Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Specialty Sector Solutions: Non-Traditional Property Types Differentiate Themselves with Back-Office Technology

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Specialty Sector Solutions: Non-Traditional Property Types Differentiate Themselves with Back-Office Technology

Article excerpt

Real estate comes in many forms: traditional, which includes commercial, retail, industrial and multifamily; and non-traditional, including senior facilities, student housing, parking garages, vacation rentals, billboards, parking garages and prisons.

At a very basic level, all sectors are similar in how their businesses are structured and what technology supports critical operating processes. In the end, there are tremendous opportunities for the individual sectors to learn from one another. Most companies differ on what activities should occur at the property level, and what activities should occur at the regional or corporate level. To coordinate and align those activities, technology becomes a critical component, ensuring management and property personnel have timely access to critical information.

Traditional real estate sectors have more alternatives relating to application software supporting the centralization of back-office activities. Unfortunately, a number of specialty property companies are more limited in the technological solutions they can pursue. Most specialty real estate solutions are "stand-alone" property systems, which inhibit the sharing and collection of information beyond a single location or asset. Also, specialty property applications often provide functionality addressing back-office and front-office activities, but only on a single location or asset basis, making it difficult to have different operating models between two assets.

Back-office solutions targeting traditional real estate sectors may be applied to specialty properties. These non-traditional solutions offer more advanced, full-featured applications that support variable (i.e., centralized vs. decentralized) operating models and billing processes. Specialty property owners can actually differentiate themselves by investing time and capital on these more sophisticated solutions. …

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