click.
For example, you might have a workspace to view and chase particularly aged debtors. Or another to display high level management data that needs to be checked each morning. They can be as simple or as complex as you want, but we aim to set up individual workspaces for your different staff during implementation.
Updating in real time as you interrogate the system, you can include routines, data windows, consoles and key performance indicators (KPIs). You can even add windows from third party applications, including systems integrated via web services. So external valuation tools, portals or FM services suddenly become part of your every day property management experience – something that no purely web-based software can offer.
Keep up to date with property tasks while you get on with other business.
The Message Centre runs in a discreet window which can float on your desktop. It warns you, proactively, of any property management tasks you need to complete, such as invoice approvals.It also delivers any reports you have scheduled and lets you know when automated processes have been carried out. The Message Centre is also great for teams, as it integrates with established workflows to ensure that everything gets done on time in the right order.
Create and share simple process maps.
If your job involves a series of routine tasks, carried out in a particular order, consoles simplify the process. In effect, they create flow charts of actions - with buttons that actually initiate processes and routines. Used in conjunction with our Workflow tools, consoles can be used to map business processes and encourage widespread automation.
Like workspaces, consoles are easy to build, save and share with other users. They are often create during implementation or training.
- link console buttons to external or integrated applications, files or web links
- include non-active buttons to remind yourself to complete a task
- add decision forks to structure more complicated processes
Business performance at a glance.
Key information can be displayed in workspaces graphically, to help spot important trends. We add new key performance indicators to the system with every release, drawing their data from our automated reports.
- drill down to different timescales
- inspect the underlying data
- export directly from the graph to Excel
- save your KPIs within workspaces, or access them instantly through consoles
The navigation pane
Everything where you need it
The navigation pane is where you store workspaces, consoles, single routines, KPIs, so you can access any of them in an instant. You simply drag and drop information onto the pane to store, or edit it manually, organising items in nested folders. A powerful search facility instantly locates any items you may have misplaced.
Mobile access to the property management system is increasingly important, increasing accuracy and efficiency for those who often work off-site, such as surveyors.
We can provide full mobile access to our systems, whether SaaS and server-based, via Citrix and/or web services.
Embed sound business practices into your business, with automatic reminders, alerts and escalation.
All Trace systems now come with sophisticated workflow tools as standard. This makes it possible to embed much more powerful automation, by linking together business processes and adding logic – all of which can then be scheduled to run automatically.
Workflows bring many benefits to your business. Sound business practices can be proactively invoked and followed. Training can be simplified and reduced. And regulatory compliance can be ensured.
Common workflows are provided as standard, but we can also define and build new ones for you if that better suits the needs of your organisation. Key business areas such as invoice approval and payment, purchase order processing, budget approval, lease expiry and rent review, all lend themselves to the introduction of workflows. These can include email alerts and escalation features to ensure users receive timely reminders or warnings of critical events.
Management by exception
For automation to succeed, your system must be able to spot errors and bring them to the attention of the right people. We have therefore invested an enormous amount of effort in building sophisticated Management by Exception (MBE) systems, able to prevent errors or mismatched figures passing through automatic processes, but also minimising the number of false alerts.
MBE systems include intelligent cash management processes that routinely achieve extremely high bank reconciliation rates; and an ingenious formula that accurately identifies future problem debtors from the analysis of multiple subtle parameters.
Calendar-style display that monitors automatic processes.
Automation can make you can feel detached from the underlying processes. Run the Automation Assistant, however, and you always get the big picture view.
Items are colour-coded to show their status and to warn of any issues that need attention. You can view by day, by week, or even by year. Clicking on the item in question takes you directly to the screen needed to address the issue. The Automation Assistant is unique in the market.
With the rise of BACS, standing orders, direct debits and online payments, most transactions are now paid directly into bank accounts. But when the volumes are large, it can be very difficult to reconcile the charges you sent out with what has arrived in the account – even when partially automated.
Our cash management system learns and improves as it runs, constantly improving accuracy in all of its matches. Large companies such Countrywide, who process several thousand payments a month, use it to routinely achieve automatic match rates of >97%. Smaller companies also reap the rewards, as it gives them the breathing space to grow and take on new business.
Spot problem debtors
More accurate than any human analysis.
Nothing is more dangerous to a property management business than bad debt, which is why our Software Innovation Team have invested so much time and effort to develop a system that can spot problem debtors, long before they actually become a problem. We can now automatically identify those who exhibit the greatest ‘debtor risk index’, whether individual companies, regions, market sectors, or even individual property managers.
All this is done using a powerful algorithm which draws on many variables. Here's a simplified version of that formula:
But don't get fazed by the maths. It’s all built deep into the software, so you won't be bothered until it detects that there's a problem. Invented by our in-house Cambridge Maths PhD, and extensively tested for accuracy against empirical historical data, this is a perfect example of an Intelligent Automation report that can make a real difference to your business. Not least because it actually functions more accurately than a human operator.
You'll never be surprised by a bad debt again.
All our property management systems can now share data and processes seamlessly with other best of breed applications using the web services framework.
Existing integrations include corporate accounts; housing association systems; residents' portals; solicitors’ leasehold systems; valuation and asset management tools; third party purchase order management; document management software like Sharepoint; and banking systems.
New integrations are easy to set up using web services, which allow us to to create a truly powerful 'super application' linking together a whole series of best of breed tools. Larger corporations now have a real alternative to the massive bespoke IT projects that all too often end in pain and budget over-runs. It brings sophisticated tools within the reach of smaller companies, too: for example, it becomes cost effective to run high-end valuation systems which draw data directly from the property management database.
Open standards increase compatibility between software and reduce costs.
Trace Solutions is a founder member of the Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE), the body which defines international open standards in electronic property data. All Trace software is OSCRE-compliant and our Managing Director sits on the board. Open standards allow unrelated property systems from different manufacturers to share and exchange data with ease, eliminating human errors from rekeying.
Open standards also brings down costs.
For example, the UK’s leading lease creation software for lawyers, Landscape, conforms to OSCRE standards and can now export its data directly into any of our property management packages. Critical data now enters the system exactly as certified by the lawyers who wrote it.
OSCRE standards exist in the following sectors:-
- lease transactions and administration
- investment portfolio management
- occupier portfolio management
- valuation and appraisal
- residential property transactions
Cross-border property management
A cost-effective way to manage international property portfolios.
Our cross-border functionality permits:-
- instant reporting
- instant analysis
- country-specific data input fields, as appropriate
We can also integrate easily with local best-of-breed property management packages.
Design and customise the reports with drag and drop functionality.
We've worked hard to ensure that the reports generated by our systems are clear and concise. There are over 200 standard reports available out of the box, but with our report writer you can also customise the output to get exactly what you need.
Input parameters can be saved for future use; columns can be displayed or hidden with a click; and you can sort results by the values in any column.Drill down inside screen report, to view the underlying data, or produce 'at a glance' summaries of key points.
Property Performance Report
A stylish automatic report that sumarises key property data for clients and directors.
A task that used to take ages is now effectively instant. Simply create the master design using a drag-and-drop interface, choosing from a number of pre-built ‘widgets’ that determine what information gets displayed in the finished report, and merge it with your own branding. This can then be generated and emailed automatically to whoever needs it.
Property management involves the control and management of vast amounts of data. These tools ensure the accuracy of your data, and make its management as simple as possible.
Loading and transferring data is often a major task, conducted manually. Our Data Load tool automates this process, removing the need to cleanse and upload large amounts of information.
Human error is effectively eliminated. It uses intelligent automation to bring any 'exceptions' to the user's attention, for manual checking.
This high-level and powerful tool allows users to make data consistent across two or more databases. You can restructure, rename and amend codes to ensure consistency, or merge two databases into one.
Purchase order management
Our POM tool helps you control expenditure, monitor future commitments and reduce bureaucracy, as well as excelling is in its abaility to handle specific, property-related tasks.
It controls all stages of expenditure from order to invoice, with multiple approval levels, order tracking and comparisons against budget. Appropriate authorisation policies can be defined by the user as automated workflows.
Any information entered by the professional who authorises expenditure is carried through automatically to the accounts system.