It’s Budget Season: Time to Think About Technology

By Laura Prewett, Director of Business Development at Genea

lauraIt’s that time of year again – time to buckle down and figure out your budgets for 2019. It’s common to put blinders on during budget season and focus on your existing operating expenses. As a result, technology has previously been left out in the cold, but more and more teams are realizing the importance of allocating dollars for new technology. The following represent a few tips to help you fit the right technology into your budget.

Look at Your Challenges

First, look at your biggest challenges. Technology is only worth the investment if it solves a real problem, so take a step back and see where those challenges are. Maybe you’re spending hours managing manual processes like tenant billback, or looking for new ways to save energy, or trying to increase tenant engagement with existing amenities. Whatever the challenge, there’s probably technology designed to address it.

Do Your Research

Next, start researching. If diving into Google is too intimidating, try looking within your network. Who’s tackling this challenge at their buildings? What interesting technology announcements have you seen from other buildings in your company or network? You’ll likely see some trends and it could unearth some proven solutions you didn’t realize existed!

Do Some Demos

Once you’ve identified a few possible solutions, schedule demos. Really dig into the functionality and how it would work with your systems and processes. Get references and ask them about the implementation process.

This is also your chance to get multiple bids, so you can compare different options and do your due diligence.

Look for Possible Offsets

Many technology solutions are designed to offset other costs in your building. Implementing this technology could save energy, save time, or even increase revenue. If there’s quantifiable ROI potential, you might be able to offset the tech budget somewhere else.

Ask your network, the vendors, and their references how they handled budgeting for the new technology. They will likely have some creative justifications you haven’t considered.

Build Your Case

Now that you have all the information you need, build the case. Be ready for your asset manager’s questions and concerns. Explain how you determined the budget amount, the potential offsets you discovered, and the possible effects the tech could have on tenant satisfaction and retention (which can be more difficult to quantify).

Be prepared to mention other buildings in your market that are implementing technology to woo new tenants. This will be a reminder of how much the war for tenants is heating up.

Start the Conversation Early

Finally, make sure you start the conversation early. You may get push back and requests for more information, which could take time. By starting early, you’ll ensure you have time to get everything you need to secure the appropriate budget for next year.

There’s no doubt that the world of CRE technology is taking off. Hopefully, these tips will inspire you to jump in and implement some exciting new things in your building in 2019!

Laura Prewett, RPA, is currently the Director of Business Development at Genea, an innovative technology software company for CRE.  Laura previously worked at Xceligent, where she was one of the top salespeople, helping companies use data to drive results. Laura began her career in CRE with 18 years in property management and leasing with companies such as Deutsche Bank and Gaedeke Group.  Laura is a member of CREW Atlanta, Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, BOMA Atlanta and BOMA Miami-Dade.  

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