Technological developments worldwide have made a significant impact on all sorts of industries - whether it’s Deliveroo revolutionising takeaway or Uber shaking up the way we use taxis, the effect of digital tech is undeniable. Although it’s taken a while to catch up, we can now say the same of the property industry. However, things still aren’t perfect - in years gone by, only businesses would have been able to access the best technology; now, it’s the consumers who own it. But the pendulum is swinging the other way again.
You may have come across an unfamiliar phrase recently: software stack. Whether you’re looking to expand your business or make it more cost efficient, property management software stacks can help you achieve your aims. It might be a relatively new piece of terminology now, but it could be key to the successful development of your business in the years to come.
What is a property stack?
Fixflo’s Managing Director, Rajeev Nayyar, wrote an interesting blog about property stacks a while ago, but it’s worth distilling it here as well. You’re probably aware of proptech - in fact, you probably use a proptech solution in some capacity, your tenants may beusing specific software to report repairs or you might utilise a property management system to reduce your day-to-day workload.
Things aren’t perfect, though. Despite each proptech solution being extremely good at what it did, it only tended to have one core function. This meant that businesses had to invest in multiple siloed solutions if they wanted to stay ahead of their competitors, which wasn’t efficient or cost-effective.
This is where integrations and the idea of the property stack begin to come in. The idea of a property stack basically relates to the idea of those previously discrete systems being able to integrate and interact seamlessly with each other to provide a tailored solution that meets the needs of each business in accordance with its own digital strategy. Data can flow freely between the systems, ensuring that the user can always access a full picture of their property portfolio and offer their customers a wide range of software options that are intuitive and easy to use.
For instance, Fixflo integrates with Re-Leased, which means that Fixflo, as a repair reporting and maintenance management system, is available to Re-Leased customers within the wider Re-Leased system (as long as they have a Fixflo account). This, therefore, ensures that customers can fully manage their property portfolio through the same portal (if they wish to), which saves time and money and allows them to focus other energies elsewhere. That is a very basic property stack but, in other cases, three or four systems might be integrated.
It’s important to note that this isn’t an “all-in-one” system - it is hard to provide excellence in these areas due to the speed of technological development and consumer demands. This is where the best-in-class idea comes from, in the sense that customers aren’t limited to using that one vendor - they can cherry pick the best solutions from the most highly-rated vendors to meet their specific needs.
How can you create your own property stack?
If the idea of creating a property stack has fired your imagination and you now can’t wait to get started, don’t jump in just yet. Make sure that your business needs a property stack and can make a success of it by speaking to other similar businesses that have made the step up already. Ask them what their challenges were and how they overcame them. Find out exactly what they have found the benefits to be, and ask yourself if these benefits are relevant and can be aligned to your overall goals.
Once you have determined that the property stack is still a good idea as far as your business is concerned, you can then investigate the options on the market. How many systems are you likely to need to invest in? Which ones are the best-reviewed? Which ones integrate with each other? Don’t be afraid to interrogate potential vendors when you get in touch with them. Find out what they can offer you both now and in the future as far as potential integration partners are concerned - you may wish to hold off making a decision until those integrations have been finalised.
When you know how your property stack is going to look and you’re sure it’s right for you, be bold and take that first step. If you have planned and prepared properly, the transition should be fairly seamless and you should begin seeing the benefits of the property stack immediately.
For the vast majority of businesses, there are palpable costing and efficiency benefits to investing in a property stack as opposed to various separate, siloed solutions between which data cannot be easily transferred. Property stacks will also make it easier for businesses to meet the demands of their customers, who want a one-stop digital solution of the highest quality that they can use to handle any task relating to their tenancy or property.
This is a direction in which many industries are beginning to move - if you adapt now you can gain an edge on your competitors, who might not be offering as sophisticated a solution as you are.
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