Do you remember where you were at 3:50am on Wednesday, September 27, 2000? Like me, you were probably in bed fast asleep. Yet at that exact moment, history was being made on the other side of the world in the Sydney Summer Olympics. Rulon Gardner had just defeated the invincible Alexander Karelin of Russia to take home gold in the Greco-Roman super heavyweight division. Prior to that match, Karelin had never lost in his 15 years of international competition. He had won three consecutive Olympic gold medals and seven consecutive world titles. By all accounts, this giant of a man was the crème de la crème in the sport of wrestling.
So how did Gardner, a farm boy from Afton, Wyoming who never even captured a NCAA title, who had sustained a broken neck from the same foe in a contest years before, pull off the impossible that September day? When asked that same question, Gardner said, “ I knew I was strong enough and quick enough to stop his lift…when you work the farm, you never stop to take a break.” So in a nutshell, there’s the secret sauce to his success: strength, speed, and stamina.
Now let’s flash forward to the year 2012. I had just started my first job out of college, working for the leading partner of a prolific ERP software company. On the daily, I had the opportunity to work closely with this figurative giant, witnessing as it regularly trounced its smaller opponents in the sales arena. In terms of history and size, it was the Karelin of its industry. However, every so often the “other” software would win the prospect’s business. When we would inquired as to the decision, we were often given a range of responses consisting of some aspect of the strength, speed, and stamina of the other software.
So, now let’s bring our focus to the Property Management Software industry. Already a few giants have emerged who’ve made a strong name and case for themselves. But in order to constantly grow and maintain a competitive edge, you need to find the software that best fits your company’s needs. I recommend using the following factors as a measuring stick in your evaluation:
- Strength – Find a solution that specializes in your business. While working with that previous ERP software, all too often we would get the feedback: “Jack of all trades and master of none.” While the system was highly effective in linking together multiple areas of a company, its shortcomings became quickly evident when a client with detailed manufacturing or distribution requirements, for example, would try to bend the software to fit its processes. The same goes for most PM and Real Estate softwares. While one system may have a smooth, streamlined resident management portion, it may not offer the right options for integrated accounting, automated online payments, or maintenance response. Likewise, a conventional-based PM software usually won’t be a good fit for a property built for student living.
- Speed – Find a solution that not only adapts to what’s trending, but is at the helm leading the way. The one overarching constant in the software industry is change. We see that everywhere from the iPhone to the Xbox, and PM Software is no different. As soon as online lease generation became a thing, property staff were entreating a more office-friendly solution. As soon as automated online payments were made possible, residents were looking for a mobile app. It’s important to select a system and company that can quickly respond to market trends, and to the needs of your properties and residents. You don’t have to settle for the glacial speed that has become standard among many partners.
- Stamina – Find a solution that will grow along with your business. It is critical to have a system that is easy to upgrade and adapt to the business’ ever-changing needs. Be sure to check if various permissions and aspects of the system can be activated/deactivated as your personnel and needs change. Find a provider who is constantly working to enhance the system capabilities and improve the overall user experience. Find the hammer that not only fits the current nail, but also the nail you envision reaching in the future.
Got any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear them.