I was re-watching Mad Men on Netflix the other night and looking at the portrayal of a 1960s office, with nothing more high-tech than typewriters and phones, I thought to myself, how did anyone get anything done back then? Late in the first season Sterling Cooper did get an Optimus Prime sized copy machine, but no computers, database, internet, software, API’s, etc. in sight. I probably shouldn’t judge productivity in the past while sitting on the couch watching hours of TV, but the thought occurred to me in this Netflix binge that 50 years later, a lot of offices might still be stuck in the past. Since Turkey Day is near, let’s consider how some tech trends fight what “gobbles” up our time at work:
You need a database of lots/units for your associations, homeowner accounts, activities and items you track for accounts, and vendors you contract for maintenance issues. A database is not a series of spreadsheets and Word docs, that approach isn’t comprehensive enough and won’t cut it anymore. You need a software application that can serve as a central repository for all account, association, and vendor data. This is huge for productivity because you can keep all of your team members focused in the same space to add, edit, and look up information. Centralizing into one database also helps prevent conflicting copies of documents prevents from outdated information circulating.
Your centralized database should be in the cloud, period.You can save a ton of money not buying and maintaining the hardware to house your database. Think about how much time, effort, and possibly business could be lost if a disaster takes out your office server and you haven’t kept up with backups. Even with a full backup, your system will be down and inaccessible for hours, if not days. Without backups, you might not be able to rebuild the database fully, which will obviously impact operations, and could have legal ramifications. Loss of data should be considered a cardinal sin in the Information Age. A cloud-based system lives on remote servers, improving your prospects of security and recovery in the event of disaster.
A centralized database living in a cloud-based application standardizes how your team interacts with, stores, and shares information. With this online setup, you can streamline many of your processes. Architectural applications from homeowners can follow a standard path of online submission and review, covenant violations can escalate through a standard workflow of letters and fines, and a standard RFP process can help vet vendors and award jobs.
Mobility is one of the key benefits of a cloud-based setup and one of the key requirements to be productive in today’s post-Mad Men world (where things actually have to get done). Your team needs to be able to access information to do their work from home and when out in the field.How much easier is a sales pitch to a potential client if you can log in to your platform to show off reporting and other features you offer? Your board members need to access reports, reference community documents, and look up homeowner information online, from their phones, tablets, or home computers. Your associations’ homeowners need mobile access to their accounts and want online payment options.