Trustee, Townsend Enterprise Park
Townsend Enterprise Park is a charitable organisation on a mission to stimulate social and economic regeneration in an area of Belfast right on the peace line. The commercial site is home to 46 small-to-medium sized businesses, employing over 250 people from across the city and beyond.
The Enterprise Park recently reached 100% occupancy, the first time that’s happened in its nearly 40-year history. The fact that it happened in the midst of COVID-19 was even more of a triumph.
This marks an exciting time for the future of the park for Peter Darragh, a lawyer who is now one of the park’s trustees. Since coming on board, he’s championed a smarter and more efficient way of managing the site and serving its tenants through a shift to digital.
Peter was quick to identify the problems facing the park caused by their outdated server, spreadsheet and paper based system.We had a little cottage industry maintaining our own spreadsheets across four or five different data touch points which ate up a lot of management time that could be focused on service delivery."When a tenant told the maintenance manager about a problem, the Maintenance Manager would write it down on a bit of paper and it would go on the Estates Manager’s file. Someone might then phone reception and ask, ‘Any chance of dealing with that maintenance issue?’ and the response could be: “What maintenance issue?."
Information on paper files and multiple spreadsheets were just the tip of the iceberg though as it was all operating on outdated infrastructure.
We were sitting on Windows 2007 and a Windows server in a server cupboard from the 90’s in our canteen area, which kept on falling over and emails would stop working. It really needed a good overhaul.
The overhaul started when Townsend Enterprise Park brought on Xero as their accounting software last year.
Peter describes their move to a modern, cloud-based accounting software as a wake-up call for how the whole organisation should have been operating. It spurred a search for a property management solution to 'bring us forward 20 years in digital terms.'
Re-Leased’s integration with Xero played a major role in the Park’s decision, but it was also the fact that the platform was designed specifically for the commercial property market and had already gained a strong foothold with other commercial property management companies in the UK.
Accurate reporting was a priority and, by bringing the information about leases and buildings into one place, Peter was confident this would improve efficiency and enable the organisation to deliver improved service to tenants.
The fact that we can warehouse all of that information in a simple, searchable client portfolio, representing a single-point-of-truth, accessible from any device, anywhere, made Re-Leased a very compelling proposition.
On top of that, the reporting and alerting available within Re-Leased is very impressive.
The system is designed to make sure we will never miss an important date for an electrical condition report or a fire safety check or any of the different statutory checks, whether it be maintenance or health and safety.
As Townsend Enterprise Park continues on their journey of digital transformation, their sights are firmly set on introducing more smart processes. Peter wants to keep improving the service they provide to tenants, as well as staying on top of important deadlines.
Further down the line, Peter hopes to get to a point where they are so confident in their property management capabilities that they can start offering those services to help other third-sector organisations who might be struggling.
That's part of the vision that we hadn't previously considered because we didn't have the systems in place to support it efficiently. And if we can help smaller organisations, and those organisations can also provide a benefit to our local community, then that sits really well with our values and charitable objectives.
I think Re-Leased could put us in a uniquely strong position to provide those services.