“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!”

 



45 Days to Freedom

By | October 30, 2014

Today’s blog post is written by AvidXchange, a member of the MRI Partner Connect program and one of MRI’s Preferred Partners.

There always seems to be a layer of skepticism around AvidXchange’s ability to implement our software in 45 days, or less. It’s not unfounded, as some software implementations that are at the core of business processes take several months, or even longer. However, we believe that when you make the decision to automate your payable processes, it should happen as quickly as possible. In 45 days we guarantee to free you from your inefficient, paper-based processes, so that you and your team can focus on high-value tasks and scale for growth.

So, how do we do it? Over the last 14 years and over 500 client implementations, we’ve attached a method to our madness. It’s broken down into three phases:

  • Data Collection (Weeks One and Two)
  • Configuration (Weeks Two and Three)
  • Testing and Training (Weeks Four and Five)

Those phases are completed with our teams of Project Managers and Implementation Specialists who work tirelessly to ensure that the transition is easy for our clients. Below is an interview that we recently conducted with one of our Senior Project Managers, who has implemented over 100 clients:45 days to freedom

1. What are clients’ biggest concerns when implementing?

We understand that there are going to be some concerns about implementation. The most common concerns I hear relate to the time and resource commitments it will take to make a 45-day implementation goal realistic. We understand that the idea of implementing an enterprise level SaaS- based application in such a short timeframe sounds aggressive, but in our experience it is entirely possible while still allowing the client to focus on their day-to-day responsibilities.

2. What are the “steps” to implementation?

There are three main phases to implementation. Phase one is devoted entirely to data collection. During this phase you would provide AvidXchange with your chart of accounts, vendor list, user list, and entity list.  Once we get all of the data back, we move into phase two where we would help you to configure your portal and test the integration between AvidXchange and your accounting system. We do these tasks 100% remotely through a series of webinars that are designed to hold your hand through every part of the implementation. Once everything is setup, then we move on to phase three, which is dedicated to testing and end-user training.

3. How will the implementation process impact the workday for those involved?

Find out firsthand from one of our Senior Project Managers, Jennifer Liddy! Join us for an exclusive webinar for MRI Users on Wednesday, November 5th, at 2:00pm EST.

To learn more or register for the presentation, visit the AvidXchange website.



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