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The Evolution of Commercial Property Management Software

Learn how multifamily management software is changing to better meet the needs of busy property managers, owners and residents. Including tool recommendations.

“By embracing automation, centralization, and technology, we see the future of property management having more meaningful work or specialized work resulting in higher paying roles for managers, more transparency for owners and renters, and a wholistically improved experience for all users and departments.”

So says Founder & CEO of FORTRESS, Kerri Davis. And it’s true—centralized, core hub solutions are quickly replacing the all-in-one commercial property management software of the past. The result is a seamless blend of best-in-breed tools that put data (and power!) behind scaling portfolios. 

In this article, we take a closer look at why this shift has happened. We also consider which property management operating system is best for owners, managers, and residents. 

The rise and fall of all-in-one multifamily management software

In the late 2010s, “all-in-one” multifamily property management software was everywhere. One solution that could cover maintenance, resident communications, rent roll, and accounting—what could go wrong?

Well… a lot, as it turns out. When you grow your portfolio past 1,000 units, you can realize a PMS can’t match the functionality of specialized solutions. And issues like managing tax rates in different locations and taking payments in multiple currencies can, in the words of Kerri, “turn into roadblocks that steal precious time and resources from your team and distract from day-to-day operations.”

In the next section, we look at why using core commercial property management software alongside specialized integrations is the way forward.  

Placing interconnectivity at the heart of proptech software:

Interconnectivity has become a staple of modern life. We integrate third-party solutions onto our mobiles through the App Store, and we rely on cloud-based platforms to synchronize data… And we should be able to add leading solutions to a commercial property management software solution easily. 

Luckily, a core hub, such as FORTRESS, can move beyond the basic interconnectivity of Open API to provide a true future flex solution. By being able to fully integrate tools such as accounting and screening solutions, you can harness a higher level of collaboration, access easier onboarding, and adapt to whatever new tools/processes shape the industry. This means more efficiency and way less stress!

Bringing data and communications up to speed

Recent research shows that 80% of buyers expect the companies they work with to respond almost immediately to their queries and concerns.  And studies have shown that when residents can easily track their maintenance issues, receive timely updates, self-service for payments, renewals, and documents, and communicate with property management, their overall satisfaction increases. 

So, in short, if your commercial property management software doesn’t facilitate real-time communication, you could fall behind the competition.

What’s more,  one of the great benefits of a property management system these days is that it can provide everyone (from managers to accountants to on-site teams to your grandparents) full transparency over business data. 

This means you can address issues such as leaky roofs before they present a real problem and analyze trends like rental demand fluctuation to help you enhance operational efficiency and mitigate risks. 

As Kerri Davis describes,  “When we were able to put the real-time reporting and communication tool in the hands of owners, everyone benefited.  The operations team felt heard, seen, and relieved of manual reporting and unnecessary phone calls, and the ownership teams felt informed, up-to-date, and empowered to help.” 

Making things easy!

The pioneers of property management software are, in fact, stuck in solutions with cumbersome UX and, well— let’s face it, there are a lot of buttons.  Modern platforms, like FORTRESS, are open to embracing best-of-breed solutions, focusing on the user experience and adoption for all stakeholders.  

When searching for technology companies to partner with, finding those that prioritize and support the change management process while focusing on long-term adoption is crucial.   

Look for solutions that prioritize user-friendly experiences and offer self-help guided tours or have a dedicated, experienced team that is responsive and helpful. Evaluate the platform's ease of navigation for users, managers, and owners to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. And remember — you can’t predict the future, but you can choose a solution ready to tackle it. 

To find out more, read our recent e-book: Looking Ahead: Multifamily Property Management and Technology in 2024.



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