At Sopra Steria we firmly believe that there is always room for improvement in everything, including the technology solutions our partners provide. That is why we have recently been working on a brand new extension to SAP’s solution for Real Estate Management (RE). That extension will support and automate our real estate customers’ handling of the move-in and move-out inspection of a property: a function which did not exist in any standard SAP real estate offer – until now, that is.
Before we enter into the finer details of our Inventory Management extension, let’s have a quick look first at our flagship solution for real estate customers in the Benelux: SAP Flexible Real Estate Management (REFX).
Simplifying real estate management
SAP Flexible Real Estate Management is a component of the Financial Accounting (FI) module in SAP ERP Central Component (ECC). As part of that ERP platform, it offers both residential and commercial or corporate customers a fully and seamlessly integrated solution for managing their real estate portfolios. It effectively allows those customers to handle different real estate business scenarios or transactions, such as buying, selling, leasing or renting land or buildings. SAP REFX is also available for S/4HANA, SAP’s next-generation ERP system, and it can be deployed in the cloud as well as on premise.
SAP REFX typically caters to the business needs of property, facility and asset managers. These real estate professionals are facing a growing number of challenges, such as how to obtain a better insight into their property portfolio and better analyse its performance, how to keep their operational building costs under control and improve their corporate workspace utilisation, or how to make better investment decisions. But also, increasingly, how to set and achieve sustainability goals in their building operations, or how to report on their building energy consumption.
Entry and exit inventory management
Most if not all of these challenges are more than adequately met by SAP itself, through its Real Estate Management solution. One specific challenge, however, which is not really addressed by that solution, is the need for a digital(ised) real estate inventory upon entry and exit of a property. That inventory is essentially a document or report which contains a precise and detailed description of the property and the state it is in when a tenant moves in or out. Based on the comparison of the entry and exit report, which has a certain legal value, the landlord may withhold part of the rental guarantee - or even the full amount, if necessary to cover the damages. Consequently, from a tenant’s point of view, a properly made inventory report is important to avoid paying for damages that were already there at the time of entry.
A well-made report when you or your tenant moves in will save you discussion and possibly money when it's time for you or your tenant to move out again. So, apart from being mandatory in most cases, the entry and exit inventory report is also a very useful document. So useful, in fact, that several SAP Real Estate customers requested us to also provide that part of the solution to them. And since it didn’t exist in SAP at the time of their request, we decided to develop it ourselves on the SAP Cloud Platform: a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) specifically developed to create new applications or extend existing ones in a secure cloud computing environment managed by SAP itself.
The Inventory Management application we’ve developed as an extension of SAP Real Estate Management will help our customers track the evolution of their rental units at the beginning and end of each lease out contract. We also expect the application to increase their productivity, if only by reducing their time spent on damage claims. Last but not least our application is certain to facilitate and improve their tenant relations.
For more functional details and technical features, please feel free to attend the official presentation of our SAP Real Estate extension, including a live demo of the application, during SAP NOW Live on 15 December.