Interoperability Through an Integrated Property Management System

Featured Contributor: Amanda Watkins

We’ve all heard the saying: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” This turn of phrase is usually preceded by a feeling of disappointment; usually someone failing to complete a task the “right” way. Here’s a wild idea: what if doing it “right” was no longer a concept you had to worry about? What if the emphasis was shifted from an individual’s, or an individual organization’s “right way,” and placed on the best practices for your industry? That is the concept behind effective property management. Implementing a property management software platform allows organizations to align themselves along one, mutually agreed upon standard – and this is the first step towards inter-agency cooperation.

Interoperability is a troubling concept to implement simply because so many property managers don’t understand what the principle means. Everything you need to know about interoperability can be learned in Kindergarten: namely, everyone needs to share. Okay, maybe that’s an oversimplification – but you get the basic idea. Interoperability for emergency management organizations means the ability to share data and resources across agency and jurisdictional boundaries.

Emergency management organizations must share resources across jurisdictional boundaries for a variety of reasons. The first, and most obvious, is in support of mission critical tasks. In the event of an emergency, networking with other agencies to determine how to best respond to a disaster scenario is vital. However, this type of rapid response can only be effective if each organization knows the condition of their asset inventory.

Total asset visibility, or the ability to leverage accurate asset data to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses, is developed through implementing an asset management. Interoperability can be effective only when total asset visibility has been established across the network of agencies. A system of integrated organizations can better identify a surplus of assets in one agency to transfer those resources to other agencies that are lacking that resource.

This gets to the second reason why organizations need to share resources across jurisdictions: grant awards. One of the most important responsibilities of a property manager is the request for and allocation of federal operating grants. A centralized asset management system ensures that resource sharing, a key competency required for grant allocations under the new federal grant consolidation model, is a smooth process. Proving you have an integrated workflow with other emergency management agencies will demonstrate your need and compliance for federal funding.

An effective property management software platform should be flexible, easily adapting to your organizational workflow.  What’s more such a software platform should provide property managers with the tools and features designed not only to be practically effective but extend beyond everyday use and educate users.  With an asset management solution that produces a single silo of information, property managers have greater control of the asset management process. Property managers, in conjunction with partners and end-users, gather and store vital asset data in a centralized database. This knowledge alone distributes the burden of property management equally amongst all involved while also encouraging interoperability between organizations. It’s a domino effect of relief just waiting to be set up.

What’s more, the integrated network of interoperable organizations can only be advanced by improving internal asset management workflows. In other words the only way for emergency management agencies to remain effective, and thus eligible to receive federal funding, is to demonstrate their ability to integrate workflows with other organizations. Accordingly, property management software is a huge step forward towards achieving this cooperation.

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