Case Study: MelbOC
MelbOC, a prominent entity in the owners corporation management industry, boasts a dedicated team comprising ten members, among whom are two Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). At the helm of this organisation is Simon Saint-John, the founder and director, who brings over three decades of experience in the real estate sector. Simon's extensive expertise has helped carve a niche, servicing large buildings and those with systemic issues requiring major works such as combustible cladding and systemic leaking, with an average project management value of $2 million. They currently have more than$1 Billion dollars in property under management.
MelbOC recently embarked on a transformative journey by migrating from Strata Master, a platform developed by Rockend, to Urbanise Strata. This transition, which went live in April 2023, was driven by the need to address critical challenges, continue their impressive growth path, and - most importantly - to ensure they were delivering not only the best possible service to their clients, but better service than any other provider.
This business case sheds light on MelbOC's business objectives, experiences, and achievements throughout this transition, emphasising the critical role of Urbanise in facilitating growth and operational efficiency.
In their pursuit of sustainable growth and the best level of service in the industry, MelbOC required a strategic shift in its software platform to overcome some operational challenges and drive efficiency.
Among the foremost issues was the difficulty of searching for documents in their existing system, leading to frustration among their team members.
The clunkiness of their owner’s portal was another hindrance to growth. The portal's lack of user-friendliness hindered effective communication and interaction between the manager and property owners. This not only created inefficiencies but also eroded the overall user experience.
In a world where visual appeal and modernity matter, MelbOC recognised the need for a fresh approach to engage clients. Their previous software lacked the visual salesmanship tools necessary to present information attractively and persuasively. This deficit impacted their ability to engage and retain clients effectively.
Moreover, the demand for mobile solutions was gaining prominence. Clients increasingly expect the convenience of mobile apps for their interactions. This shift in client expectations prompted MelbOC to explore the integration of a mobile app for client engagement. Meeting this demand was critical to staying competitive and relevant in the industry.
The primary objective for MelbOC was to find a robust platform that could enhance its operations, customer satisfaction, and overall brand image to achieve its ambitious growth goals of $5 Billion in property being managed within the next three years while maintaining the industry’s highest level of customer satisfaction.
First, they aimed to create efficiencies and automation in their operations. This objective was pivotal as it laid the foundation for their business growth. By streamlining their operations, they intended to optimise their processes, reduce manual efforts, and save valuable time and resources. Efficiency enhancements enable them to focus on scaling their business while maintaining high customer service standards.
Another key objective was to significantly reduce debt recovery timelines, making the process more efficient and less time-consuming. This objective was critical for improving financial operations for their clients and ensuring timely payments from individual lot owners. Debt recovery for clients had been a common pain point, and the team was determined to find a solution to expedite this process.
The owners' portal was also identified as an area for improvement. MelbOC wanted a user-friendly and intuitive platform that would deliver a seamless experience for owners. An improved owners' portal increased efficiency and improved client engagement. It was also a means of modernising their brand and aligning it with contemporary standards, emphasising professionalism and user-centric service.
Furthermore, the adoption of a modern and innovative solution was not only about functionality but also about perception. They understood that their software platform was a window through which clients and prospects viewed their brand.
Urbanise emerged as the solution for MelbOC, primarily due to its advanced community owners portal and consequential levy and debt recovery automation. The software's StrataVote feature, designed for efficient meeting and AGM management, also stood out as a valuable asset. With these capabilities, MelbOC was well-equipped to foster growth and streamline their operations.
Key Outcomes and Impressive Growth
Since migrating to the Urbanise platform in April 2023, MelbOC has achieved remarkable results that underscore the positive impact of this transition. Notably, the total number of lots under their management has surged, representing an impressive 28% growth. In addition, the number of plans within their portfolio has expanded, growing by 26%.
These outcomes affirm the power of Urbanise in driving significant growth and expansion, and they speak volumes about the platform's ability to transform operations and enhance efficiency. MelbOC's successful journey with Urbanise is a testament to the platform's role as a catalyst for progress in the strata management industry.
Levy Automation & Debt Recovery
One of the key takeaways from this transition is the remarkable efficiency gains achieved by MelbOC. Urbanise's automated levy notices and debt recovery processes have notably reduced the complexities of managing arrears. Simultaneously, the invoice processing module has allowed the accuracy of their financial accounting and budget management to be sustained in a highly scalable way.
"The capability to manage levy arrears is particularly valuable for us. The information is easily accessible and displayed on the dashboard. This data serves multiple purposes: when the arrears are reasonable, it becomes a marketing tool for attracting new business; when they aren't, it enables us to take prompt corrective actions. Currently, for 50% of our portfolio, all levies are paid in full without any arrears. To further enhance our operational efficiency, we are in the process of implementing key performance indicators (KPIs) for our staff to achieve a 98% paid-in-full rate for the remaining 50% of the portfolio." – Simon Saint-John, Managing Director
Debt recovery on behalf of clients, along with the comprehensive reporting on this aspect, has proven to be a true game-changer for MelbOC. In the world of strata management, timely collection of levies is paramount, as it directly impacts a client organisation's financial stability.
The reporting functionality has offered MelbOC a powerful tool to dissect and assess their client’s debt situation. It provides an invaluable big-picture view of their financial standing. By breaking down debt into manageable components, the software equips them with actionable insights to manage their finances proactively.
Accessing such granular data and insights regarding debt recovery ensures that MelbOC can ensure their clients operate with financial prudence, foresee potential financial challenges, and take pre-emptive measures to mitigate them.
Customer Portal as a Differentiator
The community portal provided by Urbanise emerged as a critical differentiator for MelbOC in winning new business. The user-friendly portal has streamlined communication between the OC and residents, enabling efficient submission of maintenance requests and easy access to financial information for committee members.
When MelbOC participates in tenders, the owner's portal emerges as a compelling differentiator. Knowing that many competitors either lack a portal or have one that is not fully functional, having a robust and fully functional owner’s portal has become a key distinguishing factor. This feature sets them apart and sets them apart, demonstrating their commitment to modern, efficient, transparent strata management.
Moreover, they can effectively feature the software in their tenders, giving clients a transparent view of the value they receive for their investment.
Through the client portal, Urbanise Strata has empowered our clients to independently access a wealth of information that used to necessitate direct inquiries to our team. As a result, they have redirected the time previously spent on these routine requests towards a strategic initiative: strengthening their relationships with clients, reshaping their brand identity by turning clients into brand advocates.
Investment in Innovation
MelbOC's forward-thinking approach shines through in their commitment to innovation. They strategically invested in Urbanise software while maintaining their existing system. This choice underscores their dedication to both ensuring the highest quality service to clients and staying at the forefront of their industry to ensuring their brand is synonymous with modernity and innovation.
MelbOC acknowledges that many companies utilise only a fraction of a software's full potential, typically around 10%. However, they have set an ambitious goal to closely collaborate with Urbanise to unlock and harness its full capabilities. They currently use up to 50% of the software's capabilities, with plans to push even further, potentially reaching 80%.
By pushing the boundaries and maximising the software's potential, MelbOC seeks to stand out in the market. They recognise that this strategy enhances their operational efficiency and distinguishes them as an innovative and forward-looking player in the industry.
Challenges & Disruptions
The transition to a new system was not without challenges. During the migration, they encountered hurdles related to levies, budgets, and account codes. Yet, instead of letting these challenges deter them, they embraced them as opportunities to enhance their system.
One of the notable highlights of this journey was their proactive approach to training. They recognised the need for a more hands-on and tailored training experience. Working closely with Urbanise, they shifted from video training to personalised demonstrations. These sessions provided valuable insights into the platform's functionalities, offering a deep dive into its capabilities and allowing the team to ask pertinent questions. Moreover, they took the initiative to request demonstration test accounts, enabling the team to test functionality before setting up actual accounts. This hands-on training proved a game-changer, empowering MelbOC to understand the system comprehensively without fear of mistakes.
Strategic Partnership with Urbanise
Throughout this transition, MelbOC benefited from the support and responsiveness of the Urbanise team. They were impressed by the migration team's ability to address issues efficiently and communicate effectively. While some unexpected tasks emerged post-migration, MelbOC found that working with Urbanise to resolve these issues was a collaborative and constructive process.
One notable aspect that MelbOC appreciates about the Urbanise support team is their readiness to address simple, on-the-spot questions, ensuring that minor concerns are promptly resolved. For more complex inquiries, they've seen the support team escalate these to a higher-tier support level. While this occasionally resulted in a brief waiting period for responses, this tiered support structure was, in fact, a testament to the thoroughness of the support system. It ensured that all questions and concerns were addressed comprehensively, contributing to the overall effectiveness of their support experience.
In the face of challenges, MelbOC's positive outlook and drive were key factors in turning what could have been disruptions into valuable learning experiences, ultimately strengthening their partnership with Urbanise.
MelbOC views Urbanise as a strategic partner in realising its growth goals. With a strong emphasis on efficiency, customer satisfaction, and a commitment to a modern and innovative brand image, MelbOC has set itself on a trajectory of substantial growth in the OC management industry.
"Debt recovery and the robust reporting Urbanise Strata software provides is sensational. The software has given us the means to recover outstanding funds on behalf of our clients and gain a comprehensive financial health overview. In our industry, timely levy collection is pivotal; this functionality has been a game-changer. Thanks to Urbanise Strata, our approach to debt recovery is now a strategic cornerstone, ensuring our long-term financial stability and success." – Simon Saint-John, Managing Director
If you're interested in learning more about Urbanise Strata, book a demo with one of our team today.