The five qualities of highly effective software migrations

We’ve analysed hundreds of property management software migrations and upgrades, and this is what we discovered.

During the 2018-2019 financial year, we've released a staggering number of valuable new features for property managers into Console Cloud. And with all these new features available, we’re seeing an influx in agencies migrating their property management data across to our software.

Without doubt, the number one question our real estate software migrations team get asked is this: ‘What’s the best way to migrate our property management data?’ Having performed hundreds of migrations, they’ve identified five qualities that the most successful migrations and upgrades tend to have in common.

So regardless of whether you’re an existing customer, or migrating to us from PropertyMe, Rockend, PropertyTree, REST, GeeDee, or anywhere else, here’s the best way to prepare for the transition.

#1: The more notice you give everyone, the better

At Console, we’ve been able to do software migrations within an hour, and some even faster than that. But those migrations were made possible by working with savvy agencies. And what did those agencies have in common? They all gave themselves (and us) plenty of time to prepare for their transition.

That’s why our implementations team swear by this rule as *the most important* of the five: give your agency and your software provider plenty of time to prepare for the transition. In this case, more really is more.

What this looks like in practice

When you have decided to migrate, pick your proposed M-Day (Migration Day) and give yourself plenty of time to prepare for it. And then let us know as early as possible.

Why? Because depending on whether you manage a mix of residential and commercial, a varied, or perhaps a really big (or really small) property portfolio, your migration process might look a bit different. So letting us know as early in advance means we can help you identify the best way to migrate, and the best way to prepare.

If you’re already a Console customer

Then we thank you once again for doing business with us! At Console, we value every customer, regardless of whether you manage 20 properties or 20,000 properties. That’s why we have a dedicated account manager for every single one of you.

So if you’re thinking of moving to Console Cloud, let your account manager know. They’re invested in helping you have the best experience possible, and will work with our migrations team to make the transition as easy as possible.

#2: Prepare and engage your team

Our team’s second biggest tip for success before migrating your property management data: bring your team on the journey with you—from the start. We are yet to meet a property manager (or any person, for that matter) who likes being told, ‘By the way, you’re going to do it this way, now.’

Even if your team stands to benefit from a quantum leap in work productivity, trust accounting bliss and work satisfaction, they’ll probably resist change of any kind unless you engage them in the process from the moment you decide you’re ready to make the switch.

This approach also has other benefits. Besides getting your team’s buy-in (and therefore, their investment in the success of your software upgrade), they’re probably going to be more open about any data issues you’ll need to raise, ahead of time.

What happens at the software upgrade / migration kick-off meeting?

This is where our migration experts meet with you and your team to discuss the best way for everyone to make the transition.

What this prepping and engagement looks like in practice

The success of any kind of software change, no matter what industry you’re in, depends on how well your team feel they have had their expectations understood and their concerns addressed.

At Console, we understand that. That’s why our training and implementations teams have worked together to create a series of resources that you can access to get trained and briefed well in advance of your migration date. Agencies that have had highly successful migrations have made sure that their training is in the bag before they migrate, and they know where to go if they have further questions.

#3: Start setting goals

Once you have your team on board, you’ll be in the best place to ask the big, hard questions: what do you want to achieve by migrating your software? Do you want to save a certain amount of time receipting each day or week?

Or do you want to reduce the amount of time tenants spend in arrears? Maybe you want to grow your new business by a certain margin? Do you want to identify the worth of your rent roll? Console Cloud can help you do all of these. But you’ll get your best results if you pick a goal to start with.

The best way to get value for money when upgrading to Console Cloud is by setting some targets, so you can measure your boost in productivity and / or new business, or measure the time in arrears or time wastage. So what do you want? The property management world is your proverbial oyster.

#4: Get your data so clean you could eat off it

Ok, this might be a stretch. Look, we’ll level with you: almost nobody has perfectly clean, error-free data. But if you follow step number one and give yourself plenty of lead time, you’ll be in a good place to prepare for this sometimes tedious, but oh-so-important next step.

That’s because the fourth quality of highly effective property management data migrations is having the right property management data ready to go.

What this looks like in practice

Take the time to get your fundamental property management data in order. By fundamental data we mean things like tenant details, landlord data, tradie contact info, data entry on your properties—things like that.

Once you’re satisfied you’ve got your house in order, our talented team will be there to walk you through preparing your trust accounts for the transition too, and letting you know what will and won’t come across in the migration. And if you’re a new customer, we’ll welcome you aboard, and show you how to use Console Cloud’s powerful trust accounting features (plus all the other time-saving goodies we’ve built for you).

If you’re already a Console customer

Fantastic! We can help you reconcile and close out your accounts so that when you move to Console Cloud, it’s hiccup free. And once you make the move, we’ll still be there: as with new customers, we’ll show you how to get the most value out of Console Cloud’s trust accounting, property management and productivity features, plus help you do your first end of month. No sweat.

#5: Notify your owners, tenants, and tradies + contractors of the change

Similar to bringing your team on the journey with you, the fifth quality we’ve observed of highly effective migrations is when not just team members, but contacts are made aware of the changes. It sounds simple, but agencies who tell their tenants, landlords and tradies that they’re about to migrate their property management data to new software tend find the transition easier.

Why is that, you ask? Well, if you’re migrating to Console Cloud, there will probably be some changes to how you interact with your contacts. Landlords, for example, will have access to their monthly statements via the Owner Portal in Console Cloud. Tenants might receive communications from you differently, depending on which software you used previously. And tradies might need to be kept in the loop, to make sure they’re using the right app to log your work orders (if that’s something you do in your business).

In short, preparing your stakeholders for change means they are far more likely to embrace it, and, heaven forbid, far more likely to forgive an error. That limits the risk of losing business, and that’s good for, well, pretty much everyone.

What this looks like in practice

This could be as easy as sending an email, SMS, or letter to your tenants. But you could also update your email signature, or make an announcement via your website or social media channels. The important thing is to meet your contacts where they want to be met: contact them via the channel you know they’re most likely to receive your message.

 

And that’s it: you’re ready to migrate. The future is bright.

 

Ready to get started? Book a demo to see what Console Cloud can do for your business. Still want to learn more? Why not check out our Console Cloud Summer Release Webinar recording, or learn more about our product here. And finally, you can learn more in-depth about some of our recent feature releases, such as our arrears and lease renewals workflows, permissions and rent roll insights, or how people are using the new, powerful Console App