Integration vs. Interface: 5 Factors Operators Need to Consider


The rapid advancements of technology in the multifamily industry demand decision makers to develop a working knowledge of their capabilities. In order to improve operations while streamlining workflow, operators need to deploy technology solutions that seamlessly work as one. That’s where understanding whether or not the proptech solutions are interfacing or completely integrated becomes essential—the difference can make a huge impact on a team’s efficiency and daily processes.

Why Integrate, Not Just Interface?

An interface—also known as an information bridge—is interconnection between products where systems communicate under limited capacity. Data is maintained in multiple locations and requires some form of manual administration. The relationship doesn’t allow data to sync in real-time, which leads to inconsistencies and inaccuracies.

Unlike an interface, software integration combines products to function as a single source solution. Operating from the same database instead of passing information across a shared boundary, integrated products combine data, reporting and workflow across a single platform to provide a unified user experience. Integration allows all system components to seamlessly connect and work together; thus improving capabilities through automation and accelerating workflow performance.

5 Essential Questions to Ask When Shopping for Proptech Solutions

At the rate the multifamily industry is modernizing, most operators are looking for a system built from components that act and perform as one. A firm grasp of what a proptech solution can and can’t do is therefore vital before deployment.

Below are the five essential questions multifamily operations should ask potential supplier partners to reveal a product’s true capabilities:

  1. Is the product compatible with the property management system? To avoid tech silos, solutions must include two-way communication with property management systems (PMS) and other best-in-breed tools. The impact of proptech is optimized when access and controls are centralized.
  2. How does the product fit into the existing workflow? A fully integrated system will seamlessly expand the capabilities of the existing workflow, reducing the amount of required training and support. An interfaced product may function completely differently than native software, requiring the user to switch back and forth between applications or to get product-specific training.
  3. What steps are required to synchronize and exchange data? An integrated platform will automatically update across the system in real-time with a single data entry, whereas a software interface will require either periodic updates in multiple locations, or regularly scheduled synchronization.
  4. Is mapping maintenance required? While truly integrated proptech shares codes with existing applications, interfacing products may need to be mapped in order to enable syncing and transfer data, and those mapping directories need to be continually monitored, maintained, and updated.
  5. Is the solution scalable? Integrated products automatically scale alongside the property or portfolio, unlike interface-based proptech which typically needs to be manually updated on both sides of the information bridge as the property or company grows.

To learn more about the important differences between interfacing and integrating products as well as get examples of fully integrated proptech solutions, read the full article here.

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