With most single family property management software, what you see is what you get. Your property data is viewable and usable only as defined by what you see on the screen and the type of reports the software was designed to produce, and processes are fixed. It’s a closed system.
What’s more, while you technically own your data, for practical purposes you really don’t: That’s because you can’t access it through an API; it’s accessible only through their software. In essence, they control how it’s used.
So what happens if you want change things up? Say, create custom dashboards that display KPIs which aren’t the standard ones managers usually want to see? Set up automated alerts or report runs and distributions? Use your data with a third party application? Or perhaps import outside data for use inside your property management system?
But Propertyware offers access to its API so you or your consultants are unlimited in what you can do with your Propertyware data and how it’s presented, both within the boundaries of our software and in conjunction with third party solutions.
That’s because we understand that every property management company does things its own way, and it’s impossible to build every possibility into our solutions. We design our software with the functionality we feel covers the greatest possible range of customer needs, but it’s impossible to anticipate the individualized or creative ways some customers will choose to view or leverage their data and design their internal processes.
Note that an open API is not the same thing as “open source.” Like the vast majority of software companies, we don’t simply give our source code to anyone who wants it, as that’s essentially the same as giving away the company – and we love our jobs!
But an open API is nevertheless a huge asset. An open API is responsible for over 50% of the functionality of the market-leading SalesForce CRM app. Here’s a fairly clear definition that appears on Wikipedia (which, come to think of it, is a non-profit, crowd-sourced organization roughly analogous to “open source” as described above):
“An open API is a publicly available application programming interface that provides developers with programmatic access to a proprietary software application or web service. An application programming interface (API) is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software. In general terms, it is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components. A good API makes it easier to develop a computer program by providing all the building blocks, which are then put together by the programmer," according to Wikipedia.
If you’re not particularly techie, the important thing to understand is that Propertyware is flexible, meaning you’re not limited to using it only in the way it comes out of the box. Whether it’s certain information you want to see on a particular screen or dashboard that’s not standard, or a process you want to tweak to better fit how you do things, it’s all achievable with our open API. There’s also a conduit to third party applications you can use in conjunction with Propertyware, enabling integration and the smooth transfer of data back and forth.
Today, many Propertyware customers already use the open API to customize our software to their particular needs. There are also consultants who have jumped in to help companies that don’t have the internal resources to handle the customization: you tell them what you want, and they build it for you.
Are there things you dream that Propertyware could for you? Consider how open API access might be just the right solution!
Based in New Orleans, Guy Lyman is a professional writer with over 25 years’ experience writing about single-family, multifamily and commercial real estate. Lyman is a frequent contributor and writer for the Propertyware blog.