How Strata Managers are Driving Technology Innovation
As Strata Managers and Committee Members are aware, technology has improved convenience across our lives so thoroughly that there is now an expectation that information should be easily accessible and available at all times.
This expectation exists for all levels of customer interaction whether it be Committee Members, Owners or even our Tenants and Managing Agents, across all community types including commercial buildings, holiday homes and investment properties. In response to this demand for real-time and accessible information, an online portal with self-service capabilities has reached the status of ‘expected service’ in Australia and internationally.
The age of customised individual websites managed by tech savvy Managers or Committee members has also drawn to a close. While some impressive solutions have been developed in this space, the service expectations of the market now exceed most capabilities, and let’s face it, very few of us would consider the time costs and headache involved in separate websites for each community as a good use of limited resources.
So what do we do?
We choose a Strata Management software platform that offers an integrated community portal. With the variety of solutions out there, it can be a bit bewildering to determine which will best meet the needs of Strata Managers and their clients without spending a fortune.
The norm now is for both professionally managed and self-managed communities to adopt software platforms that include an owners portal app as a standard feature. Owners, managing agents and even tenants, now expect to have access to records and statements, and to make and manage requests at any time via their mobile phone or tablet. The same expectation can be said for almost any service provider today, however most service providers are not bound by such complex legislative compliance requirements as strata managers and owners corporations.
We are seeing most independently operated community websites being phased out as they are simply too time consuming and contain too few modern services to be viable to maintain. In many cases the Strata Manager or Committee member that used to manage the website has moved on and there is not enough technical expertise or time to maintain the bespoke solution. In some dramatic instances, some might struggle to locate the identification or passwords after the old site administrator has left. With a number of limitations, the benefits of stand-alone websites are outweighed by the cost and strain on resources.
The new wave of strata management software platforms, and many of the older platforms, have upgraded their offerings to include owner portals to some degree. For a Strata Manager and their Committees, this means that the inclusion of a mobile App and 24/7 self-service options is a must.
How can an app be used to benefit your community?
The instant benefit of providing a mobile app is improved customer service through self-service. Regardless of the managers availability, customer service via an App is available 24/7. An owner can check their statement of account, raise a maintenance request for a broken tap on common property, or even submit a request for permission to keep a cat to be addressed at the next committee meeting, all simply done via an app at any time of day.
To simplify communications and reduce email chains to upper management, the Urbanise Community App also offers great communication tools including the ability to distribute a digital community notice to all owners and tenants, share invoices with the committee for review and approval, and draft meeting agendas before circulating to all owners.
Urbanise’s Community App also allows treasurers to conveniently access live financial data and share reports, raw data and copies with Committee Members, Owners, and in some communities even the Tenants, to ensure that transparency is achieved in a structured and cost-effective way.
What’s next for Strata Self-Service?
The future is in integration and automation. Our current and prospective clients are always coming up with new ideas for how a community portal can improve owner experiences and provide added value for communities. There is a wave of innovation coming in this space with deeper and broader integration between platforms to community portals expected to be the main driver. Urbanise is already working with several third-party services to enhance its end-to-end strata management solution including features that streamline mailroom services and invoicing.
Integrations are becoming much more accessible with systems like Zapier making it extremely easy for a Strata Manager to connect their core platform and app with third party systems, including booking systems, task capture and management systems, without the need for complicated and expensive coding. This will allow for some exciting solutions to be set up in-house or with only minimal support by a new generation of Strata Manager.
We expect minimum service standards to increase over the coming years and that savvy Strata Managers will create impressive and unique service offerings for their communities. By enhancing modern platforms with a diverse mix of software integrations, the possibilities are truly endless. If you’d like to hear more about how self-service applications could benefit your community, reach out to the team today.
Shaun Meyrick, former head of a mid-tier Strata Management firm, now promoting Urbanise Strata as the standard of strata management software in Australia and Internationally.