Mission ‘21 – An optimisation project at TAG Immobilien AG
The company – TAG Immobilien AG
TAG Immobilien AG, based in Hamburg, is an MDAX-listed real estate company focused on the acquisition, development and management of residential properties in the north and east of Germany and in Poland. The portfolio of TAG Immobilien AG comprises around 88,300 residential units and is to expand by roughly 8,000 to 10,000 units within the next three to five years. TAG Immobilien AG ensures the high quality of its real estate management services by largely employing its own staff. For many properties, this also includes janitorial services and craftsmen activities.
The project approach – step by step to success
Seamless processes for interaction with tenants also require an efficient interaction of processes and the optimal utilisation of existing resources behind the scenes. Ina Hüther, one of two overall project managers on the customer side and head of ERP systems and data management at TAG Immobilien AG, explains the project background: “Our goals for Mission ‘21 included the creation and use of uniform, system-supported processes, the development and implementation of automation in the system, and the improvement of the data basis for TAG.” At the beginning of 2019, the long-term optimisation project was launched together with the system specialists at PROMOS, covering almost all ERP-related topics in day-to-day operations. In addition to correspondence, contract management, operating costs and document management, the project’s focus areas also included order processes, mobile applications and fundamental questions of system design. Albrecht Hempel, who is also project manager and head of strategic real estate management at TAG Immobilien AG, explains the decisive criteria for the chosen project approach. “We decided on a continuous and long-term project. In this way, we wanted to ensure that we could comprehensively and fundamentally address the full range of operational issues. We also wanted to become more agile in our approach. To this end, we formed project teams on both sides for the relevant topics which were to develop solutions for their areas, but always with a view to integrating the entire company.” In addition to the head duo of Hüther and Hempel, the PROMOS team for the project was led by Martin Donath, Director Financials, and since the beginning of 2021, Erik Walter, Senior Manager. In turn, the 13 project teams are each represented by a sub-project manager, which has significantly reduced the required coordination effort. Due to the wide range of different topics, the technical experts were to communicate directly. There are official contacts on both sides who continuously develop and pursue clear monthly targets. Planning, organisation, testing and implementation were all conducted jointly at the sub-project management level. Go-live deadlines were scheduled every three months. This did not involve the implementation of complete solutions every time, but rather the realisation of intermediate goals. As Hempel explains, “This approach was our recipe for success. Everyone had a basis on which we could build gradually. We continuously developed smaller, realistic intermediate targets and achieved tangible results in the short term that could be adjusted again if necessary. This allowed us to create a very good bilateral relationship that has benefited from great, open communication.”
Albrecht Hempel, project manager and head of strategic real estate management at TAG Immobilien AG
The results – a multitude of operational implementations
The project started at the beginning of 2019, with the first quarter dedicated exclusively to organisational and conceptual preparation. From 1 April 2019 to the present day, the project has been able to introduce around 350 implementations of varying complexity on a total of eight go-live dates. These included both smaller optimisations and comprehensive new developments as well as the integration of additional mobile processes. Automation was introduced in many areas, including accounts receivable accounting, where this affected derecognitions and pay-outs to tenants as well as preparation of operating cost statements. The invoice receipt workflow has also been fundamentally optimised. Incoming mail at TAG Immobilien AG is now digitised and sent through a highly professional, workflow-based process landscape which enables the precise clustering and processing of various topic areas. Also on the agenda were the development of further central processing workflows in the ticket system as well as optimisation of the ordering process via the craftsmen portal. Another important point on the implementation list was the creation of a generic data quality process to enable TAG Immobilien AG to check the validity its master data. The company can now check whether certain conditions of real estate master data are not maintained, if mandatory business partner data such as a date of birth is missing, or for properties with vacancies. “All in all, we made adjustments in many different areas – always with a view to achieving a clear effect in everyday business. And we have succeeded, which I credit to the very good cooperation,” says Hüther of the results so far.
Figure 1: The project branding strengthened identification with the project and created a sense of community.
The branding – identification with the project
Another special feature of the large-scale optimisation project was the exclusive branding (Figure 1). The name Mission ‘21, derived from the time horizon of the project, was conceived to support identification with the project. “We hoped to achieve better commitment among our employees with the specific branding. One of the biggest challenges at the beginning was to generate understanding of the special project approach within the company. And that was where the project marketing proved very successful. Along with transparent communication and regular exchange, this quickly created a good sense of community – the feeling of working as a team towards a common goal,” Hempel says of the advantages of project marketing.
Outlook and summary
The Mission ‘21 project is close to completion. Currently, individual topics in certain areas are still open. For example, the rollout of the easysquare solution for quality management and legal safety regulations as a mobile application has not yet been completed. The SAP®-integrated janitorial communication system and the optimisation of the complaints process are also still being implemented. An external rental solution is also still being connected in parallel. These and other topics are scheduled for the first quarter of 2021. The project will then gradually be transferred to the planned SAP S/4HANA® migration. “All in all, honest communication on both sides proved to be a decisive success factor. We were always able to talk about the issues at hand in very concrete and pragmatic terms and thus achieve convincing results in a solution-oriented and constructive manner. We experienced the project work as a peasant collaboration on very equal footing,” said Hüther and Hempel, who are both satisfied.
- As of: December 2020