No matter how extensively or profoundly database-driven real estate technology platforms like Yardi and MRI have revolutionized the industry (and continue to evolve and breakthrough to do so), there will always be an important role for Excel.
Whether you’re a property manager or investment manager, for those on the front-end or in the back office, Excel—by being a user-friendly way to make complex calculations and presentation-quality outputs easily—continues to remain a mainstay in the technological arsenal for those of us in the real estate industry.
The challenge is to harness your technology to ensure that you are optimizing both of these mission-critical platforms for maximum efficiency and insight into your real estate portfolio’s performance.
Enter: Spreadsheet Server.
If you are unfamiliar with Spreadsheet Server, think of it, not just as a link from your database-driven software to Excel, but also as a means to make the data and functions within each solution more dynamic, more useful, and often less cumbersome than in either of the two platforms by themselves.
Take, for example, a Washington-based client for whom we recently wrapped up a Spreadsheet Server project. A long-time Yardi and Excel user, this sizeable real estate investment and management firm—with about 265 assets under management—was looking to automate their quarterly investor reports. Previously, they had been manually creating a twenty-five page Word document, literally cutting and pasting data, graphs, charts, and lists, culled from data which had existed independently in Yardi’s database and entered manually into Excel. This quarterly effort required at least two to three people spending nearly a week of their time to cut, paste, review, and corroborate dozens of versions of spreadsheets against their Yardi Investment Management portal to make sure that their investors were receiving the information they needed in a timely and useful manner.
The problem was, this every-three-month time-drain wasn’t either timely or useful to those responsible for producing this report.
But no longer. Today, this process is streamlined. By linking the data in Yardi to Spreadsheet Server, they create dynamic, functional, and pinpoint accurate graphs and charts for investors in their quarterly reports.
Beyond heightened utility for financial data, Spreadsheet Server has also enhanced the insights and productivity of our client’s operational side, too. Through Spreadsheet Server’s Distribution Manager function, Yardi’s monthly rent roll reports are automatically converted to PDFs and emailed to the relevant property managers each month. We helped them to harness Excel’s functionality with pivot tables and pie charts and marry it with the dynamic data in Yardi to illustrate occupancy rates, expiration reports, as well as leasing trend reports, virtually with the click of a single button.
These are just a few examples of how Spreadsheet Server has enhanced this client’s productivity and insight, making not just their investors and property managers happy, but—perhaps more importantly—their staff as well.