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Is New Relocation Technology Friend or Foe?

It seems like new technology is showing up everywhere these days and the relocation industry is no exception.  An increasing number of relocation companies are embracing new technologies as a way to provide more services at a lower cost to clients – and relocation managers should take full advantage of the boom. These systems can free up time formerly spent dealing with tracking data, manual reporting, cost management, expense tracking and so on.

Relocation Technology Helps ProductivityBut, not everyone has been won over yet. One thing I learned in selling relocation technology is that people are, more often than not, resistant to change – and technology is scary.

The most popular questions about new technology that I get asked are:

What will it cost?

Will I have to purchase and maintain additional hardware?

Are security features in place to keep my data safe and secure?

Is there a backup of my data? 

Will I be required to install updates to keep the system up-to-date?

It’s true that the financial outlay for implementing new technology programs can be intimidating and there may be an initial loss of productivity due to a learning curve. But, these issues pale in comparison to the benefits that technology offers, including increased long-term productivity, data accuracy and the ability to expand relocation programs as needs increase. Don’t believe me? A majority of executives at middle-market companies recently credited technology for their boost in productivity.

After having this very conversation with a client recently, I decided to compile the following list of reasons why new technology is so important in today’s relocation environment:

Long-term cost savings will make up for the initial expense. Everyone wants to save money, right? Most technology allows you to accomplish more with less, which is critical in today’s work environment. Many systems can do labor intensive activities such as running reports, tracking expenses and filing receipts. Within seconds, a push of a button will do a job that may have taken HR hours to complete, thus saving time and money. Further, increased accuracy and timely reporting can help relocation managers identify problems more quickly and determine cost efficiencies more easily.

Improved workflow and reminders help keep the trains on the tracks. Many systems today help guide employees from one task to the next, making sure that one task is completed before moving on to the next.  Further, good technology programs will have reminder options in place, so that alerts can be sent for time sensitive tasks. Most relocation managers I know are juggling multiple projects with fewer resources – having a program to keep everything organized critical for making sure everything runs properly and on-time.

Accurate data is awesome. We have all had moments where we spent hours on a report, only to find out later that the numbers were off. Systems today can compile massive amounts of data and most can perform complicated calculations with great accuracy (provided that the data entered was correct). This is a favorite feature for clients that have more rigorous reporting requirements or are not as familiar with accounting.

24/7 real-time accessibility and reporting eases minds. A good relocation system will allow clients, vendors and transferees access to pertinent real-time information from anywhere, at anytime, via the internet.  In addition to accessing data and running reports, the system should also allow relocation managers and transferees to pull important documents and submit expenses. Most technology programs today use secure portals that can be configured to allow access to as much or as little data deemed necessary.

End of year is great time for companies to review processes and technology to determine strengths and weaknesses. I encourage anyone managing a relocation program to take a look at their systems to make sure they are reaping all of the benefits that technology can offer. Great technology is a gateway to increased productivity, data accuracy and cost savings!

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MIKE CANNING
VP, Client Services

RICK CALANNI
VP of Business Development Northeast Region

 

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