Commercial Real Estate: The Case for Flexible, Open and Connected Ecosystems

To manage complex commercial property portfolios effectively, you need a powerful technology ecosystem that lets your software stack adapt and evolve as your business needs change.

Choosing between an open and connected software ecosystem and a closed one can significantly impact the operational efficiency and scalability of property businesses striving to keep ahead in a competitive market.

This post takes a closer look at the differences between open and closed systems. It explains why an open and connected software framework is the best choice for owners, investors, and property managers aiming for growth and innovation.

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Open versus closed: what’s the difference?

Flexibility is the key feature of an open platform. It allows easy integration with third-party applications and services, enabling users to enhance their system’s functionality by tapping into a shared pool of APIs and insights.

Businesses that work on open platforms often start by identifying the core functionalities they need. They opt for platforms that not only meet essential criteria but also offer open APIs that fulfill additional systems integration needs. The goal is to boost user experience in the short term and broaden the possibilities for future customisation and innovation.

In contrast, closed and proprietary platforms are designed to work as part of a designated ecosystem. Users are generally guided to adapt the platform to their requirements using pre-configured settings available within the system. While working with this sort of framework can offer a level of security and certainty, it can make it much tougher for businesses using closed systems to tailor them exactly to their liking.

The downsides of closed systems

Constraints on Scalability and Flexibility Closed software ecosystems often come with rigid structures that don’t easily mesh with other software or accommodate external additions. This can limit the ability of commercial property businesses to scale operations or adapt to market changes effectively. An inability to integrate with new technologies or third-party applications means missed opportunities for innovation and improvement.

Increased operational costs

Operating within a closed system can lead to higher long-term costs. Limited interoperability means businesses are typically tied to a single provider for updates and support, which can become increasingly expensive. The lack of compatibility with other applications can also call for manual workarounds, further driving up operational expenses.

Obstacles to innovation

Staying on top of market trends and tenant expectations is crucial for commercial property businesses. Closed software ecosystems can stifle innovation across a range of operations, from limiting access to the latest technologies and custom apps to preventing property data from being consolidated across multiple platforms. These factors limit the capacity for bespoke solutions that meet unique business needs and enhance tenant experiences.

The advantages of an open and connected software ecosystem

Enhanced integration and customisation

An open software ecosystem welcomes integration with a wide range of third-party applications and services, allowing commercial property businesses to tailor their operations to their specific needs. The flexibility of an open system accelerates innovation – whether it’s improving engagement through tenant experience apps, streamlining data collection from diverse sources, or facilitating asset management and decision-making across a diverse portfolio.

Improved operational and cost-efficiency

With a closed platform, a business may still need additional software for specific, non-supported requirements. Data silos and inefficiencies can arise when these applications run separately from the closed platform. Not only does an open system promote interoperability, but property managers can choose from a variety of service providers, which also leads to competitive pricing and reduced transition and running costs.

Future-proofing your business

Adopting an open software infrastructure positions commercial real estate businesses to readily embrace future technological advancements and continuously improve their platforms through a collaborative approach. This adaptability ensures that property owners and managers can leverage emerging technologies to stay competitive, enhance operational efficiency, and meet evolving customer demands.

MRI Software: An open and connected system that grows with you

When it comes to choosing the best commercial property management and investment software, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds – an open and connected solution and an exceptional “out-of-the-box” experience.

JLL’s Head of Business Technology Asia Pacific, Property & Asset Management, Paul Faulkner, says that having Property Management X (PMX) at the core of its IT ecosystem has created a strong foundation for the company’s technology processes in the APAC region.

We start at a strategic level … with distinct operations management, finance, advanced budgeting and forecasting layers (and) a business intelligence (BI) layer at the top. This approach allows you to plug and play different components with the idea of creating a versatile ecosystem that addresses the unique needs of each country and region,

he says.

Leading property advisory firm Savills Australia also appreciates the benefits PMX’s unlimited customisation provides and has used it to build a tailored tech stack with third-party solutions.

The MRI platform is fantastic! It gives us the ability to link any third-party software solutions using APIs, all linking through the platform in real time. All our technology is connected, we’ve got a great selection of tools in our toolbox and we know we can keep building on that with new apps,

says David Watson, Savill’s National General Manager for Asset Management.

Interested to learn more about how MRI’s open and connected platform for comprehensive property management and financials can be tailored to your operations and enhance the way you do business? Contact us now for a discussion and demo.

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