As the founder and president of Raamp, I’ve read a lot of books that have been helpful to my company. These books drove me to do better, and also led me down the path to a better company. They affected my business and my career in different ways. I have listed the books in the order that I read them, because I think it’s an important part of how they affected my direction.
Makers: The new industrial revolution
When I was working as a CNC machinist at Quickcrate.com; they would allow the machinist to stay late and use the CAD software and CNC machines. I took advantage of this almost daily. I would spend my lunch breaks and other breaks reading tutorials and posting to the programming forums.
I won a copy of this book for an Instructable I created that was a 3D dragon. My boss and I both read this book and became inspired. If you have an idea and wonder how to get it created, this is an excellent book. It gave me a new perspective on creation, that led to me to the tangible and translated very well to the digital.
Let God be God: Life-changing truths from the book of Job
Ray C. Stedman
This book goes through the entire book of Job, line by line. This book made it to the list because sometimes I think of Job as an entrepreneur; he is beaten down, lacks support, but stays true to what he knows is right. But unlike Job’s, my wife is my biggest supporter.
Basically, terrible things befall Job, then rather than supporting or comforting him, his friends say that he “had to have done something” to deserve his fate. They tear him down and tell him to curse God and die. But rather than give in, when his entire world is shattering, he stays the course. Not only does he give his “friends” their time to speak, he listens then responds with so much sarcasm that it makes me relate : ““No doubt you are the people, And wisdom will die with you!”. He still had his wits and some sense of humor. This is a reminder that regardless of the outcome; I have to stay true to what I know is right. Even if others can’t see the final outcome, I still have to keep pushing forward.
Crossing the Chasm
Geoffrey A. Moore
When I started Raamp, I was introduced to Greg Smith who very quickly and kindly began to mentor me; the very first book he recommended I read was this one. Along with him guiding me away from a few bad decisions, I am grateful that he had me read this book.
This book changed my view of my first clients and who they were, and what they wanted. This book is a must read for anyone with a new product or disruptive technology. It lets you understand who your potential clients are in the different stages of development, along with giving you the discernment not to bring on certain clients too soon.
Should I cold call? Should I be disciplined? I’ve heard a lot of people say this book is repetitive, but I feel it is time well spent. It does point out the obvious, but more importantly it makes the obvious, obvious.
This book gives you a process, examples, and a basic framework for better prospecting. It walks you through scenarios that give evidence that support the claims of each situation.
The Ultimate Sales Machine
Pig-headed determination! That phrase is repeated throughout this book. Chet goes through and explains how to run a great company. This book can be applied to every company because every company needs to sell.
I’ve heard of those who re-read this book every year. I’m not one of those people, but I can see why they would go through the exercise. Chet Holmes was a very unique individual that was able to conceptualize difficult processes and relay them with precision and pig-headed determination.
We are problem solvers at heart and driven by an enterprising and innovative spirit.
Our utilization of the latest technology and continuous integration enables us to solve problems quickly and build great software.
What is Continuous Integration?
Continuous integration (CI) is the practice of automating the integration of code changes from multiple developers into a single software project. It’s a primary DevOps best practice, allowing developers to frequently merge code changes into a central repository where builds and tests then run.
What is Continuous Deployment?
With Continuous deployment (CD), every change must pass all stages of our production pipeline to be released to our customers. Any failed test will prevent a new change from being deployed to production.
Continuous deployment is an excellent way to accelerate the feedback loop with our customers and take pressure off the development team as there isn’t a Release Day anymore. Developers can focus on building software, and they see their work go live minutes after they’ve finished working on it.
Things to know first:
Raamp currently has 4 different deployment environments:
Simply writing the above stressed me out. Here comes the continuous integration and deployment approach.
Continuous Integration in Raamp.
Raamp uses GIT to manage our code, meaning we can track, modify, and constantly adapt to learn from our past. It also means that all of our developers can work on different tasks without conflicting with others’ work.
The above are real pull requests from a couple of developers. The great thing about operating under GIT is that developers can always be active, they don’t need to stop new tasks while waiting on approval of their previous tasks. Likewise, management can review tasks based on importance rather than on completion dates. Once the code it approved it is added to a pipeline that tests the code and makes sure all projects and applications compile and pass automated testing.
Continuous Deployment in Raamp
If there is a feature or project a Raamp user needs, we can deploy resources quickly. If we find a bug or issue, we can usually get it resolved in a matter of hours not weeks because our developers can simply start a new task, work out the issue, and then submit a pull request.
Once the pull request is approved by management it triggers a complex set of tasks that deploys the apps to development and QA. Once the feature or multiple features pass QA another pull-request is started asking for the code to be merged with the Production branch. The code is approved and then Raamp and the Raamp demo site are concurrently updated.
Fast, Safe, Impressive
The developers don’t need to worry about setting up a specific computer to build and compile the Raamp applications, they just write code, test code, and impress our users. We have a dedicated development team that can write mobile apps, customize reports and automate your existing operations. We are more than just a property management software; we are partners with our users helping them not only with a great software but with custom software solutions.
As we continue to grow and innovate our users must still come first and by implementing CI/CD pipelines we are able to focus on that goal.
Do you have a project or app your company needs developed? With our expertise in #PropTech; out development team can help you develop and launch your project with confidence. Get in Touch
Will you be attending Realcomm in June? We look forward to seeing you there!
RAAMP is honored to be among the many CRE innovators who will present in Nashville at Realcomm 2019 in consideration of a “Digie” Award!
Realcomm has been presenting the Commercial Real Estate Digital Innovation “Digie” Awards since 1999. These awards recognize those who are improving the commercial, corporate, government and institutional real estate industries, which must manage an inordinate amount of information, systems and business processes to operate. This data-intensive, manual, mostly disconnected environment provides the perfect opportunity for innovation that can radically transform how we do business.
Realcomm is the leading conference focused on the topic of technology, innovation and automation for the Commercial and Corporate Real Estate and Facilities industries. This annual event brings together thousands of creative, forward-thinking, and insightful commercial and corporate real estate professionals from around the world who gather to discuss and debate how technology, automation and innovation continues to impact how we use, transact and operate real estate.
Dynamic Education Programs, Solution Provider Expo, LIVE Interviews, Tech Briefings and Tours, Networking – these are just a few of the many things that keep Commercial Real Estate, Corporate Real Estate, Institutional and Government IT, Facilities, Energy, Sustainability and HR Professionals coming back to Realcomm year after year!!
We look forward to seeing you there!
In the 2019 Deloitte Commercial Real Estate Outlook, the report had five key takeaways, one of which explored how the rapid evolution of technology and consumer preferences is redesigning commercial real estate (CRE) business models and bringing rapid change to the industry. Concurrently, the Altus CRE Innovation report of January 2019 collected similar findings.
As detailed on the Deloitte blog, there were five key takeaways:
Proptechs are increasingly popular with investors and are expanding their coverage across the real estate value chain. The Deloitte report found there is merit in CRE companies becoming knowledgeable about proptechs, since these firms are using technology to nurture new, innovative ideas that enhance operational efficiency, tenant experience, and information flow.
While commercial real estate has a reputation for being slow to adapt to changing technology, 2019 is seeing strong gains in the adaptation of technologies to recover missed revenues, gain broad efficiencies, and create seamless integrations between properties and teams. However, while many CRE firms have now invested in integrated CRE software solutions, many are still using spreadsheets for critical CRE functions which is creating more data silos.
According to Forbes and Altus group data, total investment in real estate technology was roughly $33 million in 2010. A total of $9.6 billion was invested into real estate companies in 2018. The 2018 figure was slightly less than in 2017 ($12.6 billion), with a variety of factors cited for the decrease, including a more sophisticated investor community, and the focus of $2 billion alone on WeWork.
In its broadest sense, proptech in commercial real estate is used to reduce or eliminate many of the routine CRE tasks in transactions, valuation, property management and leasing. Investor confidence is bolstered when Commercial Real Estate Property Management firms invest in technologies due to the resulting efficiencies and overall transparency achieved.
Common types of proptech include:
Adoption of proptech can be seen as challenging for some firms however: some organizations may have concerns that migration away from spreadsheets and legacy accounting programs will create disruptions in day-to-day operations.
This is a dangerously false position, and in reality, the opposite is true: inability to adopt new technologies will jeopardize the continuity of firms and companies that do not adapt. This is a business continuity matter. The key is in choosing the right platform: one that is not over-engineered and difficult to implement. We designed RAAMP specifically for these transitioning communities.
The Altus study further cites the distinct advantages operators can expect in both top-line and bottom-line gains by implementing proptech: the use of property technology removes existing information silos and takes the guesswork out of commercial real estate investing and property management.
The Time to Change is Now
A key finding of the Altus report indicated that a large majority of firms have already invested in integrated software solutions for critical CRE functions. However, 60% of executives said their firms are still utilizing spreadsheets as their primary tool for reporting, 51% for valuation and cash flow analysis and 45% for budgeting and forecasting, indicating that despite significant innovation, the industry continues to lag in certain areas.
By improving the experience of users of commercial space and accelerating the use of shared, innovative property technologies, commercial real estate firms and investors will become more profitable and provide a competitive edge against those that refuse to adapt to the changing marketplace.
Please contact us to learn more about how RAAMP’s proptech approach can seamlessly become a part of your firm’s accelerated growth.
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Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees recovery as a result of negotiated or inherited leases can create accounting challenges that cause many commercial property managers significant lost time and resources for annual reconciliation.
The basis of an accurate CAM cost calculation is the collection of all relevant invoices and charges that fall under the umbrella of common area maintenance. It is important that property managers keep track of all relevant maintenance costs that need to be added to CAM calculations.
Many managers still use only Excel to track and calculate CAM recoveries manually, with all of the associated labor requirements and human error risk. Every year, millions of dollars are left on the table as property managers accidentally overlook items or fail to recognize existing errors in their manual calculations or spreadsheets.
Using disparate, non-integrated tools such as Excel in combination with dated accounting software multiplies the risk. Compiling CAM budgets and related expenses becomes a time-consuming, tedious, and error-inherent exercise.
After year-end costs have been received and calculated, property managers then work to reconcile CAM costs using these outdated and manual approaches. As a result, many commercial property managers spend a good part – if not all – of January completing reconciliations with little time for other, more profitable work.
Many software tools available are simply too cumbersome to fit the need; on-boarding can take weeks if not months, and the transfer of data alone can be a daunting task.
Using the CAM Checklist above with power of the RAAMP – Real Estate Accounting and Asset Management Platform — cuts the time to abstract and reconcile by an average of fifty percent for initial migration. This then supports instantaneous, real-time reconciliation throughout the year.
RAAMP’s software solution increases productivity between management teams, reduces the risk of missed revenue, and eliminates the need for multiple software and file management systems within a company.
To learn more about best practices in CAM reconciliation, contact us for a no-fee demonstration of the power of RAAMP.
As adoption of the RAAMP platform grows within the Commercial Real Estate market, we thought the timing was great for a short insight interview with Founder and Chief Architect of RAAMP, Landy Randolph
I: Why did you develop RAAMP? What were the main problems you were trying to solve for the CRE industry?
LR: I developed RAAMP to deliver more accurate rent rolls, but more important, to ease the pain of abstracting a complex lease into common language. Accounting teams and Property Management teams must share data to ensure internal and external obligations are met. It could be something as simple as who is responsible for the maintenance of a parking lot, or if sales are being reported for percentage rents — a type of rent based on the gross income of the tenant rather than a fixed amount. If that revenue is not reported accurately or documented appropriately, that communication gap can be responsible for millions of dollars of lost revenue annually. Missed escalation dates and inaccurate excel spreadsheet formulas can amount to significant financial losses.
I: How was RAAMP funded? ‘
LR: Originally, a private asset manager came to us and requested we create a more sophisticated pro forma. I wrote a plug-in to Excel, and that worked so well that we started to explore how we could take it to the next level. Ultimately, we created a cloud-based application to offer the service more broadly, bootstrapped by our original client. We built RAAMP recognizing that the industry lacked a user-friendly platform that had an integrated accounting solution, a CRM system, and document management. We’ve been fortunate to receive tremendous, positive feedback
I: Have you learned anything along the way from your customers that surprised you?
LR: We learn from our customers every day. Specifically, we learned that RAAMP is an invaluable tool during the due diligence phase of an acquisition. As an example, property valuation by banks and brokers considers all current rents, regardless of when they expire. With RAAMP, the platform allows the user to see the current net operating income (NOI), plus the potential NOI related to vacancies, and at-risk NOI based upon lease expirations.
I: What is your favorite feature of RAAMP?
LR: I’ll limit it to two. The file management system in RAAMP is so integrated into the platform that you can easily find any file within a few clicks. The way we allow for customization but still enforce best practices and folder structure gives our customers confidence knowing they can easily get to a file exactly when they need it. My other favorite is the variant rent feature: many times, in leases, you don’t know what the rent will be for a given escalation or option period. Sometimes, rent is simply based on the Fair Market Value, but at other times, pricing indexes or variable rates like Prime are applied. RAAMP computes the rent for you — taking into account the various indexes — and even gives you an easy-to-read explanation for how the rent was computed. This saves the time it takes to search out the indexes and compute them, and the time to relay that information to the tenant. We do it all for you.
I: What’s next for RAAMP?
LR: Our next integration will be a Property Management maintenance module. Property Managers and tenants will love this. For the Property Management professional, we sincerely want to reduce the administrative effort required to do their jobs while making best practices accessible. Plus, we have worked exceptionally hard to make the platform easy to use. We haven’t over-engineered which can lead to a break from industry standards.
Founded in 2015, RAAMP combines robust, industry-compliant Accounting tools, Lease Management, CRM and Document storage in a team-shared environment. Designed to replace disparate spreadsheets and cumbersome legacy accounting software, RAAMP was developed as an internal tool for private asset management. RAAMP replaces over-engineered, overly complex industry solutions with a simple, elegant platform.
RAAMP’s software solution increases productivity between management teams, reduces the risk of missed revenue, and eliminates the need for multiple software and file management systems within a company. RAAMP solutions currently support millions of square feet of managed space for the commercial property management industry. Contact us to Learn More