We are almost through Q2 for 2019 and we can tell you that there is a definite trend afoot in the real estate industry. In the last six months, we’ve seen a surge in “system selection” projects. These are not small ancillary system projects, these are ERP projects all across the industry – including land developers, home builders and property/asset management companies.
Why this sudden movement? If you’ve been around as long as the Cornerstone team, you can recall how Y2K forced so many of us to upgrade our back-office systems. For many companies, that was the last time they took a hard look at the future of their systems. Folks, that was 19 years ago. To be fair, some companies did make changes in the last ten years, but that window is also aging out.
None of us want to upgrade or change systems. Yet, technology is moving so fast that many of those aging systems are leaving us. For example, if you are on SAP you will soon need to move to their new platform SAP S4/HANA. That will mean almost a full re-implementation for you. If you find yourself in that situation, facing full implementation costs and changes, it is incumbent on you to do your due diligence and include a comparison of alternative solutions in your analysis.
Many other real estate products have been on minimal support and don’t seem to be upgrading; some products have only one or two sources left supporting them. If this is the case with your system, you really need to look forward. Yep, pull your head out of the sand. Or, if you feel you are already above the ground, look around you…are you painting the organization in a corner because you’re waiting to address what you already know is coming?
Some of the products that we see as the “senior” of the “senior citizens” include not only the old SAP, but JDE One World, FAST, Trueline, a version of Builder MT and more. These products have served us well, but if your organization is counting on them, you need to take a serious look at “how much longer?” Not only are you missing out on new technology, features, and tools, but eventually something is going to give. For example, if you are on a product utilizing the AS400 and the hardware goes down, you will need to upgrade to expensive new hardware just to be able to hold on until you can complete a new system selection and implementation.
Don’t drag your company down into defensive mode, go beyond offensive mode and move into pro-active mode. Ask yourself the hard questions and start prepping your management and co-workers for change. Get on the next budget cycle early and make a solid case for necessary expenditures. Assemble teams and include a wide range of departments to build requirements, foster buy in, and ensure your selection is the best one for your entire company. And feel free to give us a call for help; as Cornerstone has done many, many of these projects (= we have the templates!)