‘Proptech’ is transforming business and housing organisations, delivering a greater variety of solutions to problems. An end-to-end tenancy management solution is available once all platforms and parties are pulled into one. Proptech management systems are developing from traditional to newer breeds of platforms and this article looks at how they vary and how certain software can work for housing providers based on individual needs and size.
Traditional housing management systems, such as those from Civica, Aareon and MIS-AMS, typically offer full management solutions for the larger housing providers, and often with bespoke options, albeit at a higher price. ‘Traditional’ HMS suppliers usually offer a wide variety of services beyond their core HMS, such as strategic consultancy, digital services, e-commerce, management platforms and recruitment and HR software, all of which give an indication of the size of housing provider they are aimed at. However these systems usually want you to remain inside their system for everything, with additions they have usually built themselves within the software. This can be good if your business needs the software they provide but it might be worth looking at alternative systems if you would like to integrate with applications from other suppliers. Due to advances in technology and the increased use of apps, some traditional property management software is having to be rebuilt into app versions which is harder than creating software to suit an app in the first place.
New proptech software provides greater flexibility for housing providers. They allow clients to create their own bespoke apps and software, perhaps not to the same extent as the larger systems from the suppliers mentioned earlier but they still can to a reasonable level. Consequently, the software is cheaper and due to its inherent scalability, suits both small and large housing providers. Flexibility is primarily due to the integrations that are available because of systems that provide an open API. With an open API, users are not limited to one system. It means you can get the best combination of software, selecting from the best in their field.
New proptech platforms such as Arthur Online allow users to integrate with software covering areas such as tenant referencing, payment gateways and digital signatures. Alternatively, clients can take Arthur Online’s API and write their own integrations, which shows the flexibility clients have to tailor their own needs. Regarding costings with modern proptech, you usually pay for what you need, not a lump sum covering a range of (possibly unwanted) add-ons. This means housing providers can choose exactly what’s necessary for them and purchase the quantity they need.
It’s obviously very important to have integrated software that connects the different user groups (property managers, tenants and contractors) within one platform. An end-to-end tenancy management solution that brings all the stakeholders together on a single, flexible platform is the answer. Sharing the management of workflows, documents, communication and finance is also a must. Proptech systems must allow for universal credit, housing benefit charges, tenant top-ups and arrears ensuring all scenarios can be catered for. Reminders and automated events functions on the software including late-rent notices keep tenants abreast of their rent payment schedules.
Proptech is very tailored to the tenancy journey; it carefully manages every point along the way. The larger HMS platforms offer a broader service, from CRM to recruitment, HR services and consultancy, whereas new proptech solutions focus purely on the property management process as well as the combined integrations making the software unique to each business and highly adaptable.
Proptech has allowed traditional companies to advance through improved technology. It has enabled all of the different parts of a business to come together. While traditional bespoke software is a good option for many companies, new breeds of proptech platforms offer a comprehensive solution to property and tenancy management, regardless of their size and budget.
Marc Trup is the founder and CEO of Arthur Online.