By Joe Bousquin
Jared Miller has a guiding principle when it comes to rolling out onsite technology at apartment communities: It must shorten his onsite staff's "To-Do" list, not make it longer.
“What you’re really trying to do is take things away, not add them,” says Miller, Chief Operating Officer at Denver-based RedPeak, a manager of more than 2,200 apartment homes. “We’ve made a commitment that we’re not going to roll out any technology unless it eases the burden of our onsite staff.”
Leveraging technology to help onsite staff do their jobs more efficiently is a must to compete in the apartment industry today. Property, revenue, and reputation management systems, as well as other staff-facing solutions, are supposed to make life easier and result in efficiency gains across a portfolio. But the difference between getting onsite technology right, and making a mistake out of the gate, can negatively affect a community’s operations for months, if not years.
Here are five of the biggest mistakes operators and onsite staff make with technology and how to avoid them.
While the need for training with any new technology is critical, many operators say it’s easy to give it short shrift in the rush to take a solution live. As rental housing software programs continue to change, training is necessary not only upfront, but periodically, as well.
“These systems are complex. They have many functions. You need to give onsite staff robust training in the beginning, and then refreshers over time,” says Dan Wurtzel, President of FirstService Residential New York, which manages approximately 20,000 rental apartments and 50,000 co-op and condo units.