Aase Herø has just passed the 100-day mark in the role of Product Manager for PMAx in Advania Norway. Here is what she has to say about making the transition from customer to supplier – and what she thinks will be important when working on Advania’s offer to property managers.
In January, Aase Herø moved over from Stiansen Eiendom, who have been a customer of Advania’s for many years.
“I had been working closely with Advania and PMAx 2012, and part of what I enjoyed was investigating the solution, figuring out how things should have been and finding a way around problems. I saw Advania as a golden opportunity to combine a new job with getting more out of the new PMAx solution.”
How has the transition from customer to supplier been for you?
“Not that different, actually. I think we would benefit from getting rid of the differences in how we think. After all, all our customers run a business – and they have end users that they want to look after." Aase explains that she was familiar with Advania’s investment in Microsoft’s new platform, Dynamics 365. “I never would have chosen to Advania if the company did not invest in 365 and the property management market. What we’re doing is good – we’re creating a real uplift and have a rightful place in the market.”
PMAx’s Product Manager explains that many property customers are interested in sharing with each other, sharing tips and tricks and having the opportunity to keep contact with other like-minded organisations. She therefore wants to revitalise the PMAx Users’ Forum and is inviting customers to a new launch in June.
“The Users’ Forum is the customers’ arena – Advania is just there to facilitate. At the same time, this forum is important for us, as it gives us the chance to receive signals from our customers and to enter into dialogue with them, without necessarily having our sales hat on all the time. It will be important to make ourselves available as experts, as providers of advice. Our customers will talk to each other anyway – I know that from having been in those conversations – by making ourselves available we can strengthen the relationships.”
Where are the problem areas for property managers?
For the controllers, it is about getting an overview that shows one truth – who rents what and for how long. It is also crucial that the VAT is correct and that the system makes it possible to optimise utilisation of the properties, as well as planning going forwards. While the CEOs want to know where the resources are going and what the bottlenecks are, sales staff want easy access to information and smooth interaction between CRM and PMAx. “PMAx 365 shows the full, up-to-date picture,” Aase says.
The goal is the same for Advania as it is for its customers; make the system to improve their day-to-day lives. “Our customers don’t have any unreasonable demands; they just want to get the maximum out of their investment into PMAx.”
According to Aase, PMAx 365 will provide a completely new model where the processes are longer and best practice will be the deciding factor. “We will therefore talk with our customers about how they envision their own business in the coming years and make sure that we satisfy their needs when we design the roadmap and develop the solution.”
PMAx 365 will be offered in the global marketplace. Advania is embracing the combination of a self-developed standard solution with Microsoft's modern platform in aiming to have PMAx certified in Microsoft’s AppSource service.
PMAx 365 demands standard functionality for the property sector. Aase believes that Advania delivers this: “We are good at accounting, good at property administration and management. We do it all. PMAx 365 delivers well on standard. Obviously, we will continuously develop the solution, as you do with cloud-based products.”
Aase does not believe that a global focus will mean that PMAx’s functionality will have to be expanded, as Norwegian property managers are already using a highly developed solution. Clearly, settings for VAT, currency and interest rates will have to be adapted to local conditions, but this is not difficult information to adjust.
Microsoft Dynamics has moved into the cloud and PMAx 365 takes full advantage of Microsoft's smart business solutions. Aase finds that customers do not have concerns about the solution now being cloud-based. “They are not preoccupied with where the servers are placed, but do place value on there not being lots of upgrades,” she says. PMAx 365 is continuously updated.
“PMAx 365 will offer customers the chance to leave behind a whole range of niche solutions and get everything on one platform instead. This is huge development – we are going to the market with added value with this platform. We are giving customers a solution that frees up time to focus on their core business. Instead of admin, they can focus on generating income, reducing vacancy rates in their properties and offering more services in that regard.”
Business Intelligence (BI) is becoming crucial for customers to be able to generate useful, accessible reports. Advania can also help customers to analyse their accounts and see how much is being spent on operations and systems and what they have to gain through change.
“The property management companies have ambitious plans for the future and we look forward to continuing to work with them," Aase concludes.
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