Take your time. Be patient. Do your due diligence. Practice good communication. And be willing to increase your budgets. When it comes to technology, these are the best pieces of advice to absorb as you strive for success. But the most important point that the panelists agreed upon: Multifamily firms are not technology companies, and it's important to understand that as your companies grow.

Moderated by Dan Haefner, CIO of Lane Co., the technology panel offered practical suggestions to the audience on how to make technology work at any multifamily firm. The panelists?Kent Barner, vice president and CIO of BehringerHarvard; Woody Stone, director of business applications at JPI; and Kristy Simonette, vice president of business services at Camden Property Trust?cited a number of software solutions that have helped them grow their companies. Stone said that JPI is looking at Microsoft SharePoint as a means for document management. Simonette referenced Hyperion as their key business intelligence tool.

One of the key strategies suggested by Barner was to ensure that each department has a disaster recovery plan, especially in today's world where business is conducted 24 hours a day. "Disaster recovery is a discipline that evolves as you implement new technologies into your infrastructure," he said. "You have to ask yourself, 'What's changed that we need to incorporate into our recovery and back-up plan?'"

Finally, be willing to adapt. "We face investment challenges everyday," Simonette said. "You need to have the discipline to accept feedback and be willing to reevaluate every decision you make, even if it's the day after you implemented it. There is constant improvement that needs to happen."