Software solutions for strata managers
Identifying the ideal management software is always a challenge. The right decision begins by first identifying the precise needs and goals forevery point of interaction with your clients.
The most important factor is to consider what features will make your business run efficiently so you can deliver on the expectations of your clients. Other criteria to consider are:
- Functionality - ensure the software addresses your process, management and reporting needs.
- Total cost of ownership – calculate whether the total cost of the license or subscription fee, training, ongoing support, and any additional modules, customisation or third party software in addition to the core program (e.g. document management) is within your budget.
- Cost savings – consider what cost savings the software may provide. For example it may enable your clients to more easily self service from an online portal, or it may reduce staff overheads or other costs in the business.
- Usability – it may require additional training or may be intuitive and simple to use.
- Data conversion – think about how your existing data can be transferred across to the new system.
- Compatibility – does it link seamlessly with your other office productivity and database applications?
- Reliability – check out the reputation of the program, talk to customers and see if they are satisfied with the software and the supplier.
- Supportability – what support is offered?
To help you decide what software might be right for you, Strata Community Australia spoke to three software solutions companies to find out what they offer:
StrataMax has always been at the forefront of software development with one of its primary goals aimed at increasing ease of use and efficiency.
"We are constantly introducing innovative 'industry first' features that revolutionise and streamline the complex process of managing and maintaining strata buildings. Automating repetitive tasks that chew up manpower is just one more benefit," Daniel Borin, StrataMax’s Executive Director said.
StrataMax provides a single, comprehensive integrated software solution that contains nine business tools or modules. For example, the core BCMax module is a complete Community Management system that has been continually developed and enhanced over the past 20 years. It looks after all the day-to-day needs of a strata management office.
"Its features are wide and varied, ranging from basic accounting features through to comprehensive financial reports and budgeting," Daniel said. "Plus it's incredibly robust, BCMax allows users to setup internal procedures and utilise as much or as little of the system as needed."
Other modules include the StrataMax Owners Portal which allows owners and committee members to keep up to date with their property. Each owner is issued a unique login and password and can access information pertaining to their lot. The StrataMax Invoice Hub module allows committee members to approve invoices online, anytime or anywhere.
Strataware provided by Mystrata.com
Mystrata.com CEO David Bugden says his software – Strataware – helps managers, property owners and residents communicate, collaborate and interact in innovative ways.
"Strataware is a powerful online community management and accounting system," David said. "Covering all aspects of community management from statutory record keeping, accounting, bank interfaces and electronic reconciliations, e-mailing and full document management, Strataware is an end-to-end solution for a professional management business."
The software is delivered using state-of-the-art cloud technology, which means Mystrata.com host, maintain, back-up, upgrade and support one version of Strataware. This technology model significantly lowers the total cost of IT for Mystrata.com's clients.
The company's 'MyCommunity' is a web portal system linked to Strataware. This product enables committee members, owners and residents to communicate and share information and to “self-service” the administration of their home or investment.
Other products and services provided by Mystrata.com include an electronic payment gateway and bespoke web portal sites for individual buildings or real estate communities.
According to the Rockend website, the providers of STRATA Master software solutions its product is scalable to any business size with advanced features designed by industry professionals. The software is regularly upgraded to keep up-to-date with the changing requirements of customers and the industry.
It lists 39 functions of STRATA Master ranging from levy processing, bulk BPay, GST reporting, web access for owners and executive committees, integration with Microsoft products and more.
What's now, what's next
Strata management software is increasingly building in more social networking functionality. At the end of the day, it's all about building, maintaining, and strengthening communities.
And that begins by creating effective and trusted connections. The next phase of strata management client web portals will be the integration of more online systems, such as energy monitoring, and meeting tools.
What's certain is that sophisticated strata management systems will further liberate managers from more onerous tasks so they can concentrate on the more rewarding aspects of their role, including counseling, mentoring, and problem solving. The future of strata management has never looked brighter.
However, those managers whose business plan incorporates a clearly defined and continued online strategy will be optimally placed to make the most of the great opportunities ahead.
Case Study: Creating portals
Determined to streamline its client communications, a Brisbane-based strata management company chose to develop its own customised web-based community portal system for each of the buildings they manage.
Called 'Collaborate', typically of such systems it provides an easy way for owners and committees to stay in touch, express opinions on issues, and upload and download documents.
While all owners have access, different privilege levels are assigned to committee members such that their communications can remain "committee confidential" if they wish. One of the system’s benefits is that all comments by contributors are grouped with the relevant topic, so easy historical reference is possible.
Subscribers to the system can elect to receive an 'alert' e-mail whenever a new topic or comment has been added. The company has found that enhancing community dialogue through these portals has significantly eased the email flow back to their strata managers, so enabling greater time and office efficiencies.
This article first appeared in Strata Community Australia's member magazine Inside Strata.