Since its launch at ARPM 2016, realbenchmark has been gaining serious traction as an essential management tool for busy managers and principals. It helps them rapidly see where their business stands in the present moment, tracking comparisons to past performance and other industry-leading real estate businesses. It’s also available on the go. Experienced agency principal and Elite Agent Magazine regular contributor Sarah Bell sat down with Fiona Mott, who is the Product Manager for Rockend realbenchmark, to find out more.
Fiona, what was the inspiration to create realbenchmark?
Rockend are always looking for ways to help our clients achieve the maximum value out of their technology. Realbenchmark helps department managers and busy principals to rapidly understand what is happening in their property management businesses, without having to collate information from various places.
Business decisions for property management can only be as good as the information on which they are based; we wanted to help our clients have access to better information so that they can make better business decisions.
The dashboard concept of realbenchmark is pretty exciting. How important is a dashboard for the decision makers in business?
The dashboard presentation of realbenchmark allows owners, directors, principals and department managers to gain a real-time snapshot of what is happening in their property management business, as it’s a direct reflection of what’s going on in REST. It is designed for busy managers and is accessible on mobile devices, so it’s something that can be used on the go and referred to easily. It also allows principals, who may not often work with REST and who may not find it easy to navigate around the reports, to instantly understand what is happening in their PM department and to give them easy visibility and insight over that area of the business.
So this potentially solves a significant problem for a lot of principals, who may not be at the frontline of property management but who would like to be able to access information about what is really going on?
Yes, exactly. I think that one of my favourite features of realbenchmark is how intuitive it is to use. And also how easy to access it is – everything is right there on their phones, saving managers and principals hours by not having to log in to systems and run reports. Another thing is that there’s a new support feature that has been specifically written to guide users to find deeper levels of information within REST. So if there’s a query with a portfolio, or with the work outcomes of a particular property manager, there is guidance in that support feature which will take the user to the relevant part of REST to learn more.
One thing I like about having all of the information laid out is the ability to choose which metrics to focus on at a particular time, based on the current strategic objectives of a business. That must make it easier to track progress and improvement over time?
I’m such a big fan of the saying that ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’. With realbenchmark, you can use the historical statistics of REST to identify peaks and troughs in operations and any trends that might be seasonal. The historical data can also help with budgeting predictions if you want to, for example, see what level of letting fee is normally collected each month.
Does realbenchmark allow you to track the impact of any changes that you make in property management to see how they are going?
It does, but with the historical data you can also go back and see what impact there has been in the past – so not only can you judge the performance of operations in the future, you can also now see how past decisions have made an impact. You have access to the data going back to the date you started using REST, whether that’s three years, five years or one year.
Judging the performance of your plan is critical, as is an understanding of how your performance measures up in a competitive marketplace of property management services. How does realbenchmark give that industry measure?
Industry benchmarking is not new but we have always traditionally relied on surveys, and sometimes self-reported business figures are not as accurate as we would like. As a leading property management software provider, Rockend has access to a very large cohort of REST professional users; this data is de-identified, and we can use it to gauge performance in the broader industry.
So you can see how businesses are performing against others from all around the country?
Yes. You can also filter it just to benchmark against other businesses in your state, or companies of a similar size.
This is a real estate industry first?
It’s a real estate industry first to be able to offer our clients real-time access to dynamic, property management-specific benchmarking data in an online environment and on any device, anywhere and at any time they want to look at it.
I imagine that capability, that information where you could see the needle moving in real-time would drive outcomes; is that the idea?
It is. The benchmarking tool identifies the top 10 per cent and the bottom 10 per cent of performers in a segment, and it encourages people to push and get into that top 10 per cent. The best thing about the benchmarking tool is that’s only going to get better as the REST user community grows.
If a business owner wants the team to be engaged with the numbers too, how can we get property managers on board?
We have big plans for this product, and it is just going to keep getting better. In the latest update there is a slide presentation tool, so if there’s a monitor in the office, it can be set up to scroll continuously through the visuals. That opens up the real-time information to everyone.
Realbenchmark truly changes the playing field to the advantage of anyone making the most of it. How can users access this software?
Realbenchmark is available to all REST Professional users, so long as they have the latest version of Communicator activated. We’re here to help all of our clients take advantage of realbenchmark, as it’s not only going to unlock the potential of their businesses but can also assist them to use REST to its full potential. For any business owners who aren’t currently Rockend clients, changing to REST is easier than you may think and there has never been a better reason to make the switch.
REALBENCHMARK enables you to:
- Quickly see your business performance today vs other historical periods
- Compares your performance to other businesses through de-indentified data
- Allows you to quickly see key performance indicators on your mobile phone