By Meghan Hall
Commercial real estate is a complex and dynamic industry, one that requires careful communication between brokers, property owners and tenants. How professionals work in the industry often changes daily as new technologies continue to come to market to streamline the workflows associated with managing property. The Registry recently spoke with Rick Wesley, co-founder and COO of mobile app and cloud-based platform Stratafy, a property management and engagement tool that intends to service all asset classes and to better connect owners and end-users with their properties.
Tell us about yourself, your position at Stratafy, and where the concept for the company originated?
My name is Rick Wesley, and I am one of the Co-founders and COO of Stratafy.
Stratafy was founded on the notion of smart buildings and smart cities being connected, but require a simple way to make the leap to allow for this to happen. In order for the built world to become connected, the ecosystem that connects all stakeholders and systems of the building need to be seamless, easy and [create] a better user experience. Stratafy provides a technology stack to connect all stakeholder engagements to automated A.I.-driven actions to machine learning Insights to further identify efficiencies and opportunities.
What gap or issue in the commercial real estate market does Stratafy seek to fill?
There are a number of systems used to manage an asset, which result in high costs and multiple software packages, training and most importantly, a disconnect where information is not easily attainable. Stratafy brings that all together with an easy out-of-the-box product that connects the asset and all of its moving parts.
How would you define “end-to-end” property management? What services does this encompass?
End-to-End property management is the interconnection of all people, places and operations. This is from the moment a tenant arrives into a building, to the ongoing maintenance of the building, providing value to the tenant throughout their tenancy period and tracking everything effectively through analytics.
These services encompass:
1. Tenant Engagement with a multitude of features from booking meeting rooms and yoga classes, to events and maintenance requests, building notifications or even concierge services.
2. Facilities Management where all assets of the building can be managed to ensure the property is in the best possible shape.
3. Internal Task Manager – Delegates and automatically provides actionable items to all staff on what needs to be done.
4. Property Accounting – Easy reconciliation of operating expenses
5. Contractor /Vendor Management – Automating quote requests, approvals and invoicing to make it easier for all vendor and contractors to get work done.
When did you first realize this gap in the market was solvable with the creation of new technology?
The realization came when I was working in the property space and saw how disconnected systems were across all types of property management companies. It was impeding them from adding value and new revenue, as so much time and money was spent unnecessarily on old incumbent systems with multiple integrations costs that would break the bank, making it difficult to move forward.
Who in the commercial real estate market does Stratafy seek to serve, and why? Is there a submarket or asset class for which Stratafy is most useful?
Stratafy works with medium- to large-size commercial property groups as building management and facilities management are predominantly done in these markets. However, Stratafy does work with all multi-family residential [ranging from those] as small as 5 units, to 500+ unit high rise apartments to provide services that connect property managers, tenants and owners together. This adds value to the property managers and their companies by driving loyalty, increasing their tenancy retention and net operating income (NOI).
Do you think it is rare for property management services to be in the form of a phone application rather than a desktop computer service? Why or why not?
Mobility is the key to the future. Just look at everything we do that drives convenience, from Uber, Deliveroo or event banking. So why should property engagement be any different? While Stratafy mobile engagement allows for a number of features to be done via mobile, we still have a cloud-based platform from property managers and facility managers that can be accessed via property manager laptops and iPad to work on the go from anywhere at anytime.
Stratafy claims to result in substantial cost efficiencies, new revenue opportunities and risk mitigation measures. By how much has Stratafy increased cost efficiencies for its users, and how many new revenue opportunities does it find on average for its users?
In some cases, Stratafy has reduced costs operationally as much as 36 percent, which can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The connected plug-and-play ecosystem allows you to eliminate costs straight away with the cost of one system, as opposed to five to 10 systems that all are being used and don’t seamlessly talk.
Revenue opportunities through Marketplace Services is proving to be a huge success for those who now have automated systems and focus on providing value to their tenants – purchasing services on hand instantly, from additional workspace through to group training sessions or even a yoga class, and in some cases upselling to the right users for other property and hotelier type services.
What are some of the risk mitigation measures in place to ensure a smooth user experience?
For managing agents, every action is tracked and logs all approvals and creates permissions that allow the right person to approve invoices and quotes and generate incident reports as required. All planned, reactive maintenance tasks are consecutively tagged with date and timestamps. This paper trail can be accessed remotely by auditors in a clean and easily accessible read-only login.
In addition to this, end-users can be communicated with directly through broadcast messaging for emergency evacuation or emergency notices of any kind.
How does Stratafy differ from the numerous other end-to-end property management apps coming to market? How will the platform continue to stand out and differentiate itself in the future?
Stratafy focuses on full, seamless integration with a strong focus on automation and efficiency, which makes us different. Our platform can be deployed in a number of days as opposed to [those with] high set-up costs and months of planning, which allows businesses to thrive quicker.
Stratafy uses a mobile, first engagement approach, where we believe that if we make the experience for the end user better, then the value of the property will continue to grow. In order to do this we use artificial intelligence and machine learning to continue to find the next thing we can make automated for our clients.
We also have a Single User / Tenant / Building View which gives you everything you need about the history of the user or tenant or building. This view has made it easy for property management to locate and navigate to the information they need.
Finally, we have fully-integrated contractor management to easily engage and work with contractors who can see all jobs on the go with paperless mobile work orders. [They can also] submit back quotes and invoices through the app to get paid quicker.
In the future…. We are now exploring the exciting world of blockchain to further provide e-contracts and on-boarding processes for tenants to make the entire experience from deal management to onboarding to ongoing management and providing great experiences.
In addition to this, our system is now starting to learn the different requests and needs of tenants in order to provide A.I.-driven communication directly to end users, making property engagement with your property manager 24/7.