Darwin Didn’t Do His Homework | National Apartment Association

Darwin Didn’t Do His Homework

Sometimes I wonder just how much mankind has actually evolved. 

Take men, for example. Thirty-thousand years ago, Neanderthal dudes were beating large pieces of meat against cave walls, grunting commands to their lady friends and sharpening tools against their thick skulls.

I don’t know if you’ve looked around lately, but today’s male species isn’t doing much better. Last week I saw a guy trying to open a beer bottle with his back teeth. “Make me a sandwich” is grunted nightly in many a backward home. Thick skulls prevent boyfriends from listening when you tell them the ski trip is Saturday through Monday and they take off of work on Friday instead—hypothetically speaking.

Enlighten us, Darwin.

Evolution, I suppose, is a slow and steady process. That certainly has been the case for the evolution of property management software. 

In 1985, the first DOS-based property management program was released—a simple non-graphical, command-driven application hosted on the earliest widely adopted operating system for personal computers. Data sharing and reporting was a challenge. Companies would have to ship a floppy disk, or even the entire hard drive, to retrieve information from another computer; reports were cranked out on dot-matrix printers and shipped to corporate.

No doubt grunting and bashing of thick skulls against computers was involved.

It was in the mid-90s that Windows-based software began to hit the multifamily industry. Windows-based programs had familiar commands and formats, and allowed users across different locations to access and exchange information by dialing in to a central server each night. No need to communicate by carving messages on a rock.

However, poor architecture resulted in spotty performance—it wasn’t uncommon for data to simply disappear. 

When PM software made the transition to online platforms shortly after the turn of the millennium, it offered a far greater capacity to securely share and access property records and information with added convenience—increasing efficiency and boosting the bottom line.  

However, the market has already begun to ask more of their technology and is growing increasingly desperate for a new era of innovation.  

As a result, many are turning to Platform as a Service (PaaS) models to provide long-term IT infrastructure for an ever-evolving technology landscape. PaaS is a complete, shared platform that supports an infrastructure of existing applications, as well as the development of new applications via an open API; bringing together a potentially limitless array of services in one place.

Still, there is a long way to go. 

Isn’t that right, ladies?

For more on the evolution—and future—of property management software, check out “Software’s Sticky Situation” in the March Technology Supplement of units Magazine.