Tailor-made digital solutions beat off-the-shelf products – LWB, Saxony’s largest municipal housing association, is introducing new software for its rental business
IT&I: As a property owner, LWB’s core business is apartment rentals. You are true professionals – all your processes have been fine-tuned and rehearsed a thousand times. Yet you still decided to introduce new software and were even involved in its development yourselves. Why all the effort?
Iris Wolke-Haupt: Two things have changed: technology and the requirements for our rental processes. So it was a logical and urgent step to also integrate this area as a core process. Especially in the area of rentals, we need the most current data possible. If an apartment has just been reserved by a customer, this must be instantly recognisable in the system used by all housing management employees.
Siegfried Gallitschke: Our rental department, which has 18 members of staff, needs real-time updates in order to give customers reliable information and avoid misunderstandings. Potential tenants want to know whether an apartment is still available, reserved or already rented.
IT&I: Are there other advantages?
Gallitschke: Take data protection: the new system automatically incorporates and implements all privacy regulations. This means that all data on potential tenants is deleted after six months if they have been inactive for this period of time.
Wolke-Haupt: Thanks to the new rental solution tailored to our needs, we no longer have to move so much paperwork around. This is not only good for the environment – it also reduces the required time and manpower, speeds up the processes and prevents errors.
IT&I: Instead of choosing ready-made software, you went with a bespoke solution. What led you to take this more challenging path?
Wolke-Haupt: We were looking for a solution that would fulfil all our housing administration needs, reproduce our sales and property management processes, and integrate and use our existing IT systems in the best way possible. We combined our know-how with the experience of PROMOS. It was equally important to us that our daily work steer the IT processes, not the other way around. The day-to-day requirements are decisive. The result – our new rental solution – increases efficiency in rental operations by enabling processing both in the office and in a mobile application. It creates a new level of transparency for applicants and is very easy to use.
Gallitschke: In contrast to traditional rental software, the application is optimised for both PCs and tablets with an intuitive layout. Thanks to the SAP® connection and the associated updating of master and transaction data with easysquare workflow, the new solution is highly integrative and avoids media discontinuity.
IT&I: How long did you work with PROMOS on the joint project?
Gallitschke: The project duration was two years. The new rental solution went live in January 2019. In addition to the development phase, we also had to complete comprehensive tests. After all, everything had to work both at our desks in the office and on our tablets everywhere else.
IT&I: Do you consider the introduction of the new solution a final step in the modernisation and digitisation of your rental division?
Wolke-Haupt: It is another milestone in our rental management. We are working on different topics and we see this as a never-ending process. We are always on the lookout for new and better solutions.
IT&I: And what concrete work is being done?
Gallitschke: For example, we are planning to introduce an online booking system for our inspection and consultation appointments. Similar systems are already used in medical practices and public administration, for instance. We are unconvinced by mass-produced solutions and want to serve our customers in a unique way. There is more potential beyond this. The possibilities range from live chats and online inspections to digital data collection.
Wolke-Haupt: Innovations should never lose sight of the fact they must be useful to people – to our customers and our employees. We want to create sustainable solutions that will also live up to the challenges of the future.
Thank you for the interview.