Young community revitalization organizations have to make decisions in the early months of their creation that will influence their chances for successful outcomes for years. Given all the demands for their attention, it is not surprising that property data management is sometimes further down the priority list than say, hiring new staff, engaging in community outreach, or developing financial and other capacities.
The South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority (SSLBDA) is Illinois’ first land bank. It recently came out of an organizational reset with new leadership and staff. The Southland Development Authority, itself a relatively new organization, is providing program management and oversight. To set SSLBA up for future success, staff prioritized adopting software to support their property data and business process management needs. They chose ePropertyPlus, the software of choice from land banks across the U.S.
SSLBDA’s situation is not unique among the ePropertyPlus community of practice. We have many subscriber partners working with limited resources and a small staff to tackle complex property challenges. We do our best to make adopting ePropertyPlus as painless as possible, both in terms of the purchasing process and price, but more importantly, in helping organizations justify their decision.
You might ask yourself why organizations with such limited resources choose to invest in ePropertyPlus as their property data management software? The short answer is because not establishing good property data systems and processes at the start can lead to systemic data management shortcomings in the future. Habits once acquired are harder to shake, and they often catch up to you. The complete answer to that question is, of course, much more complex. We highlight three major benefits of investing in the right system for emerging organizations:
Starting an organization like a land bank means assembling many moving parts and trying to get all of those parts to work in sync. The executive director’s job often feels like drinking from a fire hose. For the program staff, the chaos and uncertainty of starting an entirely new organization from the ground up can be exciting, but only to a point.
SSLBDA is not a new organization, but has recently come out of a reorganization. One priority for the new team was to address the property data management shortcomings that handicapped the previous regime. Because ePropertyPlus comes pre-assembled and is easy to launch, it offered a degree of comfort for their leaders and staff. It’s a tried-and-true system used by peer organizations, so the investment is a decision that is easy to justify to stakeholders.
The ePropertyPlus team uses a hands-on and highly collaborative implementation process where the new subscribers practice collaboration, decision-making, and learning on a common project. All of this can be hugely beneficial for a budding organization.
Organizations like SSLBDA work in the public space. They are responsible for and to multiple groups of stakeholders – staff, boards of directors, funders, program partners, clients, news media, community residents, government entities, and the general public. The decision to adopt a property software such as ePropertyPlus signals to stakeholders that they are putting systems in place, investing in data tracking and reporting, and supporting their staff with the best tools available.
New organizations in particular have a limited window of opportunity to demonstrate progress and earn confidence. Whether it is a few months or a bit longer, the window will eventually close. Over time, stakeholders come to appreciate the operational efficiency, transparency, and accountability offered by ePropertyPlus. That early investment can pay off in the form of more responsibility, bigger budgets, and more opportunities to impact community problems.
As a technology partner, we are committed to customer success and following a community of practice approach. Our team will continue working with SSLBDA over the coming weeks and months to support their long-term success. This also means we will help connect them to other ePropertyPlus subscriber partners working on similar property challenges to get peer support.
Community revitalization organizations face immense pressure to produce results quickly. It’s understandable why their leaders might overlook data and software, especially when confronted with other issues and problems. However, as they begin to acquire property and deal with clients, create reports, deal with press inquiries, and just try to keep up, they realize setting up operations with Excel as their data management solution was maybe not the best decision.
We get it. Resources are scarce, demands are high, and no one can see over the horizon. But we’ve worked with enough organizations to straighten out their data, align their processes, and launch them on to success to say with conviction that we believe adopting ePropertyPlus will ultimately become a force multiplier for your organization.
With a decade of experience supporting land banks and local governments, we regularly encounter organizations struggling with poor legacy decisions and mismatched legacy software. It’s common to hear, “We wish we had done this much sooner.”
If your organization is struggling with its property data management or current business processes, we should talk. We can help. See the product demo for yourself!