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FrontRunners for Property Management, March 2017

Powered by Gartner Methodology

This FrontRunners analysis is a data-driven assessment identifying products in the Property Management software market that offer the best capability and value for small businesses. For a given market, products are evaluated and given a score for the capability (x-axis) and value (y-axis) they bring to users. FrontRunners then plots the top 25-30 products in a quadrant format.

In the Property Management FrontRunners graphic, the Capability axis starts at 2.70 and ends at 4.50, while the Value axis starts at 2.70 and ends at 4.50. Scales may differ between quadrants in order to capture the relative positioning of the specific products in each category.

To be considered for the Property Management FrontRunners, a product needed a minimum of 10 user reviews, a minimum capability user rating score of 2.25 and a minimum value user rating score of 2.25. In most cases, we evaluate hundreds of products and feature onnly 20-30 as FrontRunners; thus, all products that qualify as FrontRunners are top performing products in their market.

The quadrant positions a product relative to its peers in the market. Each product falls within a designated quadrant based on their axis scores. Dependent on the specific needs of the software buyer, a product placed in any quadrant category could be a good fit. Each quadrant category has a distinct description for placement.

  • Upper Right = Leaders: Leaders are all-around strong products. They offer the highest value and capability in that market.

  • Upper Left = Masters: Masters may have fewer capabilities, but end users value those capabilities highly. Depending on the functionality needed, a product positioned in the Masters quadrant might be a better option to consider than products positioned in other quadrants.

  • Lower Right = Pacesetters: Pacesetters may offer a strong set of capabilities, but are not rated as high on value. For example, a Pacesetter might have a breadth of functionality at a higher price point.

  • Lower Left = Contenders: Contenders are strong-performing products that have not yet achieved the value and capability of the products in the other quadrants. For example, products in this quadrant may be more suited for companies that need more specialized functionality that comes at a price.

FrontRunners Methodology

The Basics

The FrontRunners methodology assesses and calculates a score for products on two primary dimensions: Capability on the x-axis and Value on the y-axis.

The Capability score is an overall weighted average of scores including:

  1. End-user ratings of one to five stars on the product’s functionality.
  2. End-user ratings of one to five stars ratings on the product’s ease of use.
  3. End-user ratings of one to five stars on the product’s customer support.
  4. A score, relative to other products in the market, for the product's inclusion of key functionality for the software category.
  5. A score, relative to other products in the market, representing the number of other products that integrate with it.

The Value score is an overall weighted average of scores including:

  1. End-user ratings of one to five stars on overall satisfaction with the product.
  2. End-user ratings of one to five stars on how valuable users consider the product to be relative to its price.
  3. End-user ratings of one to five stars on how likely they are to recommend the product to others.
  4. A score, relative to other products in the market, for the size of the product's customer base.
  5. A score, relative to other products in the market, for the number of professionals in the market who have experience with the product (e.g., users, developers, administrators).
  6. A score, relative to other products in the market, representing the total number of user reviews across the three Gartner web properties.
  7. A score, relative to other products in the market, representing the average number of times per month internet users search for the product on Google.

Markets are defined by a core set of functionality, and products considered for, and included in, FrontRunners must offer that core set of functionality. Additional related functionality can contribute to the capability score for a product.

To qualify for consideration in a FrontRunners quadrant, a product must have a minimum number of unique, user-submitted product reviews across the three Gartner Digital Markets web properties: softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com. The minimum number of reviews required per product may differ by category, but will generally be between 10 and 20 unique reviews

More Methodology Details

The FrontRunners methodology assesses products on two primary dimensions: Capability on the x-axis and Value on the y-axis. Products receive a score between one and five for each axis. Products that meet a minimum score for each axis are included as FrontRunners. The minimum score cutoff to be included in the FrontRunners graphic varies by category, depending on the range of scores in each category. For products included, the Capability and Value scores determine their positions on the FrontRunners graphic.

The Capability score is based on three criteria: user ratings on capability, a functionality breadth analysis, and a business confidence assessment.

    1. The capability user ratings criterion captures user satisfaction with the product's capabilities. The capability ratings score is a weighted average of the one to five star rating scores from three user ratings:
      1. Functionality.
      2. Ease of use.
      3. Customer support.
    2. The functionality breadth analysis is based on:
      1. The product's coverage of core software category functions.
      2. The number of other products integrated with it.

For each of these two data points, the methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for FrontRunners consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated into a one to five score.

    1. The business confidence assessment is an indicator of whether the software company is likely to continue investing in the product for the next 12-18 months. The analysis is based on four data points:
      1. The product's current customer base.
      2. The annual growth rate of the product's customer base.
      3. The vendor's current employee base.
      4. The annual growth rate of the vendor's employee base.

If the company's size and product's customer base are both significant and growing, then the likelihood that the business will invest in the product is higher than in the alternative scenarios. For each of these four data points, the methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for FrontRunners consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated to a one to five score.

The overall one to five Capability score is a weighted average of the scores for user ratings, functionality breadth and business confidence.

The Value score is based on two criteria: user ratings on value and product adoption.

    1. The value user ratings criterion captures users' satisfaction with the business value provided by the product. The value ratings score is a weighted average of the one to five star rating scores from three user ratings:
      1. Overall ratings of the product.
      2. How likely users are to recommend the product to others.
      3. How valuable users consider the product to be relative to its price.
    2. The product adoption data analysis assesses if the product is positioned in the market as more of an industry standard with higher adoption (thus earning a higher score), or as an emerging competitor with more limited adoption (thus earning a lower score). The product adoption methodology analysis for each product is based on four data points:
      1. The size of the product's customer base.
      2. The number of professionals in the market who have experience with the product (e.g., users, developers, administrators).
      3. The total number of user reviews across the three Gartner web properties.
      4. The average number of times per month internet users search for the product on Google.

For each of these four data points, the methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for FrontRunners consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated into a one to five score.

The overall one to five Value score is a weighted average of the scores for value user ratings and product adoption.

Data

Data sources include user reviews and ratings, public data sources and data from technology vendors. The user-generated product reviews data incorporated into FrontRunners is collected from submissions to all three Gartner Digital Markets sites (softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com). As a quality check, we ensure the reviewer is valid, that the review meets quality standards and that it is not a duplicate.

The business confidence and product adoption data comes from public sources, collected by either a third-party data provider or by Gartner associates. As a quality check, we compare this data against data submitted by the providers. We use this data to calculate a product's percentile ranking, which allows us to determine how products compare relative to one another rather than determine an absolute number.

The functionality breadth data is collected from the technology providers. We check the data provided and challenge data that seems inflated or unlikely. We use this data to calculate a product's percentile ranking, which allows us to determine how products compare relative to one another rather than determine an absolute number.

See FrontRunners frequently asked questions (FAQ) for more information on the methodology.

External Usage Guidelines

Providers must abide by the FrontRunners External Usage Guidelines when referencing FrontRunners content. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all FrontRunners reference(s) and graphic use:

FrontRunners scores and graphics are derived from individual end-user reviews based on their own experiences, vendor-supplied information and publicly available product information; they do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.

Runners Up

Providers listed as Runners Up were eligible for inclusion in the FrontRunners quadrant, including having 10+ product reviews, but their value or capability axis score was not high enough for positioning on the FrontRunners quadrant.


by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 28, 2017


Property management software helps property managers oversee every aspect of their daily operations, from tenant and lease tracking to accounting to building maintenance and more. These types of systems provide a centralized location where managers can view all of their properties to ensure everything is running smoothly while also making sure their properties are well maintainted and their tenants' needs are properly met. We wrote this guide to help you determine what kind of property management system will best suit your organization. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Property Management Software?
Common Features of Property Management Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Property Management Software BuyerView | 2014
Key Features to Consider
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is Property Management Software?

Property managers have unique needs when it comes to technology, and there are hundreds of systems on the market to meet those needs. Some are designed for companies managing multiple types of properties, while others target a specific niche in the industry, including:

Buildium Electronic Rent Collection Portal 

 

Buildium is an example of a vendor providing an electronic rent collection portal

Common Features of Property Management Software

Property management systems help landlords and managers increase efficiency, improve collections and enhance the quality of service provided to the tenant. Property management software streamlines the wide range of tasks that a manager performs on a regular basis. Common applications found in these systems include:

Accounting Assists managers with their general ledger, payables and rent rolls. Some systems provide reporting features that calculate total per-unit vacancy days and profit/loss at both unit and organization-wide levels. Examples of vendors offering accounting features include IBS 10.0i and SKYLINE Software.
Tenant & lease tracking Enables landlords and rental owners to automate and track the leasing process from beginning to end. Functions include: tenant screening, move-in, rent/utility payments, maintenance, vacancy planning, move-out and make-ready. Example vendors: Buildium, Spectra and AssociationVoice Building Edition.
Budgeting & forecasting Helps managers develop accurate operating budgets and calculate future values. Uses historical lease and financial information to make budget projections for revenue and expenses, accounting for CPI increases, inflation, market rates and tenant improvements. Includes tools for assessment and analysis, tax planning and scenario planning. Example vendors: Buildium and Propertyware.
Building maintenance Tracks work orders, schedules preventative maintenance and coordinates communication with maintenance staff. Applications can automatically create schedules and alerts and generate work orders, and some systems let tenants make maintenance requests online, expediting service. Example vendors: HippoFM, Maintenance Connection and Bigfoot CMMS.
Tenant portal Gives tenants the ability to log into a Web-based portal to easily view rent due and pay rent online, submit maintenance requests, check the status of maintenance requests, send messages and submit referrals. Example vendors: Buildium, AppFolio.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before evaluating solutions, you’ll want to know in what type of buyer category you belong:

  • Niche-use buyer. If your company specializes in a single property type, a system specializing in that type of property is a better option. Managers of commercial offices and retail space may want a commercial software application, while those with residential properties may benefit from a residential property system. Other examples of systems include those designed for homeowners’ associations (HOA software), affordable housing or hotel management software.
  • Integrated suite buyers. For managers with several types of properties in their portfolio, selecting a more robust system may be a better option. These provide functionality to support all types of properties in your portfolio.

Property Management Software BuyerView | 2014

We've spoken with thousands of property managers over the years about new software solutions. Based on our interactions with these buyers, our report looks to answer the following questions:

  • How are buyers currently managing properties?
  • What are the top reasons for replacing existing property management software systems?
  • What are the top applications required by property managers?
  • How have buyer sizes changed over the years?

Click here to access our full report. For more detailed information on this report and its findings, please contact Taylor Short (taylorshort@softwareadvice.com).

Key Features to Consider

Online tenant services. Renters increasingly want to receive rent reminders via email. They also want access to Web-based property management software interfaces where they can pay rent, file maintenance requests, submit their notice to vacate or search their handbook. A system that supports renters’ needs is critical, especially if you own multiple units or properties.

Automatic vacancy postings. The Internet is the first place most people go when they’re looking for a place to live. Therefore, many systems allow you to post vacancies to sites like Craigslist, Rental.com and Apartments.com using the information already in your system. All you have to do is click a few buttons, and the listing is posted to half a dozen places, helping you fill vacancies faster with much less work.

 

Point2 Property Manager Listing Feature

This is an example of Point2 Property Manager's listing feature

Integrated Web and marketing tools. Many products include tools that help managers build websites that showcase and market their properties. More integrated systems may include search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help build traffic to your site—and your listings. These tools can include analytics features that allow you to identify traffic sources and dashboards that help measure the impact of your marketing efforts.

Recent Events You Should Know About

As homeownership rises, rental affordability improves in 2017. The 2016 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey shows that homeownership will reverse from it’s historic low in 2016 and begin trending upward, as millennials prepare to buy. An anticipated effect of this trend is a damper on the growth of renters and cheaper rental rates overall.

AssetEye assists multi-property professionals. RealPage acquired AssetEye Inc. in 2016 to offer their solution for data aggregation, reporting and collaboration, which extends the scope of RealPage’s software. This acquisition allows the company’s cloud-based solution to cover other property types, such as hospitality, commercial, multi and single-family, senior living and student housing.

Use trending colors to make rentals pop. Adding bursts of bold colors in apartments can impact the mood and behavior of renters. So whether you follow the suggestions of Pantone with its color of 2017, Greenery, or personalize the hue to your renter demographic, consider how colors can potentially turn prospects into renters.

 

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Ten Steps To Selecting Property Management Software

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