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The CRE Guide to Building Management Software
The modern commercial real estate (CRE) market has gone through unprecedented technological change. With the value equation shifting from buildings themselves to the people who occupy them, a new kind of building management software is necessary in adopting a more consumer-first model for the workplace, as well as in embracing the industry’s recent digital advances.
With these technologies — which range from one-off building maintenance software apps to more holistic solutions such as HqO’s end-to-end operating system — property teams can blend the physical and digital workplaces to ensure innovative, engaging, and memorable experiences that streamline even the most challenging interactions. Thus, tackling the obstacles of attraction, fragmentation, and differentiation for any portfolio has never been easier; by giving CRE teams a custom toolkit for their portfolio to execute strategies, streamline processes, increase communication, and collect meaningful data, they can enhance their building maintenance program while also being brought closer than ever before to the employees who work in their buildings.
What is Building Maintenance Management?
To upkeep facility management, there is no better-suited professional than a property manager. A property manager is defined as an individual or company that is hired to oversee the day-to-day operations of a unit of real estate. Property management services might include being in charge of supervising and coordinating building maintenance management and work orders, resolving tenant concerns, and more.
The types of property maintenance functionalities may range from marketing for one’s portfolio, to lease management, to measuring and maintaining portfolio performance, and to tenant retention and customer satisfaction. In today’s world, property management companies need to automate these processes to keep up with rapid changes to the commercial real estate industry.
Fortunately, property management software, or software that helps streamline and automate the day-to-day responsibilities for property maintenance teams, has been around for the past several years. Property management software ensures that owners, managers, and operators can succeed in the evolving markets, by helping them gather meaningful data about their buildings and end-users to strengthen their connections with tenants, refine their asset strategies, and automate building processes to help create modern, frictionless workplace experiences.
In the next section, we’ll dive more into this concept.
Enhancing Building Strategies Through Property Management Software
When it comes to figuring out modern needs for commercial property management software, one first must truly understand the traditional property management model. The role of a property manager used to be focused on solely building management (security/safety, utilities/energy, reception, and building certifications) and property-level administration (rent collection, ensuring compliance with lease terms, and CapEx administration).
Now, property management teams are being asked to play a significant role in tenant retention. Essentially, in order to generate value for building tenants and investors, they need to improve the tenant experience. Such responsibilities include all the aspects of a traditional property management model, as well as communication (with vendors, maintenance staff, and tenants), amenity management (parking, catering, food/beverage, transportation), services management (concierge, networking, programming, health and fitness), and technology services (apps, internet connection, data collection, content generation).
These combined efforts have a huge impact on the performance of an asset. For example, according to CBRE data, 88% of tenants say that the quality of property management has a strong to very strong impact on their decision to renew a lease. Additionally, 87% of tenants say that good building management plays an important or very important role in employee retention. Increasing this customer retention by just 5% alone can increase overall profits by 25 to 95%.
In today’s world, when it comes to what to look for in a property management company, tenants will want to work with someone who can combine the more traditional property management duties and responsibilities with those that are customer-centric and tech-enabled. This includes everything from desktop property management software to mobile, cloud-based property management software. Though the modern role of a property manager is certainly challenging, it can produce great value and ensure the success of modern commercial real estate portfolios.
Determining the Best Property Solutions
Now that we know the state of the industry, and what is required to get started in building management for landlords, we now need to consider: What is the best commercial property management software out there? According to updated lists, there are several property management software companies to look out for. Many can even be found in our growing ecosystem of technology partners in HqOS™. In no particular order, here are a few of the top contenders:
- Building Engines: Building Engines’ product offers Prism, one of the most innovative building operations platforms for commercial real estate. Their property management software for landlords, tenants, engineers, and CRE executives offers several core capabilities that make operating a building an easier experience for all. Through their online property management software, clients can file work orders, optimize building communications, carry out inspections, as well as address insurance, space management, and visitor access needs. (Building Engines is a trusted HqOS Marketplace Partner)
- Angus Systems: Angus System’s product offers mobile and cloud-based work order and operations management solutions for commercial real estate teams. Their core capabilities involve maintenance management and service management software, which include detailed and optimized work order lifecycle tracking. (Angus Systems is a trusted HqOS Marketplace Partner)
- Jones: Jones’ product provides property owners with complete visibility into the state of compliance of each party operating on their property — from collecting and auditing insurance certificates to providing tenants with pre-compliant vendors for their service needs — Jones offers the insurance tracking system needed to simplify compliance for every use case. (Jones is a trusted HqOS Marketplace Partner)
- AppFolio: AppFolio’s product is cloud-based software, complemented by an app, that allows all of its features to be used on mobile devices. Its specialities include: commercial properties, multifamily properties, single family properties, student housing, condominiums, and homeowner associations. Their features cover rent collection, accounting software, maintenance requests, marketing tools, tenant screening services, utility billing, customizable online leases, and more.
- Buildium: Buildium’s product is a cloud-based software and app, and specializes in landlords or property managers with 50 or more units, residential properties, student housing, and affordable housing communities. They can provide solutions for rent collection, accounting software, property inspection tools, marketing tools, renters insurance, leasing tools, and tenant screening services.
- MRI Software: MRI Software’s product is geared towards commercial landlords and property managers, but also services residential properties, facilities management, public and affordable housing, and more. Their features include online rent collection, maintenance requests, lease templates, tenant screening insurances, integrated accounting, multifamily insurance, resident communication, manager compliance, investor relations, and more.
- Yardi: Yardi’s product is a cloud-based platform that allows certain mobile capabilities through their online portal. They special in small-to-medium-sized portfolios, commercial units, residential units, and mixed-use buildings. Additionally, their offerings include online rent collection, accounting, rental applications, state-based lease templates and addendums, task and activity calendars, tenant communication options, and more.
The Role of CMMS Software in CRE
A specific type of building management software that property maintenance professionals may leverage is called a computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS software. The CMMS definition explains that CMMS software can automate tasks such as calendar and meter-based preventive maintenance scheduling, optimize complex workflows, and streamline certain processes and procedures. Emaint.com explains it in-depth with the following:
“Maintenance professionals use CMMS software to plan, manage, and improve plant and facility maintenance, and to standardize operations. When used maximally, it extends equipment life, reduces overall costs, and increases asset reliability and productivity. There are countless benefits to using CMMS software. Here are just a few:
- Automate recurring preventive maintenance tasks, saving time
- Easily document and assure regulatory compliance
- Digitize forms and other documents while eliminating paper
- Organize inventory and optimize spare parts availability
- Gain a comprehensive view of asset health and identify issues early
A CMMS stores asset data and associated maintenance-related activities and documents in one central location. With web-based maintenance software, teams can access and view asset repair histories and send and receive work requests and work orders from almost anywhere—via mobile phones, PCs, laptops, or other smart devices.”
Additionally, it’s noteworthy that the best CMMS software is easy to learn and understand, inherently flexible, and enables organizations to customize and configure the system to fit their individual needs. For example: “Administrators can create mandatory fields that require a technician to record data before they can close a work order. This ensures complete and consistent entries and usable data for creating accurate reports for analyzing continuous improvement metrics, declining asset performance, and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).”
Where to Test-Drive Building Management Software Free
It’s uncommon to find free commercial property management software for landlords that meets the needs of modern building management. Therefore, you can sign up for a free demo of the HqOS operating system today to see what we offer for all your office needs and to help you make the right decision. You can also check out our Marketplace of technology partners for specific maintenance management software that can be integrated into your portfolio.
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