The King and Double Double Have Eloped

By | November 25, 2014

Today’s blog post is written by Oren Rosen of Cougar Software, a member of the MRI Partner Connect program.

One of the biggest business headlines to hit the news recently is the merger of two giants in the fast food business, namely the marriage of Burger King and Tim Hortons. Both are giants in their respective markets. With this merger the company would become the 3rd largest fast food company globally, with over $22 Billion in sales across 18000 outlets in more than 100 countries world-wide. The new company would be headquartered in Canada.Cougar Software

Both Tim Hortons and Burger King have very different corporate cultures and revenue sources. Despite Tim Hortons having only one third of the number of fast food outlets that Burger King has (i.e. approx. 4500 VS approx. 13500), Tim Hortons is expected to generate the lion’s share in revenue by a large margin. Tim Hortons generates the bulk of its revenue through distribution sales as opposed to Burger King’s main revenue sources from franchise royalties and real estate.

Burger King has far more fast food outlets whereas Tim Hortons has an extremely robust and mature distribution warehousing and supply network. A completely different picture from a commercial real estate viewpoint.

The differences in culture and the types of CRE now part of the new company will need to be reflected in a robust, state of the art financial modelling solution and flexible calculation engine. The solution will be required to manage budgeting, planning, valuations, debt, financial modelling as well as providing a platform for the development and running of “what-if” scenarios for all aspects of the CRE part of the business.

A state of the art solution should provide for multi-currency transaction processing, as well as multi-valuation methods to allow for the expected continual growth and geographic spread of this new entity.

Also there will be a need for real-time, 24 hour access by all personnel at all levels involved with CRE acquisitions and management.  At the same time, a single repository for all CRE related information with the ability to cope with increases in the scale of operations will be a necessity to survive the big data flood.

We should expect a period of adjustment while all the disparate operations, processes and systems are merged together. Only by making the key decisions at the right times will ensure the success of this merger. One such key decision will be the choice of the appropriate software solution to cope with a greater diversity and complexity within the new entity’s CRE portfolio. Will the new company understand the impact on the property portfolio before implementing a new financial modeling system?

To read the article in its entirety, please visit the Cougar Software Blog.

“Your Place or Mine?” Collaborating Across Multiple Time Zones

By | November 18, 2014

It was on this day in 1883 that the American and Canadian railroads ended confusion surrounding thousands of local times by implementing four continental time zones. This saw a dramatic change in previous practices, which usually included railroad timetables in all major cities listing dozens of different arrival and departure times for the same train. Each time linked to a different local time zone, based on their “high noon,” or point when the sun was highest in the sky. This made travel across the country a nightmare.

With the advent of the digital world, the more simplified approach to four continental time zones has its own unique challenges. Synchronizing meetings, calls, and other daily activities across several global locations can create confusion and result in missed meetings, productivity, and irritation. However, there are some ways to alleviate this burden, and conform to our current system:

  1. Create a consistent schedule- If meeting times are routine, remote coworkers can adopt their schedule to a routine so they don’t miss important gatherings. Make sure to allot enough time for any technological issues that may occur.
  2. Include the time zone in all meeting requests- Even if the company you are communicating with is based in your time zone, not all of their employees may be based there. It’s easy to forget to specify which time zone you’re referring to. It may be useful to refer to the schedule in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) if meeting with the same group.
  3. Be considerate- Just because you like to start a meeting at 4:30 PM doesn’t mean it’s the best time for the whole team.  Schedule these meetings at a time that can work from one coast to the other, to avoid any unnecessary work hours.

How do you handle your meetings when dealing with counterparts in other time zones?


Are You Ready for the NMHC Optech Conference?

By | November 13, 2014

Members of the MRI team are travelling to Orlando this weekend to prepare for the 2014 NMHC OpTech Conference & Exposition. MRI has attended this conference on many occasions, and we are excited once again network with our industry peers and clients and showcase our flexible software. Whether you’re looking for customer experience focused apartment marketing solutions, comprehensive property management and accounting software, or purpose-built affordable housing management software, we will have product experts on-hand at Booth #301 to answer any questions you have.

This year, we have something new and “eXciting” to add to the mix: version X. Version X incorporates a variety of intuitive features X-Only_Logo.USE THIS ONEand functionality, including a modernized design and an unparalleled global search capability that stands out in the marketplace. The newest version of MRI also empowers clients with configurable dashboard views, browser and device freedom as well as data mobility. And naturally, our MRI “eXperts” will be on hand to demo this revolutionary new product! You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about our revolutionary new MIX, MAX, and Partner Connect programs designed to enhance your use and experience of MRI. MRI’s Information eXchange, or as we call it “MIX,” is a revolutionary extension of our core flexibility. MIX gives you complete and total control over every imaginable piece of your company’s data, starting with giving users the ability to create custom APIs that deliver ultimate flexibility. MIX is also the enabling engine for the Partner Connect Program. With Partner Connect, the MRI community has access to a host of new partner integrations that allow MRI and partners to rapidly exchange information. Meanwhile, the MRI Application eXchange (“MAX”) gives our client community access to an ever expanding catalog of unique reports, integrations, and tools – developed both by our clients and MRI. In the coming months, MAX will further expand to include contributions from software and service providers, as well. After all, the eXperience is yours!

In order to accommodate your information-packed schedule of educational sessions, we invite you to schedule a meeting with our team at a time that works best for you. If you’re unsure of your timing to schedule a private meeting, be sure to stop by our booth during the lunch or reception expo hours to visit with the MRI team and eXperience version X firsthand! Additionally, everyone who visits the booth is entered to win one of many eXciting prizes via the prize slot machine! Our clients are eligible for a special drawing as well. Make sure to stop by for your entry to win!

Will we see you at the show?

Can “Creative Placemaking” Help Your Property?

By | November 6, 2014

The National Association of Realtors recently published a blog that raised an important question that often goes unnoticed by commercial property managers: can art create a more livable space and enhance a community’s quality of life?

According to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), of course it can! NEA believes that art is a critical aspect of building a strong community, equally important as transportation, land use, education, infrastructure, and public safety. In fact, communities across the nation are using the arts and engaging design to improve communities by “increasing creative activity; developing a distinct sense of place; and producing vibrant local economies that together capitalize on their existing assets.” This process is called “Creative Placemaking.” 

Many organizations are taking advantage of this new trend. For example, The JBG Companies, a commercial real estate developer, partnered with Art Whino, an art gallery headquartered in Maryland, to create the N Street Mural Project in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC. The project’s mission is to upgrade a block on N Street using murals as the main type of media.  JBG, whose earned a reputation in the industry for its place-making expertise, was inspired by the efforts of the NoMa BID (Business Development District), and wanted to respond by helping to activate and improve spaces prior to their redevelopment.

What area in or around your property could benefit from Creative Placemaking?

Should You Work With or Against the Competition?

By | November 4, 2014

Why does MRI Software have the Partner Connect program?

There are numerous reasons to having a strong network of companies to “play nice” with, but one of the best is the potential mutual benefits for clients. When you are willing to work with your competition, both organizations develop greater insight into the industry, the consumer, and product offering. shutterstock_84655612-resized-600

There is a great idiom about the difficulty to see yourself as a whole verse the issues you are currently focusing on; “You can’t see the forest through the trees.” When you collaborate with your competitors, you begin to look at the big picture and stop getting lost in the details. This helps to ensure you are on the right track and not losing sight of the industry’s direction.

Yesterday, Carey-Ann Oestreicher, Chief Engagement Officer at Potential Unlimited, posted a blog about this exact topic, Collaboration is the ‘New’ Comepitition. In her post, Oestreicher discusses how her view of competition shifted when she worked for General Motors and witnessed the top automotive manufacturers meeting with to discuss their latest technology developments. “Of course, not all trade secrets were given away. But in today’s era of information accessibility, it wouldn’t take long for someone to figure it out anyway. Collaboration? Competition? What is best?”

For our property management software and our partner’s products to reach their full potential, we want to give our clients to work with fellow best-of-breed solutions. Therefore, MRI and our partners have taken the position that collaboration is the strongest approach! Our Partner Connect program is focused on structuring relationships and integrations for our mutual clients that offer a high confidence, low risk solution to property and investment management processes across multiple technology platforms. Not only does this program benefit our clients, but it benefits the property management software industry as a whole. Through these working relationships, advances can be made and problems can be solved more quickly than if each company worked in individual silos.

As Oestreicher points out, “A highly competitive way of thinking often leads to fear and a struggle for control, which burns up precious energy. Energy you could be using to focus on doing your best versus trying to beat out the competition!”


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