Single Tenant or Multi-Tenant CRM – Which is Best for Your Real Estate Business?

What’s the difference between single-tenant and multi-tenant CRM? How do these differences impact CRM for real estate agents, brokers, and property managers?

Perhaps the most common difference between these two CRM architectures is found in the ongoing debate over their capability of cloud computing. Some real estate professionals prefer single-tenant CRM, and others view multi-tenant CRM as outdated computing. However, depending on your specific needs, both have CRM models have their advantages and disadvantages.

What’s the Difference Between Single Tenant and Multi-Tenant?

Both single tenant and multi-tenant CRM can be beneficial to a real estate professional. Essentially, the functionality of these two services is the same. When it comes to selecting one option over the other, the choice comes down to two elements: control and isolation.

In the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model, a customer is called a tenant, such as a real estate agent, broker, or property manager. Single-tenancy CRM is an architecture in which a single instance of a software application and supporting infrastructure serves one customer, (i.e., one agent or manager).  

With single-tenancy CRM, a real estate professional purchases their copy of the software. Additionally, they can customize their software to meet the specific needs and requirements of their business needs. By contrast multi-tenancy, CRM is an architecture in which a single instance of a software application serves multiple tenants (i.e. multiple real estate agents). With multi-tenant CRM, the real estate professional manages scalability, security, and upgrades.

Benefits of Single Tenant CRM

Single tenant CRM offer users many advantages for their real estate business, to include:

- Security – while no system is ever 100% secure, single tenant environments are designed to readily allow for increased security - as each agent’s data is entirely separate from the other agents in their organization. The chance that one agent will inadvertently access another agent's information is eliminated with a single tenant CRM program.

- Reliability - generally speaking, single tenant architectures are considered more reliable because the performance of one agent's software instance is not impacted by the performance of another agent's software (as they are not linked).

- Backups – Single tenant users have more control over their backup and recovery processes because one system is backed up to an isolated section of the SaaS server.

- Seamless migration – single tenant CRM is ideal for companies who eventually strive to move into a self-hosted environment. The migrations process for a single tenancy is less complicated compared to multi-tenancy CRM.

- Environmental control - Single tenant CRM is very flexible and completely customizable for the specific needs of your company. This flexibility grants agents far more control over their upgrades and updates.

Some drawbacks of single tenant CRM systems include the extensive time and financial costs associated with implementing single tenant environment. Additionally, single tenant CRM requires more maintenance, as single tenant environments typically require frequent updates and upgrades that must be managed by the client on an individual basis. For example, if there are 100 agents using a single tenant CRM program, they would each have to be updated individually.

Benefits of Multi-Tenant CRM

There are a number of benefits to multi-tenant CRM. While these differences aren’t necessarily evident in the day-to-day application of the software they come into play in other ways, such as cost savings, performance, and reliability.

- Resource pooling – with multi-tenant CRM resources are shared by every agent. Since all of the resources are being shared within the agency, multi-tenancies operate at maximum resource usage, which makes for optimum efficiency.

- Cost-effective - resource pooling proves to be very cost-effective. When resources are shared the cost per user would be lower when compared to a single tenant environment.

- Elasticity – multi-tenant environments allow for growth and development within an organization, as users and records can be added without having to calculate which resources will need to be added, at what cost, and over what timeframe. With a single tenant environment, the agent's physical or virtual server would have to be individually provisioned with extra processor power, memory, and hard disk space to accommodate any significant growth in users and storage.

- Ease of set up and onboarding – a multi-tenant environment is extensively the same for each agent, which makes it easier for multi-tenant SaaS organizations to perfect their onboarding process and optimize it for ease of use.

- Ease of Upgrade – unlike with a single tenant environment, where all upgrades must be completed for each individual system, when multi-tenant updates are applied to the system it impacts all agents on the network. Subsequently, all system upgrades and update maintenance are handled by the SaaS company, not the individual agent. As a result, multi-tenancies generally require less maintenance over time.

Despite the many advantages to multi-tenant CRM systems, critics argue they are more vulnerable from a security standpoint (as a multi-tenant environment leaves multiple access points for potential cyber attacks).

While some multi-tenant environments are working to solidify the multi-tenant backups, many simply don’t offer the robust restoration options clients are seeking. Additionally, multi-tenant CRM offers fewer customizations, so agents have less control over the quality of their environment.

Which is Right for Your Real Estate Agency

When it comes time to decide between single tenant and multi-tenant CRM, it really boils down to the size of your agency, how much you are willing to invest, and what you are looking for in terms of long-term organizational growth and development.

Customers operating a SaaS program in a single tenant environment customarily do so for additional security. To a certain degree, a single tenant environment is less vulnerable to cyber breaches as resources are not shared. Multi-tenancy CRM is ideal for real estate professionals who want to get started with fewer hardware requirements and easier onboarding. It's also ideal for users who don’t have the internal resources needed to handle the maintenance requirements of single tenant SaaS environments.

Masterkey Real Estate Property Management Software

At Masterkey, we've integrated CRM into every component of our customisable software solutions. Whether you are an agent, broker, or developer, our software solutions provide real estate professionals with the tools they need to maximize resources to achieve increased profitability and growth.

Contact a member of our team to schedule your free demo today!

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