Monday, May 16, 2011

“That’s One Step for the Paperless Office”

I found this article (see below, in blue type) in an issue of “Development Magazine, but I don’t know which issue of that magazine this article appeared in. Anyway, I found the article to be interesting from the point of view that “reprographers” do offer “document management” software and services, and, thusly, real estate development and management companies are “appropriate targets” for reprographers ….

Real estate businesses have heard optimistic talk about "the paperless office" for at least 20 years now. However, if you are still drowning in paper-based lease documents, asset reports, monthly budgets, ownership documents and drawings, take heart - there are life preservers out there.

The Shorenstein Company, a large commercial real estate owner headquartered in San Francisco, California, is using document management software from Stellent, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minnesota called the Stellent SmartCabinet.

According to Natasha Tuck, program manager for Shorenstein, the company began looking for a Web-based document management system when it outsourced its legal department. Because Shorenstein did not have the administrative staff to copy and distribute these documents any longer, it needed a system to have them available 24/7.

"All the attorneys needed access to the files," said Tuck. "This was our first challenge that we faced and handled. We looked at a handful of solutions. We chose SmartCabinets for two reasons: SmartCabinets had all of the functionality that we needed, such as email notifications when documents were available in the system. The second reason was ease of use: The system is very intuitive, which was critical. It is a nice balance between being user friendly and having sophisticated functionality."

SmartCabinet is designed specifically for the real estate industry, according to Tuck. The user interface is a filing cabinet, file drawers and files. What makes it specific to real estate is that it understands the property hierarchy, so that one can have a property that has multiple buildings under it and each can have its own files.

Shorenstein implemented SmartCabinet in about 12 weeks, which included scanning 8,400 property and tenant documents into the system - a mere 175,000 pages! Some of the benefits for Shorenstein of using document management software:

The company can manage thousands of real estate documents.

By bringing the content to the web, the company has improved many of its business processes, from asset management, leasing and legal services to property acquisitions and dispositions.

The company was able to better align cost structure more closely with business cycles.

Because the company can efficiently and securely share infor-mation with external partners, it was able to effectively out-source its legal department and decrease administrative staff.

The company was also able to accelerate cycle disposition times and enhance its leasing process.

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