As a Real Estate company you can choose to differentiate your business in a number of ways. One of which may be the ability to offer your tenants access to a portal which makes their life easier, while streamlining processes within your business. Imagine if your existing corporate website could actually link to a practical, user-friendly interface designed for your tenants’ use. This could give your tenants the ability to perform any number of tasks online like renewing their leases, paying their rent or logging requests, etc. This information could then be actioned, processed or tracked by the relevant departments within your company.
Essentially, this functionality relies entirely on the principals of integration and information sharing. It’s paramount to making the aforementioned Blue Sky picture a reality. This is a trend that is definitely gathering momentum within the Real Estate industry, and across the board. If the correct security is applied, sharing information between systems (even personal information) need not raise any privacy concerns. Rather, it’s about moving away from a silo approach and sharing information that has business relevance, offering the potential to make business processes more efficient and improve customer experiences.
How would you go about adopting this approach in your business? First things first, it’s important to consider the type of system your business has in place. Many companies chose their systems with the 80/20 principle in mind, in the hopes that their software will be able to meet their needs 80% of the time (even if it means tweaking their processes to make this happen). Your company may already have an established ERP in place, but with time it may be becoming increasingly apparent that it is not flexible enough to provide the kind of functionality you’re looking for. This is where ‘best of breed’ systems come into their own. Best of breed systems are designed to fulfil specific functions. You can use a multitude of these systems to meet your business needs, on the periphery of your ERP. But the reality is, generally these systems either need to source information from your ERP or push information back into your ERP to add complete value – if your systems don’t talk to each other, you’ll be back to square one.
MRI has always been known for their focus on customisation. But recently, they’ve taken things to the next level by creating a revolutionary tool, which goes by the name of MIX (MRI Information Exchange). This essentially allows companies to build APIs to share information from MRI to any other system. To illustrate this, let’s look at the previously mentioned Blue Sky picture as an example. Using MIX, you can create a tenant portal that is linked to your corporate public-facing website. This would give you the power to offer your tenants access to a site designed with functionality specifically tailored to meet their needs (sourcing and pushing information to MRI as required). This gives you the advantage of providing tenants with quick and accurate services, while providing your business with improved efficiencies and transparency.
It is my opinion that we need to move away from a silo approach and closed eco-systems towards the open sharing of relevant information. Because the reality is, sometimes information only becomes relevant and meaningful when you connect it. It’s not surprising that in the Business Intelligence space, there is a push towards connecting all sources of information in order to glean valuable insights for business.
Over the years Open Box has helped companies develop a number of solutions that maximise the power of data integration. We would love to discuss the possibilities of unlocking this for your organisation: we’ll be at booth 919 at the Realcomm conference in San Antonio on June 9-10 as well as at the MRI International User Conference in London on June 18. Alternatively if you’re not going to be attending any of these conferences, please schedule some time for us to discuss your requirements.
The technology is here, it’s just waiting for people to embrace the power of data sharing. I believe that we are yet to know and experience the true benefits of information sharing. But what we do know is that it leads to better decisions, better processes and deeper insights… undoubtedly a formidable edge over the competition.