Crittenden Conference

By on Apr 9, 2014 in News

Achieving renter happiness might be tied to the same desires that haCrittendenve made fast food and Amazon Prime among the most popular innovations of our time. Are you offering your residents instant gratification?

That was one of the technology trends discussed on a panel at the recent Crittenden Multifamily Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Industry experts John Pendergast, senior vice president of client services at Yardi; Ray Thornton, senior vice president of information technology at MAA; and Tom Bumpass, managing director and chief information officer for Greystar Realty Partners, participated in the panel that focused on the past, present and future of multifamily technology.

With advancements in the areas of cloud services, business intelligence, single stack solutions and mobility, there’s enhanced opportunity not only to improve resident’s experiences, but to foster a more collaborative working environment at the home office.

With the move of most management platforms to a cloud-based environment, creating a true partnership between the IT department and the business and marketing specialists pendergast_015_VISAwithin your firm is an enhanced focus that can produce enhanced efficiency, processes and results.

“It’s not enough for the IT group to be a support for the operations and marketing teams. In order for businesses to be successful today, there has to be a partnership between the technology group, business/operations group, and marketing group. That means all the groups are working together throughout the process of meeting your business needs. They’re a collective team,” said Pendergast (pictured, left).

Delivering a successful business intelligence solution is one area in which such collaboration is especially important. When Greystar Realty Partners developed their internal BI solution, the business and IT sides of the firm worked hand-in-hand. Now, adding additional data points into the system is a much faster, less complicated process.

“They’re closer to being able to deliver the solution today because they worked together all along,” Pendergast said.

The development of cloud-based single stack solutions is another game-changer for the multifamily industry, providing a long list of benefits. Tom Bumpass, Chief Information Officer for Greystar, expects companies to focus their technology needs around the offerings of one strong vendor going forward.

“This is due to consolidation in the industry of many of the point solutions; better economics when products are bought under a common brand; better workflow and integration across the resident lifecycle process especially for online self-service functions; and better access to information for analysis when the data is housed with a single vendor,” Bumpass said.

Thornton concurred that most major industry property technology vendors are now presenting product offerings as a single stack model, and it may reduce choice for some companies who were used to the “best of breed” approach. However, there are also many positives to be gleaned from choosing one provider.

Pendergast emphasized that a single stack offering can create ease-of-use advantages for the end user.

“The workflow for the user is much more seamless. Everything is built together. Instead of going to three different programs for three different things, clients go to one program and get the benefit of all three,” Pendergast said. “For BI, the point solutions create a data aggregation problem. With a single stack solution, data aggregation is much easier.”

The single stack solution not only creates easier workflows and better business intelligence, but enhanced services for residents.

The days of going to drop off your rent check at the leasing office are essentially over, the panelists concluded. Meeting consumer demands for instant gratification means offering the technology to pay rent online, schedule recurring rent payments, even renew a lease – all from the privacy and comfort of your own apartment.

“What consumers want is self-service. They want to log-in online and pay their rent, they don’t want to call anybody, or write a check. And when they want to pay their rent, they want to pay it now,” Pendergast said.

The panelists and attendees concluded that the wait is over – both for residents who demand enhanced technology and conveniences and multifamily firms who are eager to deliver – and reap the benefits of business intelligence along the way.