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August 12, 2021

Practical Advice for Property Tax and Real Estate Software System Integrations

Industry professionals share four tips for making the case to IT for software system integrations, plus getting the most out of existing software

Whether you’re looking to implement your first software integration or want advice on managing existing ones, learning from industry professionals can help. So, what advice do property tax professionals have for others when it comes to integrated real estate software solutions?

In this post, we’ve summarized key insights and advice to help you prioritize, implement, and manage your real estate software solution integrations.  

1. Be clear on what you want to achieve with software system integrations before approaching IT.

We think a property tax manager at a major REIT summed it up best when he said, “measure twice, cut once.”  

If you haven’t implemented any integrations before, or are considering adding another to your software stack, start by clarifying your objectives. Because IT resources are often limited, taking the time to think through what you want to do first is key.  

Initiatives involving data sharing and connected systems will end up involving multiple teams and departments. From setting clear and realistic implementation timelines to selecting a vendor and auditing their security practices, having a clear plan and objectives will help move your integration projects along.  

We think a property tax manager at a major REIT summed it up best when he said, “measure twice, cut once.”  

2. Build a “coalition of arguments” based on the goals of multiple teams and departments.

As we mentioned, IT can be a limiting resource for property tax data-sharing initiatives. As such, property tax managers recommended building a “coalition of arguments” before approaching IT.  

To do this, talk to other members from your department and across the organization. You’ll want to collect key information, including:

  • Who stands to benefit from an integrated software solution?  
  • What are the key features and requirements of each team and team member?  
  • What is your timeline for implementing an integrated solution?

If you’re having trouble getting buy-in from IT for your software system integration, focus on getting the fundamentals in place first. For example, is your data centralized? If not, that’s a great place to start before layering on integrations. If your data is centralized, is it accurate and normalized? If not, you’ll want to spend some time on structuring your data so that it can be analyzed and used reliably for tasks like forecasting and budgeting.  

3. Break integration projects into phases.

If you’re planning to implement multiple new software solution integrations, it can help to break things into phases. For a single integration, your IT team may have specific concerns around testing, security, and implementation, which will need to happen in a phased approach. What’s more, you may also need to address certain deficiencies in your existing systems and processes before it makes sense to add new functionality and/or tools.  

For a single integration, examples of phases in your software system integration project could include:

  • Inputting and aggregating data into a single system
  • Reviewing and cleaning data as required
  • Auditing the security practices and safeguards of software vendors

Then, break up individual integrations into steps that make sense, too. One Property Tax Manager we spoke with gave tax payment integrations as an example:  

  1. Start by getting payment information aggregated and normalized in a single, central repository.
  1. Then, set up your integrations to receive payment receipt information into the central repository.  
  1. Finally, work on sending payment information to the general ledger.  

4. Regularly review your systems and software integrations for improvements

A Property Tax Manager from a prominent oil and gas company says that one of the biggest lessons they’ve learned is to turn a critical eye to internal processes.

For years, their team had been doing things the same way. But technology is always changing. So, when the company started looking at different software systems and processes for day-to-day activities, they found there were often better, faster options.  

To stay competitive, they advised other property tax teams to ask themselves two key questions:  

  1. Is this the best way to do things?  
  1. Is this system/process as efficient as it could be?

By keeping an open mind and reviewing existing software system integrations, they were able to make ongoing, continuous improvements and stay competitive.  

Building on the knowledge of property tax peers

Of course, these are just a few of the key tips shared by property tax management teams when it comes to software system integrations. Keep an eye on our blog for more articles like this one sharing the experiences of fellow industry colleagues.  

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© 2023 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved
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© 2023 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved