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What is the best lease management software for universities?

By Paul Sharp

Health and safety, data protection, cybersecurity – the world we live in is a minefield of compliance issues, and the education sector is no exception. In fact, this sector is actually under more scrutiny than most, particularly when it comes to the wellbeing of stakeholders. 

Just look at the changing legislation over the last decade alone: 

  • Green policies are tightening regulations around sustainable building as the UK government moves towards Net Zero targets, which could increase development costs. 
  • The General Data Protection Regulation has put extra pressure on facilities managers to store and manage data securely. 
  • Tuition fees have risen for international students as a result of Brexit, which could reduce market demand from overseas. 
  • Students who have entered higher education since September 2012 now have to face mandatory fees of up to three times higher than those enrolling prior to this date. Again, this could affect domestic demand, putting more pressure on facilities managers to find value in the property portfolio they have. 

With all these legislative changes putting fiscal pressure on universities, facilities managers need all the help they can get. Lease management software can help to alleviate some of this by finding better value in existing portfolios, improving customer satisfaction, and helping to consolidate data. 

What you should look for with lease management software 

Ultimately, the lease management software provider you choose is up to you, but AssetWorks specialises in lease management specifically for the education sectors.  

This means we have unrivalled knowledge of educational institutions and the challenges they face, from student funding to managing multiple properties with different purposes. 

Lease management software essentially serves three purposes for universities: 

  1. Balance sheet integrations and cost data can integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning software, helping facilities managers to look at costs in a leasing context. A vast suite of accounting features helps to keep fund transfers, tax filings, income and outgoings all in one accessible place. 
  2. Operational features, which work alongside Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS), allow managers to understand how space is used within educational buildings. 
  3. Management features help to control the admin side of things – so consider tools such as e-signatures and document storage.

So, now we know that we require basic accounting, operational and management features, what should we look for when choosing lease management software? 

How to spot strong account management features for educational institutions  

Trustworthy educational lease management software should offer these as the most rudimentary of features: 

  • Fully managed balance sheets on portfolio costs and operating costs 
  • Simple migration and export options to move your existing data 
  • Compatibility with Enterprise Resource Planning software (ideally your current software but if not, recommendations for a reputable alternative) 
  • Electronic funds transfer, tax filing, bank reconciliation and profit and loss 

What’s really important is context. Strong accounting features help you to break your management costs down into silos, for example, fixed and variable costs, or energy and maintenance. Having this level of clarity allows you to predict trends and make informed decisions for the future.  

Not only can these decisions affect how you plan space, but how you run your facility in general – for example, marketing your property portfolio. 

How to identify strong operations features for managing educational properties 

Operational features are perhaps the most important of all three in your lease management software. This is because they provide you with full visibility over all your properties, giving you the information in silos and context, helping to plan for the future. 

When we think of this in the context of educational buildings, we might look at something like space management. Are we using a classroom or lecture hall to its full capacity, or could we move things around to get more value from the space? 

Good software allows you to upload designs, blueprints and annotations to analyse exactly how a space can be used. Great software gives you the option to integrate this with computer-aided design. That way, facilities managers have the square footage information they need in front of their very eyes. When we think of this from a cost perspective, we can literally account for every square foot used and give it a monetary value. 

Quite simply, strong operational features bring all the necessary information together in one place. By integrating with your IWMS, good lease management software can give facilities managers better control over: 

  • General portfolio management across multiple properties 
  • Asset management (beyond the buildings themselves – valuable contents) 
  • Human resources, making sure you’re getting the best out of staff’s time 
  • Time attendance, helping to improve efficiencies and reduce costs 
  • Content and document management, helping to prevent data los
How to identify strong management and leasing features 

A reliable piece of lease management software is quite technologically advanced. As we discussed above, there are more and more information security threats facing educational facilities managers. That’s why you should choose software with data encryption, such as cloud data storage, for added security. 

Additionally, you should be able to send files over a secure connection. Then there’s the availability of the files themselves. Do not pick software that cannot offer you the following administrative features: 

  • Electronic signatures – reducing the need for unsustainable paper alternatives, as well as the risk of losing physical copies or data landing in the wrong hands. 
  • Rental applications – keeping tenant data safe and encrypted. 
  • Property marketing features – using analytics to keep up to date with changes in market demand and making recommendations for when to start marketing your portfolio. 
Other reasons to choose AssetWorks lease management software 

There are certain features in educational lease management software that cross over all three: accounting, operations, and management. Mainly, these are to allow a constant flow of communication between facilities managers and their tenants.  

Access management for all stakeholders 

Never lose vital contact information again. With a user management feature, you can link all contacts, such as tenants and managers. This also allows you to communicate via notifications, allowing stakeholders to find out in real-time if any changes are taking place, such as testing.  

Owners will have access to their own portal, and with AssetWorks, can allow remote access to an unlimited number of user accounts. This allows for infinite scalability – perfect for growing your property portfolio with ease. 

Real-time analytics data 

As we noted above, the educational sector is always subject to change, be that legislation or socioeconomic factors. Using real-time data in an accessible dashboard, the AssetWorks system helps you to identify trends and forecast for the future. This may give you the confidence to scale up your educational portfolio or focus on getting more value from your existing properties. 

Consolidated list of all properties, buildings and assets 

Educational institutions come with all sorts of different property types, from student accommodation to lecture halls and coffee shops. Our comprehensive lease management system consolidates all this data in one place, helping you to allocate costs accordingly. You can also do this based on square footage, once again, allocating a monetary value to every single space, and forecasting for the future. 

Benefits of choosing a provider with experience in the sector 

Thanks to our unsurpassed expertise in managing educational facilities, we can help you to: 

  • Get a better understanding of the buildings you currently have, identifying any areas where you may be losing money or could generate opportunities to make more. 
  • Demonstrable evidence of the software in action, for example, you can use our return on investment calculator to identify future cost savings or efficiency gains based on square footage. 
  • Make sure you’re using your buildings to full capacity by identifying exactly how each square foot is being used, and using this information to reallocate costs, staff or assets. 
  • Integrate with your Enterprise Resource Planning software, as well as Facilities Self-Service, Enterprise IWMS and Field Service Apps. 
  • Bring all your existing range of facilities management tools into one single, unified software platform – complete with easy integration and training for all staff members

The AssetWorks lease management system comes with full customer support, including a customer resource centre, where you can log in or register to get your questions answered.  

You can request a demo to see how our specialised educational lease management system can help. Navigate the ever-evolving educational sector today and watch your portfolio expand without hassle. Scale up by integrating all your existing data into manageable information silos. Choose a flexible pricing model to suit your needs in both the short and long term. 

Discover the whole portfolio today 

We offer our lease management system for the educational sector alongside many other products, including: 

  • Space management 
  • Operations and maintenance management 
  • Capital planning and project management 
  • Energy management. 

Whether you’re looking to improve your sustainability, save costs, expand your portfolio or look after the wellbeing of your stakeholders (or indeed, a combination of all the above), you cannot go wrong with AssetWorks. For more information, get in touch with our higher education team today to arrange a software demo. 


Tags: best lease management software, lease management software, lease management system, lease management

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