Recently we sat down with Jeremy Pfeifer, Vice President/Controller of Valet Living, a multi-family amenity and concierge service provider. Among other home-related services (such as home cleaning and pet walking), they pick up residents' trash five nights a week at each resident’s door and transport it to the on-site compactor. This innovative, fast-growing company also offers Valet Living Home, an app that allows residents to schedule services, and Valet Living Turns, which manages the entire turnover process to help reduce vacancy rates.
Valet Living needed standardized practices across the organization. We are a 20-year-old entrepreneurial company that continues to grow at a rate organically of 20 percent per year as well as through strategic acquisitions. Valet Living currently serves over 4,500 apartment communities or 1.3 million apartment homes a night. We do that five nights a week, so we are touching a resident or seeing a resident and interacting with our clients over 6 million times a week. With 52 weeks a year, that makes 300 million times.
Because we have grown very aggressively through sales and operations, we found that our back-office infrastructure could not support where the front office had taken us. It could not support our growth. There was a significant lack of controls and processes and procedures that weren't in place to support the way we did business—consistently across the country.
We were looking for a solution to meet those needs.
Oracle’s solution that addressed exactly what we needed, those processes, those controls. And it was largely a solution that was out of the box. We didn't want to go in and customize things.
Oracle has given us the tools to manage the business in a completely different way. For example, our managers historically did not have visibility into their budgets or into the results. Now they do, and we are not only able to hold them accountable for their results, but they are also creating the budget that we are holding them accountable to.
Cloud was important to Valet Living because we have limited IT resources, and we wanted a solution that we would not have to manage day to day.
Oracle ERP Cloud and EPM Cloud provided the means for managers to see results, as well as model future budgeting expectations and understand how different scenarios would impact their departments.
Our employees have been able to successfully transition from a transactional mindset to a strategic mindset. From a visibility perspective, the finance organization can now fully understand what is going in the field and how that will impact results.
Given our choice to use Oracle ERP Cloud and knowing the hierarchies in the departments that we would be able to build out and create using that solution, it naturally made sense to go with the planning and budgeting solution that Oracle EPM Cloud provided, especially after seeing the demonstration and knowing that it's a world-class product.
The benefits we've seen thus far in implementing Oracle ERP Cloud and Planning and Budgeting Cloud is the full automation of our revenue management cycle. I have been able to take the equivalent of a full-time resource and automate that process. Additionally, we have insight into departmental reporting as well as segment reporting. We have never had that before. We also have standardized processes and procedures—based on best practices—across the accounting and finance organization.
Our budget process has evolved from a spreadsheet, task-based process (that was largely done by a couple of FP&A individuals) into a truly collaborative process where each department manager oversees and owns the inputs to the budget.
The ability of the department managers and leaders to have that ownership over their budget really helps them understand what goes on in the business and what drives the results on a day-to-day basis. They can take action and make necessary changes before the month and/or quarter end to make a direct, positive impact on the business.
From a security perspective, Oracle handles everything in the cloud, so we trust them that they and the resources that Oracle has is able to better protect our information than we would ever be able to do on-premises.
One of the greatest surprises that we had when we went live on Oracle is the speed to which the team has been able to understand the system. The intuitiveness of the system has directly driven that.
Like I said earlier, Oracle has given us the ability to scale our business. We will be able to continue to grow, continue to do acquisitions, and expand into even more new service lines. We have a back-office solution in place that can support us to do that.