NMHC OpTech Conference: Top Tweets and Insights

OpTech12web

NMHC OpTech 2012 may be over, but the insights gained will undoubtedly have lasting effects on the adoption and implementation of technology within the apartment industry. As a company focused on building solutions that meet the real world needs of leasing professionals and their renters, we at On-Site thought it was incredibly important to listen to what people were saying at the event. At a conference focused on technology, what better way to take the pulse of the industry then by reflecting on your tweets. We rounded up five intriguing tweets tweeted at this year’s conference and compiled them into this tidy list for your reading enjoyment.

Apartment firms frustrated by the need to still do one-off customization of off-the-shelf technology products to meet biz needs – @ApartmentWire

An important question indeed, but there’s no question as to why this is one of our top tweets. There’s a clear rush to adopt the latest and greatest technology and vendors are struggling to keep up with demand. As a result there’s a lot of vendor consolidation. As major players acquire smaller companies to expand their offerings, property managers do not always come out on top. They are often held hostage to a limited set of solutions and forced to consolidate under their product suite. Even worse, new products they sign up for don’t work well together because they’re cobbled together from third party acquisitions. This is especially painful for large fee management companies who have diverse needs across their portfolio. When integrations are attempted, they often take too long to implement or fail altogether. Furthermore, property managers continue to be frustrated by the need for one-off customization of off-the-shelf technology products to meet their unique business needs.

Fortunately, this discussion left us feeling pretty good about how we’ve operated our business.  On-Site has made it a priority to grow organically and work in the best interest of our clients and their preferred vendors. Our Silicon Valley engineering team develops its industry-leading products using a flexible, open architecture so that it’s easy to plug in tightly integrated solutions based on each client’s unique needs.

Do rich tools storing biz information like “Cloud” & “Dropbox” keep your IT Director awake at night? – @TamelaCoval

While we’re not exactly sure what a “rich tool” is, we are sure that cloud storage can be the bane of an IT director’s existence. The problem with cloud storage stems from the dearth of options available to property management companies. Consequently, IT directors are forced to buy into enterprise solutions or generic commercial solutions like Dropbox, neither of which fits the bill when it comes to the unique operational needs of the multifamily industry. Property management companies are already living in an online leasing world (or attempting to move towards one), but they are surrounded by offline paperwork and processes. A proper cloud storage solution for multifamily must bring those two worlds together by giving companies a way to integrate pre-Internet legacy operations into the online leasing workflow. With enterprise and commercial solutions there’s no way to do this.

Coincidentally, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to unveil CloudFile, our new industry-specific online file management solution. CloudFile brings the offline and online leasing worlds together by allowing users to upload lease related files to the cloud and have these files tie in to the appropriate leases. A renter’s complete leasing history—guest card, online application, rental report, lease documents, etc.—can all be archived in one central, online location. See what the buzz is about by watching the CloudFile video here.

Online payments growing 5% month, mobile 10% … Mobile is here to stay. – @kdutyNMHC

We couldn’t agree more, mobile is definitely here to stay. So what can property management companies do to capitalize on the growth and adoption of mobile technology?  Allowing renters to pay their rent online is a great amenity, among many other important ways of leveraging mobile technology in your business. Namely, making it easy for prospective renters to do business with you from any location or device.  Case in point: On-Site’s online application uses responsive design to dynamically alter the online application layout to fit the applicant’s device. Whether the applicant uses an iPhone, iPad Mini or full-size iPad to complete the online application, On-Site responsively tailors the experience to fit the screen size of the device, creating the fastest, most efficient online application for that specific applicant.

37% of leads industry-wide are not followed up on. – @brentwilliams2

Not only is this one of the most intriguing tweets of the conference, it’s also one of the most terrifying. Imagine that 37% percent of your entire pool of prospective renters are giving up and going elsewhere, because your community failed to follow-up with them. The failure to follow-up on a lead could be because a pen and paper guest card was lost or perhaps a less than honest leasing agent violated Fair Housing laws and purposefully chose not to follow up with a renter for any number of discriminatory reasons. In either case, the answer to this problem is simple: adopt an online lead tracking and management solution. On-Site offers lead tracking tools that allow guest cards to be completed online and then, to ensure follow-up, assigned to specific leasing agents.

Read more about the NMHC OpTech 2012 conference in this Special Report from Multi-Housing News.