Hunt Enterprises: Growth Through Digital Innovation
Hunt Enterprises: Growth Through Digital Innovation
Hunt Enterprises knew that the next wave of property management innocation would be in the digital space. As the company continued to expand, having a strong digital foundation was key to continuing to drive down vacancy rates and increase profitability across portfolios.
With over 40 properties in their portfolios from Bakersfield to Long Beach, Hunt needed stable IT infrastructure and technologies that would ensure its 80+ property managers and 200+ corporate and maintenance staff were supported and connected.
When Facet arrived, Hunt was experiencing major network outages at their corporate headquarters and poor response times from existing support. This is where Facet onboarded and began the process to stabilize and grow Hunt’s IT practice.
Once the phones stopped ringing
We knew we had done our job and could focus on growth
Hunt Enterprises values loyalty among its employees — some working with the company since its founding. With employees at different levels of exposure to technology, Hunt faced an uphill battle toward adoption and training. Facet took care with employees and adoption - the goal was to relegate changes to software that was most likely familiar to employees and gradually phase out old processes and infrastructure. This allowed us to drive a high adoption rate, improve employee skills and comfortability, and allow all staff time to adjust.
Asses the Foundation
To put it bluntly, the foundations were rocky.
Facet was brought in at a time when Hunt Enterprises was experiencing company wide, weekly network outages with regular multi-day downtime. The first thing needed was to start with the basics: get the network up and running reliably. In the first month, we were able to identify the major failures and bring the network to a state that reduced downtime by 75%. With additional remote monitoring and a preventative maintenance schedule, the network and servers have maintained strong uptime.
Next was the inventory and review of all existing hardware, the addition of a duplicate production server, and a technology roadmap to allow long term growth.
Giving employees the tools to manage their portfolios and properties was always something that interested Hunt executives and management. The more that a property could handle on their own, the lower vacancy rates and fewer resources needed to be locked up at the property level.
After the initial network instability was remedied, Facet began proactively updating and upgrading internal systems to ensure long-term support. We began the first phase of computer allocation to Hunt’s properties. Not to be a small task, we also undertook a complete email migration from Hunt’s in-house Exchange server to GSuite (formerly Google Apps for Business) and we also worked with Bank of America and Wells Fargo to provide check scanning functionality.
Facet conducted trainings for the new computers, check scanners, provided documentation, and began the process of migrating documents to the cloud to continue to democratize document access across the enterprise.
Hunt was now able to communicate with all it’s properties in real-time, collect rent on-site, and start the process of going paperless by using multi-function printer/scanners at all properties.
Advanced Property Management
One of the biggest moves for Hunt Enterprises was automation. The adoption of Appfolio allowed Hunt to migrate information from their old, command line software APM (Advanced Property Manager). Appfolio is a replacement for a variety of systems including, accounting, tenant and unit management, and local marketing.
With Appfolio, property managers were empowered to manage listings on their individual property sites, as well as on rental aggregation sites like Zillow.com. Each property manager, by way of automation, could market their property or portfolio according to what worked for their communities and easily update photos, copy and changes in rent.
Training to Empower
As with any new tool or system that has been in place for twenty plus years, there were some hurdles to adoption. Facet had to present all the new technology as an opportunity for employees to empower themselves and improve their overall technical skills that would allow them to focus on what they enjoyed about their jobs. Plain and simple, most people don’t like paperwork. When the paperwork goes away, they get to spend more time focusing on things they enjoy — properties, tenants, and portfolios.
To make Hunt employees partners to the process, we asked for their input, wanting their honest opinions and reservations to the new software and systems. After gathering employee feedback, we went through an intensive training session with the property managers and key corporate users, along the way drafting training manuals that fit their technical education needs.
In simplifying the training and training manuals, managers were able to transfer knowledge to their employees and share learnings between properties. There is now process and order to how managers and employees approach operations and with everyone following the same processes and procedures, workflows and operations have improved by 70 percent.