Art McCann is the Chief Information Officer at Highwoods Properties, a fully-integrated REIT specializing in the development, acquisition, leasing and management of quality office space, primarily in BBDs (best business districts) throughout the Southeast.
He was recently featured in this interesting article in Realcomm, showcasing an important point of view from a leading professional in commercial real estate on the topic of digital transformation.
In my opinion, CRE is in the midst of an operations revolution with market forces adding new pressures to building operators and management teams. Helping our clients achieve operational excellence has been the focus of Building Engines, and our recent survey of over 1,000 people in this industry (The State of Commercial Real Estate Operations 2017) found that the vast majority of CRE high performers leverage technology across all operational areas of their business.
Art offers some thought-provoking quotes in the full interview that I wanted to highlight below:
“Real estate can sometimes be a little slow to adopt… software vendors move at 125 miles per hour while real estate companies’ adoption of technology moves at 25 miles per hour.”
I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. Here at Building Engines, we invest heavily in a customer success team that focuses on change management to drive adoption because we have accepted a simple truth – change is scary – that often prevents many teams from evolving to a better way of running their business. I wrote more about this in a recent 2018 outlook.
“There are many solutions available and it takes patience and business savvy to make the right decision and investment.”
Property management software is growing in popularity and importance as Commercial Real Estate owners and property managers seek new ways to better satisfy tenants, drive revenue, and keep operations running more efficiently than paper-based processes.
Making the right decision, as Art describes, takes some thought. After all, this critical system underpins your daily operations.
We recommend looking for 7 key things when choosing a property management software:
1. Real-time access to insights
2. Faster response to tenant requests
3. Fast, and accurate, reporting
4. Management by exception
5. On-time, proactive preventive maintenance
6. Dedicated support, and a partner in growth
7. A clear roadmap of future innovation
In addition, it’s important to seek a commitment to data security and best practices from your software partner through a SOC II audit.
“A good example is the investment we made in our new work order system with Building Engines. We’ve been using the software to track maintenance requests in real-time. A great feature within that program allows our customers to reserve conference rooms online.
We have 30 million square feet with 250 buildings across the company. Given the number of assets, there is a lot of shared conference room space. If one building doesn’t have a conference center, we can make one available at another building. They also have a great visitor management system we have deployed as well as an inspections module.”
We’re proud to be part of Highwoods Properties’ technology set, and we commend them for their ability to use technology, people, processes, and data to provide an exceptional customer experience. Their effort to leverage technology to applied to their customer service effort has resulted in consistent customer satisfaction rating of over 98%.
“How effectively we can help the building process, the property management process, and enhance our customer experience, is what’s going to get management excited about implementing technology.”
Art makes another very important point here that we completely agree with.
Technology is never the solution to a problem on its own. Instead, it is the enabler of better efficiencies and decision-making, in order to help a team tackle business-critical priorities.
CRE Property Management Technology is truly about proving the performance of your property operations. Whether an owner/manager, or third-party manager, you’ve got to prove your customer service to somebody (the tenant, the owner, etc.) Without the right technology to capture your effectiveness at delivering customer service the way you say you’re going to do it, it’s difficult to identify how your performance measures up to your promises (or market standards.)
Technology is not the end of the story, but rather, the beginning.
If this rings true with you, book a meeting with our team. Building Engines has helped many organizations, like Highwoods Properties, ensure an optimal tenant experience and improve asset value.