Leading Pan-African professional real-estate services provider Broll Property Group is a PropTech technology creator and arguably the continent’s leader in this regard. It has achieved this pre-eminence through in-house software development and collaborating with other technology houses. Software development has been core to Broll’s business for over two decades, giving its clients and the industry a unique advantage in the technology and PropTech space.
Broll-Online™ is an in-house PropTech solution providing end-to-end, comprehensive property services that encapsulate property, financial and facility management and mobility and business intelligence in a single integrated platform, explains Stuart Mathieson, Broll Group IT Executive. PropTech promises to significantly adapt how real-estate transactions are undertaken, with the potential to reduce the burden of compliance checks, shorten the path to agreement signing and even revolutionise fund and title transfer.
Managing assets through age-old database legacy systems is now a thing of the past because technology has disrupted and simplified the real-estate industry across all sectors. “PropTech has the ability to quickly and fundamentally shift the way in which real estate is administered and serviced,” comments Jarrod Lewin, Divisional Director: Technology, Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL. It even offers the potential for blockchain to be used to provide a full property transaction history, conveyancing services, confirmed changes in property title and broader adoption of crypto-based payments. In addition, Big Data and AI can transform transaction management and advisory functions, especially as many industry reports are very much backward-looking rather than being predictive.
The PropTech component of the real-estate sector alone is anticipated to yield billions in investment and user interest. It is rapidly gaining attention across the globe, with traditional real estate being forced to innovate and embrace technology where face-to-face interactions have been curbed and altered significantly. According to unissu, the United States has an estimated 2 234 PropTech companies. In Europe, the UK ranks the highest in PropTech company numbers at more than 800. PropTech in Africa, much like the rest of the world, is gaining traction in the property industry and fast becoming a key component for real-estate businesses.
Broll-Online™ has been built from the ground up to cater for industry best practice in respect of property services. Architected using the latest Microsoft technology, it runs natively on the internet via private or public cloud (SaaS), enabling a work anywhere and on any device workforce. The solution is scalable to a large enterprise with multinational interests or large portfolios, catering for property managers, occupiers and owners. Technological innovation is at the heart of the solution, from enhancing tenant experience through native mobile applications to providing data mining platforms to clients. The platform’s scale of functionality is demonstrated below:
Accounting and Finance
A fully-fledged accounting system, including debtors and creditors subsidiary ledgers, sits at the heart of the platform, able to scale and account for multiple legal entities across geographies and currencies.
Property and Lease Administration
Leases as well as offers are generated directly from the system, based on owner templates uploaded, minimizing the need for manual intervention and manual document creation and management. A custom-designed FICA module providing transparency and efficient management. Rates increases and other municipal or service charges, as well as utilities fluctuate and are easily managed. Back charges, new billing periods and the monitoring of municipal accounts for the buildings under management are automated on the system enabling for trend analysis reporting.
Operation and Facility Management
The Broll-Online™ checklist app empowers building management teams to be mobile and on-site, while being guided digitally step by step through complex inspections. Whether it be for weekly inspections or monthly compliance, administrators have the ability to configure and create checklists and assign these to staff. The app also enables users to attached photo evidence for job completion. However, prior to any work being executed, all orders follow a requisition and approval flow before being electronically routed to suppliers via the procurement module which is workflow driven. Only approved contractors and suppliers can be utilized. The accrual process as well as the recovery is automated.
Configurable Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and e-mail readers can unlock efficiency and increase professionalism in all communications. The module is configurable enough to manage any company registers from risk registers to legal incident registers. It also extends to the public web via portals that are accessible per fault center from a mobile or browser-based device to log or track maintenance-related calls.
Mobility & Business Intelligence
The tenant mobile app extends the platform seamlessly to bring tenants closer by providing a rich array of on-line mobile services. The registration process is automated by the in-app functionality through an approval process. Once activated, tenants can share the app within their organization based on roles (finance, facilities maintenance and leasing, for example).
The business intelligence platform is strategically positioned on top of the very rich structured Broll-Online™ data platform to leverage this data. The platform presents the user with a menu of information available which, in turn, is used to mine and drill down into the data. All financial, facilities, property, leasing and workflow information is directly accessible. “For the Broll team, the real power in the potential of PropTech in Africa lies in the ability and willingness to collaborate and partner with stakeholders with skillsets that aren’t already in-house. The adaptability, flexibility and collaborative potential of Broll-Online™ certainly is testament to that,” concludes Mathieson.
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