The apartment sector has embraced technology in virtually all aspects of their operations. They use it to recruit and retain both residents and employees. They use it to improve their ability to serve their existing residents. And they use it to streamline their operations and reduce costs.
In late 2008, NMHC conducted the first apartment-specific Information Technology Investment Benchmarking Survey. The goal was to provide a benchmark of how much money and how much staff time apartment firms are investing in Information Technology (IT).
As technology becomes a core part of the apartment industry's business model, this information is becoming crucial. This report supplements that 2008 survey with results from a survey conducted in late 2009 and early 2010.
Respondents spent 0.95 percent of gross revenue on Information Technology in 2009, up from 0.7 percent in 2008. (These figures do not include telecommunications services offered at the property level.)
Spending on discretionary projects fell to 14.3 percent of apartment firms’ IT budgets, down from 19 percent in 2008. Spending on consultants decreased even more, dropping from 20 percent of IT budgets in 2008 to 6.8 percent in 2009. However, outsourcing spending nearly doubled from 12.6 percent in 2008 to 23.63 percent in 2009.
Smaller firms (those with fewer than 200 employees) are more likely to outsource their Information Technology projects. These smaller firms spend an average of 42.43 percent of their technology budgets on third-party IT outsourcing, compared to less than one percent spent by larger firms (those with over 1,000 employees).
There are significantly fewer IT staff supporting other apartment firm employees in 2009 compared to 2008. IT staffing has decreased from one IT staff person for every 110 employees to one IT staff person for every 162 employees; a 47 percent increase in the number of employees each IT staffer must handle.
The data also show a significant decrease in the number of Help Desk staff. In 2009, there was one Help Desk staffer for every 282 employees. In 2008, on average, firms provided one IT Help Desk staff person for every 172 employees.