By Ian Andrews
The apartment industry has long had a reputation for being slow to embrace emerging technologies.
In recent years, however, owners and managers have made impressive strides in using new solutions to improve their operations and create better experiences for prospects and residents.
They’ve implemented revenue-management software and turned to lead-management systems to improve prospect outreach. Communities now have mobile apps that allow residents to easily perform any number of tasks, such as paying their rent or filing a service request. And mobile leasing solutions are empowering associates to lead top-notch tours, while self-guided-tour technology is gaining traction as a way for prospects to learn about a community without a leasing associate in tow.
For the multifamily industry’s evolution to continue, however, one thing needs to change.
It has to be easier to integrate individual technologies. When owners and operators can’t easily assemble a group of solutions that are able to seamlessly communicate with each other, it stunts the growth of our industry.
These integration challenges can have a seriously negative impact on operators.
To cite just one example, when a community’s CRM and property-management system don’t communicate well, the end result can be that both leasing associates and prospects have to enter in the same data about the prospect multiple times during the apartment-shopping process. That’s not a good process for anyone.
Integrating different technologies can be a very expensive proposition for supplier partners, and those costs have to eventually be absorbed by operators and their residents.
Looking ahead, supplier partners need to make easier integration a focal point. They should build their solutions with APIs – preferably open APIs – so those technologies can easily communicate with other solutions.
Having open, standardized integrations would significantly reduce the expense of allowing solutions to work together and would create a much more efficient experience for properties as well as their residents and prospects.
Entrepreneurs create multifamily technology companies to make the lives of apartment operators easier and to make them better at achieving their business goals. And supplier partners have developed any number of sophisticated, impressive solutions that do just that.
But supplier partners can’t stop there. If operators experience significant hassles when their various technologies try to work together, then we haven’t done our jobs.
By ensuring our products can play nice with others, we are better serving apartment owners and operators.