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Familiarity is a source of comfort, especially when it comes to technology. But at some point, the only option is to upgrade, explains, Fritz Schindelbeck, vice president of professional services at Yardi Systems, a Santa Barbara, CA-based company that designs, develops and supports integrated asset and property management software.

“Industry-wide, more and more real estate data is managed using software, and the system that has been your pal for all those years can no longer handle all the new tracking, reporting, and transparency requirements that your business demands,” Schindelbeck says.

“Your bottom line is starting to suffer for it. What’s more, your competitors are already sizing up cutting-edge solutions. Many have upgraded. Sticking with your system would be like driving a go-cart in NASCAR, and that’s too high a price to pay for loyalty.”

The challenge is finding the right upgrade package that minimizes risk, maximizes the firm’s competitive edge and meets the needs of both the company and its clients. “A new suite can help you maximize efficiencies and accuracy, streamline workflow, mitigate risk, create transparency for users and investors, improve communications among stakeholders, and deliver enterprise-wide solutions,” Schindelbeck says.

To make the upgrade smooth, profitable and trauma-free, however, it’s important to do some homework. Here are Schindelbeck’s eight rules for assessing new software:

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