Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Morgan Beard
Life Before Occupier:
- Manual lease administration processes.
- Contracts had expired without notice.
- Held a massive lease liability risk.
Life After Occupier:
- Leases are now proactively managed.
- Critical notices are now automated.
- Executives can easily report metrics.
- Watch Communications gains complete lease transparency.
- Manual lease administration work reduced by 10 hours per week.
- The team can be proactive vs. reactive.
INDUSTRY: Communications | LEASES: 2,000 + | OCCUPIER USERS: 5+
Watch Communications is leading the way in providing high-speed internet access across rural America. Since their founding in 2001, Watch Comms has rapidly grown by connecting underserved communities through innovative broadband infrastructure and services. Today, Watch Communications utilizes a network of over 2,000 tower locations to deliver reliable internet access to over 20,000 residential and business customers across 16 states. With expertise in both wireless internet service delivery and infrastructure development, Watch Comms is uniquely positioned to expand broadband access to bridge the digital divide.
As both an internet service provider and real estate power player managing tower assets, Watch Comms has a diversified business model focused on sustainable long-term growth. As Watch Comms scales its network footprint, the company realizes the need to implement a lease management system that can enhance real estate operations and unlock portfolio transparency.
The Lease Management Challenge
Watch Communications is a growing internet service provider managing over 2,000 contracts across the country. However, tracking this lease complex portfolio was an ongoing challenge. “We did not have a lease administration software,” explains Bobby Sample, Site Acquisition Manager. Instead, Watch Comms relied on spreadsheets and shared drives. With no centralized system, critical information lived in scattered emails and in miscellaneous techstacks.
It was nearly impossible to accurately report on the portfolio or proactively manage renewals. “A lot of times I would go in to look at renewals and they had been expired for 365 days,” Bobby admits. Without notifications, contracts would unintentionally lapse, risking revenue and reputation. “That’s what prompted me to go to our CFO and say ‘Hey, we have to do something because this is not working.’” Watch Comms needed a new process for lease management.
Transitioning to Occupier
After evaluating options, Watch Comms selected Occupier for its flexible platform and smooth implementation process. “When we first met with Occupier, we realized there were going to have to be some customizations,” Bobby says. Unlike other software, Occupier adapted to the complex needs of Watch Comms’ portfolio. The Occupier team created customized lease types and tags to represent the nuances.
Despite varied backgrounds, Occupier’s intuitive interface works for all users and lease management use cases. “Our entire accounting team uses it for lease accounting” Bobby explains, while executives easily pull high-level portfolio metrics and reports. Bobby leverages Occupier daily to manage real estate operations. The software centralizes everything he needs to keep thousands of leases compliant.
Centralized Lease Management System
Now the entire Watch Comms portfolio lives in Occupier. With all information finally connected, Bobby gains control. “I can literally function on 90% of my job just on the data that we’ve added into Occupier,” he says. Critical dates like renewals are automated, removing liability risks. Accounting leverages built-in rent schedules to simplify payments. And with a few clicks executives can report on portfolio health.
“It’s honestly a night and day difference. Occupier is the most user friendly leasing application out there today,” Bobby says. He estimates saving 10 hours per week that he previously spent piecing together records. Instead of chasing down expired contracts, Bobby now proactively manages the pipeline. “When I started as the Site Acquisition Manager, there were days I finally thought I had everything organized and manageable, I quickly realized I was still falling behind,” he admits. Occupier’s centralized system keeps him on track. “Adopting Occupier was a game changer,” states Sample.
The Occupier Difference
- Centralized lease data – By centralizing lease data that was previously scattered across systems, Occupier provides a “single source of truth” to give users a complete picture of the portfolio.
- Customization to handle complex needs – Occupier provides nimble software customizations to match Watch Communications’ unique lease types and data needs, something crucial for handling their complex portfolio.
- Proactive support and quick turnaround – The Occupier team provides quick and proactive responses to questions and requests, turning around new lease uploads or adjustments in 48 hours.
- User-friendly, visually appealing interface – With intuitive navigation and visual appeal, Occupier offers a modern user experience that is easy and enjoyable to work with.
How Occupier Goes Beyond Other Platforms
So what exactly makes Occupier stand out from other lease management software? For Bobby Sample, Occupier’s flexible customization was key. “We have a range of lease types in our portfolio — from net leases to niche trade agreements where instead of paying monetary base rent, we offer free interest services or negotiate a combo of base rent and free services. Apart from that, we also have agreements with advertising trades or fair participation in which we provide wifi access to a sports team or at a county fair when they display our Watch Comms advertising banner, says Sample. Occupier is flexible and customizable to adapt to Watch Comms’ specialized lease needs.
Sample also appreciates the proactive support and quick turnaround from Occupier’s team. “I’ve never waited longer than 48 hours for a lease to get put into Occupier,” Bobby remarks. With round-the-clock access on desktop or mobile, Bobby calls Occupier “the most user-friendly system I’ve seen in a long time.”
With Occupier, Watch Communications now has full transparency into its complex portfolio. Centralized information, proactive notifications, understandable analysis – Occupier lifts the lease management burden. “It’s inspiring to see that progress,” Bobby says, “ we’re working in the right direction.”
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