The Countdown is on for MRI Software’s 2017 International Users Conference

The Countdown is on for MRI Software’s 2017 International Users Conference
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for MRI Software clients! The 2017 MRI International Users Conference will take place October 15-18 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Florida. For the 23rd year, MRI clients from all over the world will come together to learn, network and explore the freedom and flexibility of MRI Software solutions and the Partner Connect program.

Be part of the MRI family

MRI’s users are the heart of our business, and we’re excited to bring so many clients and partners together at the International Users Conference. We want to help our users to get the most out of their software and learn about partner solutions that can easily integrate to meet unique business needs.

This year’s event offers more than 90 sessions, which are organized into tracks to help attendees make the most of their conference experience. Tracks include:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Commercial Suite
  • Communities & Support
  • Financial Suite
  • Flexibility
  • Investment Suite
  • Reporting & Analytics
  • Residential Suite

These sessions will include product roadmaps, functionality deep dives and case studies. Some sessions will also count for continuing professional education (CPE) credits for Certified Public Accountants. 

The freedom to choose

As always, the International Users Conference is an opportunity for MRI clients to have face-to-face conversations with members of the Partner Connect program. Users can learn firsthand about our commitment to an open and connected software ecosystem, with freedom of choice at its core. It’s just another example of what it means to be part of the MRI family.

Post-IUC training

Remember, the learning doesn’t stop when IUC is over! Take advantage of post-IUC training while you’re in Orlando. Check out the available offerings and sign up here.

Most importantly, all attendees are invited to the iconic Hogwarts School at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park for the MRI Extravaganza on Monday, Oct. 16! You won’t want to miss this!

Register now for the 2017 MRI Software International Users Conference. Don’t delay; space is filling up fast!

We’re excited to see some old friends and make some new ones in Orlando this fall! See you in October.

Virtual Reality for Off-the-Plan Properties: Why Now is the Time

This is a guest blog from our partner, Liminal.

Property developers, buyers and tenants all over the world are reaping the benefits of virtual reality for pre-sales and leasing off-the-plan apartments, townhouses and condos.

The emotional effects and enhanced visualization capabilities of virtual reality translate into higher levels of trust among buyers and potential tenants. This offers a more effective sales strategy for developers when compared to traditional methods of sales and marketing.

What is a Virtual Reality Real Estate Tour?

When wearing a headset, a potential property investor or tenant instantaneously ‘arrives’ inside the property, immersing themselves in a 360° photoreal environment. Users can navigate the property from room to room to gain a real perspective for the scale and feel of the space.

While traditional architectural visualizations used in brochures and websites serve an important purpose in the property sales process, they only manage to give a glimpse of what the property has to offer. In contrast, virtual reality provides an opportunity for a buyer to explore the entire property in their own time, enabling developers to sustain the buyer’s attention for longer durations than more traditional methods of showcasing a property in print or digital media.

Virtual reality also manages to generate more buy-in from potential property investors. Neuroscientists at Nielson confirm: when compared to a 2D screen, viewing content in VR generates 27% enhanced emotional activation and the effects last 34% longer. This is because virtual reality generates what psychologists call a sense of ‘presence’ – the feeling of actually being there inside the virtual reality environment. This sense of presence results in enhanced emotional investment in the buying experience, one of the key motivators for people to take the plunge and invest in property.

Due to virtual reality’s capacity to generate a greater sense of trust and emotional investment in the planned space, this makes for a very powerful sales tool that was previously not available before the advent of virtual reality.

“New developments, like our Coburg Quarter project, are really raising the bar in terms of its quality and design-led architecture. Until recently though, we’ve had to rely on renders and floorplans to communicate the many unique aspects of our projects.

Now with the advent of Liminal 360’s 3D virtual reality technology we can actually show our purchasers the quality of our projects in a really tactile, expressive way”.

– Ben Anderson, Founder and Managing Director, Future Estate

While virtual reality may be new to many people, Liminal 360 have been developing virtual reality experiences for architectural visualizations for over two years. One flagship product for property developers is a downloadable mobile VR app for iOS and Android.

These VR apps not only provide virtual reality tours for upcoming developments without a headset, they have also been carefully constructed to serve as lead generation and sales tools, supported by a branded user interface showcasing 2D render galleries and additional project information, such as links to project websites and Google maps. Lead qualification is identified through user registration, registration of interest and web portal analytics which feed usage data back to developers.

Using Mobile VR as a Marketing Tool

One of the key benefits of mobile VR is its accessibility. All a property investor requires is access to a Google Cardboard, and then it’s just as simple as downloading the app and launching a photoreal architectural visualization virtual tour on their phone.

Custom-branded Google Cardboards are a popular cost-effective means for property developers to share their mobile VR experiences to potential investors. Liminal 360 has worked with several clients who handed them out at launch events, expos and as gifts to prospective investors to provide immersive property marketing experiences.

virtual reality real estate tour
The added beauty of the Google Cardboard lies in its resilience as a marketing tool. Amongst the masses of competing promotional materials, it stands out as a functional, novel, multi-purpose piece of equipment that gets used time and time again.

For a higher-end option, Google’s Daydream View and Samsung’s Gear VR are positioned on top of the mobile VR offering, yet these headsets remain highly accessible and available for under $100. Their ergonomic designs provide a very comfortable and user-friendly experience. Both headsets also come equipped with handheld controllers that allow precise interaction and movement within property spaces.

These higher-end options provide the most flexible solution for sales agents looking to secure buyers and tenants in off-the-plan sales and leasing, by creating immersive virtual experiences that turn visual concepts into realistic, immersive environments.

The success of property developers around the globe currently using VR is further testament to the fact that now is the time for developers to invest in virtual reality for their sales and marketing.

About Liminal 360

Liminal 360 is a market-leading virtual reality company based in Melbourne that specializes in developing virtual reality experiences for off-the-plan property sales, marketing, brand activations, and enterprise applications.

For further information, please visit http://www.liminal360.com or to get in touch with a Liminal representative, email info@liminal360.com.

Hurricane Harvey Assistance


Hurricane Harvey Assistance
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, tens of thousands have been displaced, losing their homes and their belongings. At MRI Software, we’re making it a top priority to do everything we can to help.

In an effort to assist those affected by this natural disaster, we’ve created an online apartment listing as a resource to those in need of a place to stay in Houston or the surrounding areas. If you have any additional properties or alternative information for the Hurricane Harvey Apartment Listing website, please contact us.

We are also aware that not only have homes been compromised, but many property management businesses have as well. If you are a user of any MRI Software products, we are here to help in the following ways:

  • Resident Connect website updates – If your team is unable to access the website, we can make updates and share messages on your behalf with residents.
  • Assistance with check printing – MRI can assist you with this whether your system is on-premise or SaaS.
  • Automated Communications – Our CallMaX team can handle call management, emergency resident communications, maintenance requests, and more.
  • Extended Support hours – We will have staff available to assist as needed.
  • Property Management System hosting – If your on-premise system is unavailable, talk with us about short-term hosting in our data center to get you back up and running quickly.
  • Additional assistance depending on your specific needs.

If there is anything we can do to help those affected in the Houston area, please contact us info@mrisoftware.com.

MRI Summer Internship Series: Weeks 3 & 4

MRI Summer Internship Series: Weeks 3 & 4

Each year, MRI has the pleasure of guiding a group of young professionals through their transition between school and the working world. Throughout their time here, they’ll be sharing every detail of what it’s like to work for a growing tech company in many different capacities. Follow this summer’s MRI interns to hear about their journey into the world of software at MRI. Check out how our intern’s experience is going now that they’ve settled in. #MRInterns2017

How ‘Common Sense Casual’ Works in the Workplace

Ben Simon

Common sense casual is an integral part of what I see as MRI’s culture. By keeping the work environment at a casual level of dress, I feel that MRI actively relaxes the corporate culture that we inhabit when we are at work. Common sense casual is two parts, casual attire and common sense. This means that there is no definitive bar of dress that one must meet in order to fit within the company, but at the same time there are reasonable limits to this. Those reasonable limits are understandable and easy to follow. I have worked one other job outside of MRI, and that job had a semi-formal dress code. I feel that this made going to work a more cumbersome experience, as I do not own many sets of formal clothing. Having to adhere to the dress code simply meant that I had to find a clean pair of formal clothes that would meet the dress code, and as somebody without much clothing to begin with, this proved to be a task that I had to plan out well in advance for work.

At MRI, common sense casual is one way that the company expresses its core values. In allowing employees to dress as they naturally would within reasonable limits, a layer of abstraction is effectively removed between the employee and the workplace. I feel that people are more approachable when they are relaxed and wearing normal clothing than if they were wearing formal clothing, although this is definitely personal preference.

Formal clothing creates a standard that I believe blocks communication in some aspects, as it gives us the subconscious urge to act more formal and indirect in order to be professional. I think that common sense casual can allow for the same level of professionalism without the added task of having to dress in uncomfortable clothing for extended periods of time.

Overall, the practice of common sense casual is very beneficial to the experience of working at MRI Software, as it creates a relaxing and collegial environment where I feel that I can focus more on my work than how I am dressing. I don’t feel that not having a formal dress code hinders the company in any way. It is part of MRI’s culture and it is an aspect about the company that I very much appreciate.

Jake Wernick

When I was first hired at MRI for the summer internship, I was surprised to hear the dress code. I was expecting the dress code to be business casual, business professional, or something similar, but I received an explanation of a dress code that I was unfamiliar with: “Common Sense Casual.” While I know many companies are moving to dress codes like “Smart Casual” (very similar to business casual), “Common Sense Casual” is much more casual than any other dress code I have heard of before. While employees are still expected to look presentable, the dress code allows for much more freedom, creativity, and comfort.

“Common Sense Casual” is a dress code that allows employees to wear things like hoodies, t-shirts, jerseys, athletic shoes, jeans, and modest shorts to the workplace. However, it is still expected that employees use their “common sense” when dressing, and not wear things like shirts with inappropriate sayings, basketball shorts, or pajamas. This allows employees great freedom in dressing in the morning, but ensures that they still look presentable in the office.

In addition to freedom, the “Common Sense Casual” dress code allows employees to express their creativity. Personally, I am someone who has a high level of interest in clothes and shoes. In a normal business casual or business professional environment, it would be more difficult to be creative considering I only have so many suits, so many different dress shirts, so many pairs of dress shoes, etc. With the “Common Sense Casual” dress code, I am free to wear my favorite pair of basketball shoes, my favorite hoodie or shirt, etc.

Lastly, the “Common Sense Casual Dress Code” allows employees to be comfortable while they work. On a hot summer day, employees are free to wear a t-shirt and some nice khaki shorts if they choose to do so. I can only imagine having to wear a suit all day in 90-degree weather. Extreme weather aside, wearing jeans, a hoodie, etc. is always more comfortable than putting on those dress clothes. Personally, if I am uncomfortable, this makes it difficult for me to focus, especially for long periods of time. Having the freedom to dress a little more casual can get rid of this potential worry, and ensure productivity. I am positive that this was one of the main reasons why MRI decided to implement the “Common Sense Casual” dress code.

James Hayes

At every other job I’ve had there has been a dress code, most I did not mind, but there was one that I could not stand. At a pizza shop I worked at we had to wear visors when handling food, and these were not any normal visors. No, they were the ugliest visors the company could have created and then forced us to wear them. Multiple times while employed there I asked to wear anything but the visor, like a hat or even a hair net; however, every time I asked I would be shut down. When customers would come in to order I could tell they were looking at the visor, and not at me. One time a friend of mine asked after coming in, “Why does everyone wear those visors?” Yes, they were that bad. They were so bad that the embarrassment became distracting for some employees. Every other dress code I’ve ever had to follow was pretty simple, and I didn’t mind.

I have never worked in a formal dress code environment, but I always thought I would like to wear a shirt and tie to work every day. After just a few weeks at MRI, I have come to see I much prefer the ‘Common Sense Casual’ dress code. The dress code is pretty self-explanatory, and all you really need is some common sense. Personally, I consider myself a semi-nice dresser, and I don’t own anything that I would consider offensive so my whole wardrobe is good for work. If you prefer more “offensive” style clothing, such as, bad language, hurtful jokes, dirty clothing, or something that has lots of holes you might want to buy some fresh threads before starting here.

Now before starting here I did not think I would take advantage of the ‘Common Sense Casual’ dress code as much as I do now. I thought of myself more as a “dress to impress person” and would wear a shirt and tie close to everyday. After the first day of wearing a tie, I stopped thinking that. I never realized how uncomfortable and distracting formal clothes become after wearing them for more than five hours. Needless to say today I stick to more casual attire, such as, nice jeans, a nice button up, and clean shoes. The only downside to this dress code is deciding what I want to wear in the morning because I have so many options that follow the ‘Common Sense Casual’ rules.

What’s the Scoop on MRI Corporate Culture?

Caitlyn Thurman

Many people may ask, what’s so great about the culture at MRI Software? It’s a corporate company, so you may expect, unattainable strict expectations, limited teamwork and a CEO that lays the hammer down.  Yes, we are a corporate company but we don’t fit in that traditional corporate mold. Let’s take a look at the core values that mold the culture we promote:

“We promote a collegial environment that facilitates enjoyable relationships with co-workers”. 

Teamwork is of the utmost importance to our mission and our success.  We truly and whole heartedly believe that the foundation of any successful business takes each and every employee.  Not only does it take each employee working independently, it takes each employee working as a well-oiled machine to work. That’s why at MRI we strive to work together to maximize customer satisfaction, profitability and growth.

“We drive and adapt to change that enables our company to rapidly evolve and improve.”

Innovative, creative, and flexible are just a few words that describe not only our software but our culture.  Software is constantly changing so we have to make sure we not only keep up but we can be a part of that change. Sometimes we even create the change.  So how do we implement this throughout our company? We are constantly brainstorming, we are working across departments together, and we are always adding new members of our team to bring new talent.

“We foster a disciplined and deliberate approach to problem solving across the organization.”

Our CEO doesn’t lay the hammer down and we don’t have strict, unattainable expectations but we do have set goals and a plan to achieve them.  What does this look like? This looks like cross-departmental meetings, a flexible and encouraging manager, and a CEO that loves nothing more than to see everyone happily making this business grow just one day at a time. Let’s put this in action for you. .  .

As a legal intern, I work closely with the three on-staff attorneys but as quarter two comes to a close, I have sat in on meetings with the Vice President of sales, sales operations teams and our sales teams. At every meeting, the goal is simple, figure out what deals we can close for end of quarter and what we need to make it happen. That’s only one example of the daily happenings at MRI.

Keep following the adventures of a summer intern #MRInterns2017

Not on the Coffee Cart: Projects I’m Working on at MRI

Thomas Sullivan

Only a few weeks into my internship experience this summer I have already participated in two different projects. For the first two weeks at MRI all of the interns were tasked with creating an internal web based tracking tool for open source libraries. Previously, in order to use a certain library in a project, information about the component had to be passed around through email to make it through to the approval process. To make the workflow easier, the interns were given the outline of a web program built in ASP.NET MVC framework to fulfill the role of tracking and exchanging information about the open source libraries. Before my time at MRI I had never touched ASP.NET, C#, CSS, or even Visual Studio, quintessential tools for building this web program. I was intimidated at first due to my lack of knowledge and experience however after a few days of working alongside my fellow interns and almost constantly asking full time employees questions I began to understand my tools and started to really contribute to the project and solve challenging problems related to webpage design and database management. I was amazed at how fast I learned about real world software engineering in an Agile environment as well as new languages and tools for development.

After the first two weeks the product development interns were split up to help real product development teams advance MRI’s products into the future. I was assigned to the BostonPost team who works to update and manage MRI’s BostonPost Property Manager for affordable housing. Three other interns and I were tasked with experimenting with a new internal web development tool as well as helping redesign the current BostonPost pages in the new tool. The tool is still in development so we have to work closely with the framework team to document and iron out bugs as well as invent new features. Developing web pages with an unfinished tool is exciting and meshes well with the Agile development method so that both the new tool and BostonPost can progress forward at the same time. It is also quite rewarding to be working on the forefront of a new development tool that will most likely be used within the company for long after my internship has ended, meaning that what I’m doing today will cascade to many interns after myself and possibly to the rest of the company internationally. The work ahead of us at BostonPost is daunting however with the constantly shifting environment and new challenges every day the work stays far from boring.

 

In Case You Missed It: Realcomm 2017

In Case You Missed It: Realcomm 2017

Realcomm 2017 was a huge success as usual – real estate professionals from across the nation came together to discuss a range of topics, from the industry trends and predictions to product features and functions. Besides, who can turn down a trip to beautiful San Diego, where the weather is somehow always perfect?

We at MRI Software are particularly proud of our clients that won a Realcomm Digie Award this year. Openness and interoperability were common themes at this year’s event, and the accomplishments of our clients only prove that the trend is here to stay.

IMG_5961Phillips Edison & Company (PECO) – As a real estate firm with a national platform of grocery-anchored shopping centers, PECO won a Realcomm Digie
Award for Retail to recognize its innovative use of MRI Version X. The open, flexible architecture of Version X allowed PECO to implement a technology solution configured specifically for its business. In addition, the PECO IT team was able to integrate with third-party systems, including MRI’s connected ecosystem of partners and even non-real estate software systems. PECO is a great example of how MRI’s flexible, open approach to real estate software empowers real estate firms to create individually configured solutions that deliver extraordinary results.

IMG_5963Silverstein Properties – Sandy Jacolow of Silverstein Properties was the winner of the Julie Devine Digital Impact Award. This honor recognizes individuals that strive to advance the real estate industry through innovation and new ways of thinking. Mr. Jacolow is the CIO of the real estate development, investment and management firm, and we are proud to claim him as a member of the MRI Software family.

Industry Trends: Real Estate Investment Management

While Realcomm offers many takeaways, one of the most prevalent trends this year was the increased interest in real estate investment management technology. With an entire track dedicated to automation in this sector, it’s clearly an area that will keep growing.

We can’t talk about real estate investment industry trends without mentioning pain points. Many attendees expressed a need for direct access to technology, as well as a trusted data source. The desire for a custom portal for investor access was also discussed, and MRI’s Investment Central addresses this need by providing a full lifecycle asset management solution for real estate investment managers, fund advisors and investors. Centralize your investment data, risk management, processes and reports in a mobile, secure location so you can manage your investments – not your data.

Here at MRI, we’re excited to be part of the revolution for real estate investment management software. Our end-to-end solution gives REITs, fund managers and others that are responsible for managing real estate investments the tools to automate their operations, speed up the strategic planning process, and maximize returns for shareholders. Ultimately, real estate firms can increase business agility and gain competitive advantage by leveraging data and technology to make decisions.

Thanks again to Realcomm for another great conference! Until next time.

MRI Summer Internship Series: Weeks 1 & 2

MRI Summer Internship Series: Weeks 1 & 2

Each year, MRI has the pleasure of guiding a group of young professionals through their transition between school and the working world. Throughout their time here, they’ll be sharing every detail of what it’s like to work for a growing tech company in many different capacities. Follow this summer’s MRI interns to hear about their journey into the world of software at MRI. #MRInterns2017

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My Expectations for MRI and Myself this Summer

Caitlyn Thurman

My name is Caitlyn Thurman and I joined MRI Software this summer as a legal intern.

Picking a summer internship may seem simple but it is far from easy. A summer internship for any student can be a gateway to a full-time position. You want to pick somewhere that offers you the opportunity to learn and gain invaluable experience. Plus, I think each student would agree that they want to enjoy their internship since it is summer break. That’s exactly why I chose to spend my summer at MRI and I was so excited that they wanted to work with me as well.

MRI Software offers a unique corporate environment that promotes collaborative, innovative, and global thinking.  They have an elite client base that expects only the best support and technology.  The teamwork and energetic atmosphere just gleams from this company. From the catered cafeteria, the employee game room to let off some steam, and the multiple break rooms stacked with coffee, the first time you walk through these halls just leaves you awestruck.

The internship program is perfectly balanced with exemplary training, correlated tasks in your department, and a multitude of fun activities. What attracted me most to the intern program was the corporate atmosphere and impressive team of employees.  I knew that this internship would be enjoyable and I would want to come in to work every day.  Work is so much better if you enjoy what you do, who you work for and the people you work with.

Specifically to my department, I really liked that the legal internship seemed very hands on. The team of counsel here is top notch and I knew I could learn a lot from working with each of them. After interviewing, I realized that I would have plenty to work on over the summer. This included working on a variety of projects to assist the company as a whole as well as the legal team in specific.

To summarize, working at MRI Software is a going to be a great chapter to add to my book of life. The atmosphere is fun, yet productive, the people are smart, yet humble and the product is innovative, yet comprehensive.

After spending my first week working with the MRI team, I know I made the perfect choice! Please follow my journey this summer. #MRInterns2017

Yusuf AbdoulKarim

Truthfully speaking, when MRI’s internship program began this past Monday I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As a student of Miami University in Oxford, the distance between my school and Cleveland as well as the timing of my interviews meant that the entire interview process had to be done remotely via the phone and skype. In turn, that meant that I did not get the opportunity to visit or tour headquarters or even to meet my hiring manager and team in person. So, naturally, on the first day when I pulled into the parking lot and walked through the front doors of the building, I was a bit confused when the sign was that of MP Biomedicals and there wasn’t a single other intern.

I did eventually realize that I had the wrong building and made my way to where I was supposed to be (although I entered MRI through the back doors and needed help getting to the lobby) on time, but when I arrived I was shocked to see the size and scope of the building. I would later discover that this sense of surprise in regards to the size, history, and culture of MRI would become a recurring feeling throughout the duration of my orientation week and full experience here.

I quickly began to get a feel for the company, not only through obvious ways such as orientation week and the ad hoc Town Hall, but in subtle ways as well, like conversations with my fellow employees at lunch time, trying to find my way to IT and ending up in legal, and random hallway encounters with Pat Ghilani as he enthusiastically made his way to a board meeting. MRI projects and instills this sense of comfortable and inclusive, but efficient productivity that spans all the way from the Senior Leadership Team down to an intern like myself. How many other companies can honestly say that their employees consistently meet and exceed the standards set upon them in the way that our employees do with our core values? How many companies can say that they’ve been around for as long as we have and still fulfill our mission statement day in and day out? It is because of these things and so much more that I’ve truly begun to comprehend what it is to be a member of this family and the reasons why people feel the way that they do about MRI and its culture.

With only 18 years of age and a year of college under my belt, I can tell you better than anyone that people my age get asked the question, “What do you want to do with your life?” far more often than we’d like. It’s something can’t honestly say I know the answer to at this point and to understand that my answer is something that I need to decide upon within the next few years is scary. As previously stated, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this internship when I first got it. Now I am happy to know that I can expect growth within myself in many different areas and a place full of good hearted people who are willing and ready to encourage that growth. I believe that this experience with MRI will help steer me on the path to figuring out what I want to do in life.

Culture Comparison: Corporate Expectations vs. Reality at MRI

Austin Bohrer

Welcoming, warm, friendly, and supportive, are all adjectives that I think of when I ponder culture here at MRI Real Estate Software. The expectations that I originally had coming into my employment were completely blown away by the unexpected warm culture that this company radiates. The friendliness and support from all of the employees truly do make this a welcoming environment.

I imagined a corporate atmosphere that is cold, giving little to no care to the employees that make the business run. I pictured only seeing what the CEO is like by the massive picture on the wall. However, here at MRI, the CEO interacted with me on my first few days as an Intern. I can further understand who he is as a person and what he expects from his employees. Being able to interact with the leader of the company so soon, elevates the warm atmosphere. The interaction alone gave me the sense that the corporate culture at MRI was that of a welcoming one.

The only sense of what corporate life is like was handed down to me through stories of my parents. The stories described a corporate office that is massive on scale, where the company had numerous floors. Employees were not free to interact with the floors above them. When I walked in the doors of MRI Software, I was astounded to see that the corporate headquarters had only one floor. The employees were free to interact in person across departments. It was evident just by watching the employees interact with each other that MRI strives to provide a warm and friendly environment to all of the employees.

I was nervous to start my first day at a corporate setting. I was not expecting all the support and nurture from the staff at MRI. I pictured arriving to work, and immediately being thrust into the work at large. However this was not the case at all here at MRI, I was slowly introduced to the company. The HR team helped me effortlessly transition from college life to that of a corporate life. All the employees to whom I was introduced, knew that it might be uncomfortable to make a transition such as the college to professional work. It was extremely reassuring to witness the support that the MRI culture emphasizes. I feel now that I can be more collaborative, and lean on fellow team members for help when I need it.

The culture here at MRI Real Estate Software is one reason why I am excited to dive deeper into the work of the business. The culture has relaxed and reassured me that life in the corporate world does not need to be intimidating. The warm, friendly, and supportive nature of the company as a whole is why I can say I feel welcomed here.

Carson Evans

When I picture corporate culture, I imagine a place where everybody wears suits, and the employees go to work with the sole purpose of getting their work done in a timely manner so they can leave as early as possible. I envision it as a very rigid, strict, and structured environment in which nobody has any fun. In my few weeks at MRI, I have found it to be almost completely opposite of the corporate culture I previously pictured. Everybody is so friendly and genuinely enjoys doing their job, and I think this is vital to the success of the company. Having employees who buy into the message of the company and can get behind it makes for a much more positive and innovative work environment.

Working in Bostonpost Support, everyone has been very welcoming to me as I continue to get acclimated to the corporate world. In a normal corporate setting, I imagine new hires going to training sessions with HR then having to learn everything else on their own once they get into their department. At MRI, however, everyone has been very hands on in teaching me how to do things and learn more about all the products MRI has to offer, especially Bostonpost, which is complex in nature due to all the regulations placed on affordable housing by the government. My manager, Cheryl Martin, schedules time with us every day to go over our projects and teach us how to do whatever is necessary in order to complete them. I really enjoy this because I think it helps me complete projects more accurately and in a timelier manner. Additionally, she takes us to meetings with her so we can see how the company runs on a higher level. This is a good opportunity to see how meetings are conducted in a corporate environment as well as learn more about the important topics being discussed.

In my opinion, MRI is an ideal place to have an internship, especially a first internship. Not only am I learning a lot about two very important industries, real estate and software, but the environment is very friendly and relaxed, which makes it much easier to learn and complete the projects I’ve been assigned. If MRI were a stressful place to work, I think the employees in general wouldn’t be as positive, and, ultimately, it would affect the level of work being delivered to the clients.

Joe Clark

Never having worked in a corporate or office setting, I definitely was not sure how the culture/atmosphere was going to be here at MRI. I did not have any real expectations since I had no prior work experiences that were similar to a real estate software company, but I had some basic ideas of what it might be like working a 9-5 job at an established, global software company on the east coast.

There are definitely stereotypes about working at a large, corporate company such as MRI. Probably the biggest one is that the employees will all be in their own cubicles working by themselves all day, not having fun, and constantly looking forward to the weekend every week. Another stereotype is that the CEO and higher level executives are never in the office, and they are viewed as powerful figures who tell their employees what to do without knowing any of them on a personal or even first name basis. With the way company culture has been changing over the past ten years or so I did not actually think MRI would fit into any of these stereotypical ideas, but I did not expect the atmosphere to be as awesome as it is.

After my first few days of orientation I could tell that the employees here do not only enjoy coming to work because they love the products that much. It became apparent that the company culture is a huge reason the people here seem to look forward to showing up to work and remain in a positive mood while here. It is clear that the cafeteria, game room, basketball court, colorful walls, casual dress code, and monopoly theme all have a major impact on the atmosphere here. MRI proves that the idea of work hard, play hard can be very effective if balanced properly.

However, there are 2 key things I have noticed at MRI that I think are very important in a large company. First, the way the meetings are run here foster an environment of effective communication and team building. With so many projects happening at once, the meetings keep people on track and help resolve any unanswered questions. The second point is how involved the CEO and SLT members are at MRI and with the employees. They are not in the office every day because I am sure they are busy all the time, but it speaks volumes when the employees can speak highly of the CEO and he can be seen walking around the building more frequently than you would expect to see a CEO.

MRI definitely has a “west coast tech” feel to it and knows how to create an environment to keep their employees more relaxed and invested in the company. It makes sense to keep your employees as happy as you can since they are the ones doing the work to keep the company alive. I think it is very invaluable for us interns to be a part of a company like this so we can see firsthand just how much of an impact the culture can have on the employees and the growth of a global organization.

Beyond financial modeling: Why real estate firms need to invest in technology

Beyond financial modeling: Why real estate firms need to invest in technology

real-estate-financial-modelingAs the real estate investment industry evolves, financial modeling will remain a key factor in allowing real estate investment
trusts (REITs) and other organizations that invest in real estate to make informed decisions and gain competitive advantage. The ability to evaluate the impact of multiple factors on your portfolio improves performance and maximizes returns for stakeholders. But if financial modeling is already an integral part of the planning, analysis and forecasting process, why do many real estate firms fail to capitalize on worthwhile opportunities?

According to a report commissioned by CIMA and the AICPA, 80% of C-level executives have made strategic decisions based on flawed data. In addition, 42% of survey respondents claim to have “lost competitive advantage to more agile competitors” because of slow decision making. While many industries are addressing these problems by adopting new technology, the real estate industry lags behind.

Real estate financial modeling technology

The slow adoption of industry-specific software and tools is one of the main reasons real estate firms struggle to take full advantage of opportunities. Investment modeling software designed for the unique needs of the real estate industry plays a critical role in supporting a competitive strategy, and firms that choose not to embrace it run the risk of losing market share in the future.

Three roadblocks to success for real estate organizations:

  1. Slow decision making – Based on the report mentioned above, 72% of companies surveyed blame slow decision making for the failure of at least one strategic initiative. With the right tools in place, real estate firms can reduce inefficiencies within the organization, streamline processes, and break down organizational silos to make way for faster, more accurate decisions that maximize returns and minimize risks.
  2. Inefficient data management – Poor data quality, inadequate tools for extracting, analyzing and transforming data into meaningful insights, and poor systems integration prevent organizations from using data to their advantage. Many firms are using nothing more than spreadsheets to manage billion-dollar investment portfolios, which only encourages operational inefficiencies and increases the risk of incorrect reporting and flawed decision making. Firms that leverage business intelligence and analytics tools can spend less time chasing data and more time on business-critical initiatives.
  3. Lack of agility – Shifting market conditions as well as economic uncertainty can have an immediate impact on the value of real estate investment portfolios. To stay competitive, real estate executives must embrace agile strategic planning to speed up the decision-making process, minimize risk, and generate optimal returns. The ability to remodel scenarios quickly will help firms assess the best course of action for the organization and its investment portfolio in the short and long term.

With uncertainty becoming the new normal, real estate investment leaders need to leverage technology to make informed decisions, aggregate large volumes of data from multiple sources, and increase agility to stay in control of business strategy and performance management.

Is your firm ready to take financial modeling to the next level? Download the Investment Modeling Buyer’s Guide to find out how to choose the right software for your real estate firm.

 

REIT Industry Lagging In Technology Adoption

REIT Industry Lagging In Technology Adoption

REITsOver the last 20 years, the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry has seen meteoric growth. REIT market capitalizations grew from around $7 billion in
1993 to $700 billion in 2013, and surpassed $1 trillion in 2016. In addition, the average daily trading volume has nearly doubled in the last five years, increasing from $3.7 billion in 2012 to $7.2 billion in 2017.

Despite its impressive growth, the REIT industry has lagged in adopting commercial real estate technology.

There are two reasons for this that immediately come to mind:

Technology adoption is held back by the mindset that Commercial Real Estate (CRE), including REITs, is only about buildings and other physical structures. In reality, CRE is about data  — the collection, analyzing and sharing of vast amounts of data. This realization is vital to being a leader in the competitive REIT world.

Many REITs have been managed using a very entrepreneurial style, instead of following a more traditional process-oriented approach. As a result, operational efficiencies have not been realized through the adoption of more modern software.

Currently, the REIT industry faces a number of challenges and complexities, including:

  • Stakeholder Visibility – Knowledgeable investors are demanding greater transparency and more information to better understand risk and make decisions. Manually gathering and aggregating this data can be time-consuming, but Investment Management and reporting solutions can alleviate this burden.
  • Local and Global requirements – The global growth of REITs and the need to manage portfolios of properties from different countries forces commercial real estate companies to review available REIT technology to accommodate local conditions and reporting requirements.
  • Uncertain REIT Forecasts – NAREIT (National Association of Real Estate Trusts) believes that REIT forecasts are favorable for 2017; however, they do cite a risk of interest rate increases as well as an unpredictable economic environment. This uncertainty in REIT forecasts does require more formalized modeling, forecasting and planning.
  • Potential Regulatory Changes – The tremendous growth of REITs and the increase in REIT conversions by investment companies has not gone unnoticed by regulatory bodies. Aside from minimal taxation changes under the PATH Act of 2015, very few new regulations have been introduced to impact REITs directly over the last couple of years. If tax laws change in the future, the general consensus is that REITs will still be treated favorably from a taxation perspective.
  • Sustainability Reporting – The sustainability movement is gaining a lot of traction, and the impact is being felt in the REIT environment. Investors, environmental regulators and other interested parties are demanding green initiatives backed by data to prove their effectiveness. The need to disclose sustainability data and performance adds to the REIT’s reporting burden, but green initiatives have been paying off, and the right technology can help with monitoring and reporting.

Why REITs should invest in software

Navigating the REIT environment can be a nightmare for CRE professionals who don’t have the latest tools at their disposal. REIT management companies are beginning to realize that achieving greater operational efficiencies, cost reductions, and better risk management will be important differentiators. REIT technology and commercial real estate solutions promote the streamlining of processes through automation and centralization.

Once REIT technology has been implemented, the focus of day-to-day REIT management moves away from pure real estate accounting, financial data gathering and reporting to REIT analysis, planning, REIT forecasts, financial modeling and running “what if” scenarios.

The result is a far more proactive tone in REIT asset management, combining superior decision making with operational effectiveness. Those REITs employing up-to-date, integrated commercial real estate technology solutions are certain to have a competitive edge over their rivals.

Learn more about improving data management for Public REITs in the on-demand webinar.

Or sign up for our next live webinar to learn about automating reporting and analysis.