When Cottonwood Residential and Monument Real Estate Services set out on a search for a new technology provider, both companies agreed that finding the right partner was just as important as finding the right software to meet their business objectives.
“We were extremely frustrated with our previous provider’s unwillingness to integrate with third party providers and their extreme lack of customer service,” said Greg Lozinak, CEO, Monument Real Estate Services, a 12,000 unit owned and fee managed operator. “Entrata showed that they were going to be a key strategic partner motivated to provide us with the technologies and integrations we needed to be successful.”
Both Cottonwood and Monument began full platform migrations to Entrata in 2016. While Monument finalized its migration in March of 2017, Cottonwood, the 22,000 unit REIT, is still working to implement many of its properties onto the system.
“Careful and meticulous planning was crucial to the success of our rollout,” said Danielle Noel, National Training Manager, Cottonwood Residential. “We formed an internal rollout committee dedicated to the project. They worked with the Entrata team to determine best practices for implementation and the strategy that has guided our migration based on our needs as a REIT.”
As suggested by Entrata, both companies began the migration with two test properties chosen because they were more stable, owned assets with very knowledgeable, technically savvy site staff. The sites were also chosen because of their proximity to corporate and regional staff available to be hands on during the transitions which allowed them to get liaisons from all levels on board and ready to champion the remaining rollouts.
Cottonwood and Monument addressed the decision to migrate at each of their annual company conferences in which they provided attendees with a complete picture of the benefits of the Entrata platform and invited those involved with the test rollouts to share their thoughts on the system and experiences with the migration.
Flexibility and adaptability were coined common themes in both organization’s transition. Cottonwood in particular found themselves rewriting policies that were created as safeguards for deficiencies in old software.
“Entrata is a software with many more options than we had previously,” said Cottonwood. “We looked to the Entrata team to help us determine how to adapt so that we could take full advantage of it while still maintaining our mandated operations and reports,” said Cottonwood.
Monument emphasized Entrata’s willingness to react quickly and pivot priorities when challenges arose during some phases of their rollout.
“Monument endeavoured a key ideal shift to quit looking for tedious workarounds when the system doesn’t do what we want,” said Lozinak. “Instead, we have been able to work with Entrata to tailor the software to meet our needs.”
And, Cottonwood agreed.
“As we have encountered challenges, we work with the Entrata team to determine the root of the issues and devise a strategic plan to move forward,” said Noel. “Entrata isn’t just a vendor, they really are a partner.”