Let’s get this out of the way – I am not a poet or philosopher. But I do believe that someone needs to stand up for the pure pleasure found in something simple that works.
Something that does exactly what it is supposed to do. No more, no less. As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
So why is this an important topic for the property management industry?
Well, traditional property management software has convinced us that complicated is good, that more buttons are better and that somehow requiring an ‘expert’ to drive the machine is the way it should be.
These dials and switches are supposed to give you the assurance that there’s a lot happening and that your administrators are really busy doing really complicated stuff. But let’s be honest – technology shouldn’t be resource-heavy.
Let’s break down a few of the myths associated with effective property management software.
“Multiple steps and more buttons are better”
A recent software survey by the Standish Group showed that on average, most users of software platforms use 20% of software functionality regularly, 30% infrequently and the remaining 50% not at all. Overcomplicated functionality often results in advanced tools being avoided altogether – for fear of making a mistake or accidentally breaking something.
Having a lot of flashing lights, pivot reports and widgets is only worth it if they are also intuitive and easy to use.
“You need to be an expert to use property management software”
Just look at any recent job posting for administrative staff in property management businesses. The adverts often specify that candidates must be proficient in X, Y and Z programs regardless of their overall skillset and experience. But why should that be?
Managing financial transactions securely is not a niche set of skills. As a rent-taking property management business you’re managing money coming in and money going out. It’s not hard, just burdensome, until it’s automated – then it ought to be a cinch on both levels.
Having an intelligent platform that deals with the complexities behind the scenes according to rules you set is by far the simplest and most risk-averse solution possible. One that does all the invoicing, chasing, payment matching, trust accounting, payments and reporting so you don’t have to.
Your platform should be so simple to use that your clients can process their payments on their cell phones, anywhere and at any time – whether they are waiting to board a flight or holidaying on the other side of the world. No more hoops to jump through or lots of switches, dials and buttons to fiddle with. Just the information you need to get things done.
“Complicated reporting proves productivity”
Does it really? From speaking to our thousands of clients about their experience with traditional property management software, there’s a common theme that emerges from business owners who have administrative staff running their portfolios.
Typically, their bad-old-days experience goes something like this: “I had to wait for Susan in accounts to send me the report before I could tell you exactly how many properties I managed.”
Because let’s face it, you have not used those login details for months and you’ve already forgotten the password. The great complicated wasteland of reporting is so intimidating that you end up developing a co-dependent relationship in your organisation that only serves to remove you from the raw data and knowing exactly what is going on.
Also, your access to information can become delayed. You may only be able to identify how bad your arrears are when Susan has the time to run the report and tell you.
So next time you speak to Susan in accounts while she’s tapping away furiously on the ‘machine with the software’ and drowning in reporting requests, remember the ode to simplicity. Simple solutions are always smarter.
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