Property management software might be a lot like that. Without context, we all just keep repeating the same behavior, not really thinking about if makes sense.
So let’s go back to the basics for a minute: Multifamily is a local business.
Every operation brings with it unique characteristics setting the stage for building asset value and profitability. Whether a big community or a handful of units, high-rise or garden, affordable or market, the success of an operation starts at its core with its property management software. Nimble operations are better able to traverse rapidly changing economies, renter profiles and changing rent patterns, and scale their operations quickly. And in today’s environment, true scalability is a necessary part of the software needed to accommodate those cycles that are so intrinsic to multifamily.
But just what does scalability mean, especially in the apartment business? ResMan, a property management software company founded in 2000, was created by property owners and managers in Plano, Texas, to address issues like scalability. This up and comer services 150,000 units throughout Texas and has recently launched an initiative to take the product national. What’s driving the growth? Apartment operators are no longer satisfied with suite solutions that deliver subpar performance or that have failed to keep up with technology.
From the start, ResMan made two simple decisions that now shape every facet of its product dynamic: an open API (application program interface) and cloud-based platform.
Because multifamily operators want to make the best choice for their business rather than have their software provider dictate those decisions, ResMan created the Solution Provider Network which lets users to choose their solution, anywhere in the lifecycle.
With a suite solution, if the vendor falls behind a multifamily operator suffers at their side. With best-of-breed, if a solution falls behind an owner can simple choose to replace it, meaning their asset is always operating at its optimal, and responding to its residents and the market.
ResMan’s cloud services provides an environment that rapidly integrates with other best-of-breed applications, while meeting the needs of a variety of management companies no matter its specific goals or processes.
At present, the company’s Solution Provider Network recognizes over 100 companies with solutions that are tightly integrated with ResMan for optimized workflow at no additional cost to users.
By multifamily, for multifamily
Because ResMan founders bring the hands on experience of property management, they draw from an understanding of how to increase property profitability, decrease expense, and build asset value… while making property life easier.
With an eye on this goal, ResMan is built on the next generation of hardware, operating software, and data centers managed by Microsoft Azure Services. This effectively frees them to focus on the craft of property management tools, while leaving Microsoft Azure Services to manage the background of hardware, operating software and data centers. With over 90,000+ Microsoft subscribers per month, it quickly became clear that anyone still working with managed data centers would eventually become obsolete and unable to keep up with the fast paced technology environment of multifamily.
Moving to the cloud gives ResMan access to enterprise-class technology, but also allows it to act faster than bigger companies, perhaps even disrupting the market while remaining lean and nimble. David now packs a Goliath-sized punch.
So what is cloud computing? The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines it as on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. A cloud service provider can be an internal IT organization that delivers services to businesses (and sometimes consumers in the business ecosystem), a technology vendor that provides services to customers and consumers, or a hybrid of the two.
Cloud computing solutions are typically one of three types:
Software as a service (SaaS): The property uses a web browser to access the application which is running on a cloud infrastructure. (Examples: NetSuite, Salesforce.com, ResMan )
Platform as a service (PaaS): The property deploys applications on a cloud provider’s infrastructure but has no control over the underlying network or servers. (Examples: Google AppEngine, Microsoft Windows Azure, etc). ResMan uses this platform.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): The property provisions computing resources on the provider’s infrastructure and can control operating systems, data storage, and applications—but not the underlying infrastructure. (Example: Amazon EC2, Joyent, Rackspace.)
The cloud makes good technological sense, but it also makes good business sense. Why?
Scalability. The cloud is scalable. Resources and employees can be added or removed to and from the network quickly without a large investment.
Security. Cloud providers compliant with SOC2 and SSAE16 must meet stringent requirements for monitoring and security, assuring enterprise class protection. In-scope services within the Microsoft Cloud meet key international and industry-specific compliance standards. In addition, rigorous third-party audits, such as by the British Standards Institution and Deloitte, validate the adherence of our cloud services to the strict requirements these standards mandate.
Freedom. With a properly hosted corporate cloud vendor, users no longer have to worry about hardware, system security, backup, disaster recovery, operating system upgrades, and more.
Cost. IT capital expenses migrate to operating expenses. Instead of a huge capital expense outpouring every three to five years for hardware upgrades, there’s a much smaller monthly fee for a higher quality service. This means a more predictable budget and cash flow. For ResMan this means a monthly pricing versus upfront payment.
Business continuity. The cloud, if done right, offers complete redundancy. It takes care of backups and disaster recovery in one solution.
Mobility. A mobile world means we expect to be productive even away from the office. With a cloud solution, ResMan can be delivered (apps, files, everything) through the cloud to any device.
The cloud makes for great business, but also eases the wear on IT. Here’s why:
Flexibility. Cloud-based services mean ResMan operates well even with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demand. If a company’s needs increase, it simply scales up our cloud capacity, drawing on the service’s remote servers. Likewise, if it needs to scale down, the flexibility is baked into the service. This level of agility gives its products field advantage; it’s not surprising that CEOs rank operational agility as a top reason for cloud adoption.
Disaster recovery. Businesses of all sizes should be investing in robust disaster recovery, but for smaller businesses that lack the required cash and expertise, this is often more an ideal than the reality. The cloud helps ResMan buck that trend. Small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions that save time, avoid large up-front investment and roll up third-party expertise as part of the deal.
Automatic software updates. The beauty of cloud computing is that the servers are off-premise, and out of sight. Microsoft manages the servers and rolls out regular software updates—including security updates—so ResMan doesn’t waste time maintaining the system in-house. This leaves them free to focus on the things that matter, like growing multifamily businesses.
Capital-expenditure. Cloud computing cuts out the high cost of hardware. ResMan pays as they go on a subscription-based model that’s kind to cash flow. Add to that the ease of setup and management and suddenly that scary IT project looks at lot friendlier.
Work from anywhere. With cloud computing, if there’s Internet, work is possible. And with most serious cloud services offering mobile apps, there’s no device limitation. The result? ResMan can offer more flexible working perks to employees so they can enjoy the work-life balance that suits them—without productivity taking a hit.
Document control. When ResMan moved to cloud computing, files were stored centrally so everyone sees one version of the truth. Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately means better work and a healthier bottom line.
Security. Lost laptops are a billion dollar problem. And even greater is the loss of sensitive data. Cloud computing gives ResMan greater security. Data stored in the cloud can be accessed no matter what happens to the laptop. And laptops can be remotely wiped of data so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
Environmentally friendly. Moving to the cloud isn’t entirely selfish. The environment gets a little love, too. When cloud needs fluctuate, server capacity scales up and down to fit. So ResMan and its users only use the energy needed and don’t leave oversized carbon footprint. This is something close to our hearts at ResMan, where we try our best to create sustainable solutions with minimal environmental impact.
Author: Elizabeth Francisco is SVP of ResMan Cloud based in Plano, Texas.