by Lucas Haldeman
Multifamily software developers have historically taken one of two approaches to product development.
- Develop original software that delivers enough intrinsic value, efficiency or cost savings to generate demand for the product.
- Design software that specifically supports or manages only mainstream hardware products deployed throughout the multifamily industry.
While both strategies have proven prosperous in the past, industry preferences have evolved to emphasize software compatibility and adaptability. Operators are now seeking solutions that create convenience, reduce redundancies and establish single-source hubs to streamline operations. Multiple system logins have proven inefficient and sometimes problematic, turning property managers toward software capable of pairing with multiple hardware lines.
The value of dynamic software has never been greater for operators and software developers. Here are just a few of the primary benefits to agnostic software solutions.
While aligning software development with a specific hardware product may get more implementations for that hardware line, it severely limits industry reach and adaptability. Few hardware products boast a market share great enough to make proprietary software development strategically viable. Such practices critically limit partnership opportunities.
Conversely, with agnostic hardware integration capabilities, every operator in multifamily becomes a potential partner. Instead of only targeting users of specific hardware, software developers can market to virtually all hardware users.
Also, when a property is acquired or a new management company takes over, agnostic software can be applied to the existing hardware, saving the parts and labor costs required to install a proprietarily compatible system. New owners or operators can simply bring their agnostic software with them as their portfolio grows.
Designing software for singular hardware may work for new construction implementations, but what happens when that same property decides to update or upgrade a few years down the road? Software dedicated to specific hardware becomes obsolete when that hardware is replaced. Likewise, existing properties with a variety of hardware in use can’t be supported by one-trick-pony software solutions.
While the smart hardware itself may last for decades, the smartphones, tablets and other devices that control them go through continuous updates, and newer operating systems frequently drop support for older hardware. Inflexible software designed for a single purpose often fails to adapt and account for such changes, leaving communities with non-functioning systems.
However, software providers who demonstrate the agility to connect to various hardware products, and evolve alongside smart device technology, serve as one-stop MacGyver-like partners with a solution for every situation and hardware setup. The ability to adapt and accommodate hardware updates is invaluable to operators. When communities can replace hardware without retraining their entire teams on new software, they save time and expense, and maintain property performance.
One size doesn’t always fit all within an individual community when it comes to hardware, but one hardware solution almost never fits across an entire portfolio. Through acquisitions, value-add programs and a variety of individual property needs, most operators have portfolios that drastically differ from one property to the next in terms of hardware deployments.
While many operators currently endure multiple software systems to manage the various hardware in place, multifamily companies are seeking out singular software solutions capable of catering to entire portfolios and a myriad of hardware. Dynamic integrations make that possible and enable operators to oversee and manage all their properties through a solitary platform.
The ability to consolidate and streamline operations through hardware-agnostic software simplifies operations, optimizes property and portfolio performance and makes hardware decisions easier.