Property managers have an extensive list of responsibilities that need to be organized and completed in a thorough, regimented fashion in order to ensure the best results. Enter Building Engines, a web-based and mobile property/tenant management system. Building Engines' software equips real estate owners and managers with the ability to capture, communicate, assign and report every aspect of their property’s operational performance and tenant experience.
This week we were privileged to get a chance to speak with Scott Sidman, Senior Vice President of Building Engines, where we covered everything from geographical footprints to their blogging and social media strategy.
FunnelCast: Tell us in a few brief sentences exactly what Building Engines is.
Scott: Building Engines is a 12 year old Web (SaaS) and mobile software provider for the commercial real estate and facilities management industries. Our clients are typically innovative commercial real estate owners and managers who want to use technology to create the visibility & control needed for more profitable operations, happier tenants, and a brand identified with technology-driven best practices. We give them that visibility and control in four major areas of their business: Tenant Service, Asset & Equipment Maintenance, Operational Risk Management, and Operational Communications.
FunnelCast: What problems are you trying to solve in the industry?
Scott: While there are many operational problems that the daily use of our platform solves for our customers, in general we are helping them to improve their bottom line (NOI) by utilizing technology to shift from a historic property management model of reactive and idiosyncratic operating practices to one that standardizes and automates core operational functions, creates transparency and real-time visibility, and collects the data created from the hundreds of activities that take place in a property every day. That data translates into actionable intelligence that helps management teams make informed decisions and accurately compare performance within their portfolio and against their peers. Ultimately, it allows management teams to build a brand around technology-driven operational best-practices.
FunnelCast: Tell us about your geographic footprint. Who are your customers? Where are they?
Scott: We support our clients, their properties and tenants across the United States and Canada. Our platform is currently deployed in almost 500 million square feet and 4500+ individual buildings. Our typical customers are owners/managers or third party managers (and their management staffs) of commercial properties or portfolios (office, medical office, industrial, retail and mixed-use) and include over 225 leading firms such as Beacon Capital, Manulife, CREIT, Normandy Real Estate Partners, CIM Group, Harvard University Real Estate, Federal Realty, Carr Partners, Cassidy Turley and many others.
FunnelCast: What is your growth strategy?
Scott: At a basic level, it’s simply to continue to improve and innovatively evolve our product and service by listening extremely well to our clients and the market, and then to apply our own vision of where technology can continue to transform and improve property operations. An example of that innovative product evolution is our investment over the past several years into our industry’s leading mobile property management application. At a higher level, we believe that businesses today demand transparency and “openness” from their technology providers. What that means in our market is that operationally focused best-of-breed service providers (like us) must commit to and evolve a strategy of connecting to and sharing information with other platforms. This provides our customers with the flexibility they want by not having too much of their business locked into single providers and the assurance that they are not sacrificing convenience for quality. We believe that meeting that market and client need better than anyone else in our space will be a significant contributor to our growth.
FunnelCast: You have a really great blog - how do you choose the topics that you write about?
Scott: Thank you! We put a lot of thought and effort into it. Our topics are selected based on providing commercial real estate operations best-practices guidance to our market as well as trying to answer the most common questions a prospective client, or someone in the market for real estate technology, may have during their evaluation and buying process. We’ve actually met with clients and built a list of the top 100 questions to answer based on their feedback. We’ll also try to mix it up with some lighthearted, fun content every once in a while as well as include some product-focused content to help illustrate how we can help solve some specific problems for our clients.
FunnelCast: Tell us more about your blogging strategy and frequency of posts.
Scott: We try to blog 3-4 days per week and require participation from most of our senior management team. We apply a keyword strategy to our blog posts and we think hard about titles and images to assist with Google and search. We also try to distribute blogging content across multiple channels including social.
FunnelCast: What advice would you give to a new blogger in the real estate world?
Scott: It’s really simple. You need first and foremost to commit to blogging and dedicate resources (people and time) to it. Following that, you need to create content that is relevant and useful to your market and target audience. Finally, I’d say that you need to have a point of view that you believe in, is recognizable, and applied consistently. Do those things well and the good results will follow.
FunnelCast: You're active across various social platforms. How do you use social media to promote your site?
Scott: Social media is a great opportunity to create brand awareness and share best practices. We are extremely proud of our blog and the valuable resources we've developed and curated over the past 12+ years. We're most active on Twitter and LinkedIn, where we not only share blogs, articles, and tools to improve CRE operations, but also create meaningful conversions with our peers in the CRE industry. While CRE has been relatively slow in comparison to other industries to embrace and adopt social media, we are starting to see a dramatic uptick in usage currently led by the brokerage/leasing side of the business. As always, we try to be thought leaders in what we do and are proud of our efforts to promote CRE operational technology and best practices through social media for several years now. It’s rewarding to see the market coming around and we are seeing increasing numbers of management and maintenance personnel participating and communicating through social platforms.
FunnelCast: What are some of your favorite CRE tech sites?
Scott: Well, The News Funnel of course! It’s interesting, there aren’t actually a lot of CRE sites focused specifically on CRE Tech out there right now, and in particular, very little focused on operational issues. That said, I do enjoy reading a few key ones.
Even though he’s focused on the brokerage side of the business, I never miss Duke Long’s blog because he is entertaining, has a strong point of view, and has been beating the CRE Tech drum louder than anyone else on his side of the business for quite a while now. CRE-Apps is also doing a nice job bringing attention to the mobile apps that can help in CRE and new startups like Honest Buildings and others are starting their own blogs that will spotlight tech issues. Other than that, RealComm is a regular source of CRE tech insight, as it's core to their mission, and some of the major third party management firms like Cassidy Turley, JLL & CBRE will discuss CRE Technology issues as well.I also subscribe to news feeds from several of the CRE Tech focused LinkedIn groups.