If you’re a landlord or property manager, wrangling telecom providers and internet service providers probably isn’t the highlight of your day. But in order to provide the most reliable, affordable and highest quality IT services to your tenants, it’s a necessary part of your role. And it’s becoming increasingly more important. As internet technologies become more critical to tenants’ business operations, how “wired” a building is becomes an even greater factor for prospective tenants considering your building. When you’re managing carriers and providers in your building, what are the key things you need to know about your building? These 4 things are critical when it comes to knowing the tech ecosystem within your building and interfacing with those dreaded providers:
Know The Players
The first step to managing the telecom and IT in your building is to get an accurate picture of what providers your building is currently offering. Many buildings will have several types of providers available for service in their building; for example telecom companies, competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), cable companies, and fiber providers.
If you want to bring in more providers, many smaller fiber providers are willing to build to your building if there are tenants willing to sign a contract with those providers. Why is having multiple providers so important? If you only have one provider in the building, that essentially means that that provider has a monopoly over your tenants, which gives the provider zero incentive to offer affordable prices or even quality service. This scenario is an enormous disadvantage to your building when it comes to attracting tech tenants. Having a smaller fiber provider in the building can reduce your tenant’s telecom costs by thousands of dollars a month. That’s because more providers means more options for your tenants, as well as more competition in your building in terms of price and service, and your tenants will appreciate being fought over.
Know What Your Building Has To Offer
Your property management team should have a crystal clear idea of the IT ecosystem within your walls. You should know which service providers are in your building, the services they provide and the prices they are offering. For example, does your building offer copper, fiber, T1, or DSL services to tenants? Are these services available on every floor? Top tech tenants will carefully consider the IT and telecom infrastructure of your building, especially if they need to invest time and money into cabling build-outs to their floor, so having an accurate picture of your building’s providers and services is the first step to becoming a tech-friendly building. Knowing this information will make it easier for you to interface with providers and procure the best services for your tenants.
Know the Ins and Outs
A POE or ‘Point of Entry’ is the actual location where telecom provider wiring comes from the street into your building. Multiple Points of Entry and risers indicate that the internet cables are coming into your building from different points on different sides of the building - so if something goes wrong at one entry point, another point can be used as a backup. Tenants with mission-critical IT needs will require redundancy in their connectivity and having multiple points of entry into the building is one way to provide this redundancy. With multiple entry points, your building is capable of supporting your tenant’s back up connections and system critical needs.
It’s also important to know that legally, the point of entry into a building denotes a demarcation point. What’s a demarcation point? It’s something like a boundry or a border dividing the landlord’s property from the provider’s property. Technically, the wiring inside the building belongs to the landlord, and the landlord can choose to lease the wiring to the telecom providers in their building. While you should be aware of this, if you choose to charge rent to the telecom provider, the provider will likely pass the rent onto your tenants, tacking it onto their monthly telecom bill. This ends up making the services in your building more expensive and high IT costs discourage tenants that rely heavily on the internet for run their businesses.
Know Your Tenants’ Needs
In order to keep your tenants happy, find out what they want. It’s always a good idea to be in tune with your tenants, so continuously talk to them or use tenant surveys to find out their needs. Tenant surveys also a great opportunity to make sure your current tenants’ needs are being met, making them more likely to stay in your building. Getting to know your tenant's needs can also be a good opportunity to do some market research and strategize ahead. For example, if you’re looking to target a growing tenant sector, you can take the time to determine if your building meets the needs of those targeted tenants. Sectors like the TAMI (Tech, Advertising, Media and Information Technology) sector and financial services sectors are skyrocketing, and these types of tenants that require high-levels of security, always-on connectivity, and fast download and upload speeds, will also require high-end fiber-based services. Knowing what your building currently has to offer is the very first step to providing the best service to your tenants.