Most of us wouldn't know what to do with ourselves if we didn't have a smartphone or tablet to help us communicate, navigate, and otherwise organize our lives. Association managers throughout the country, whether they handle urban high-rises, suburban HOAs, or some combination of the two, are no different. They have a great many responsibilities and tasks to juggle, and having smart technology to support them in the form of mobile apps has become pretty much mandatory for the modern residential property professional.
But not all 'smart' technology is as bright as it purports to be. Some apps are essential—and others are worthless, and may actually suck up time and money instead of saving it. So before management companies dive into smart technology, they need to know more about which aspects of it will be more effective for their purposes.
Some Technology Required
Chris Lincoln, community manager with At Home Real Estate Group, Inc., in Boston, sums up managers' relationship with technology this way: “If we didn’t have technology, it would be rather difficult to function,” he says.
Since management teams have so much data that needs to be managed, it’s gotten to the point where they can’t compete—or function, even—without some sort of a technical data plan, agrees John More of Asterix Software Inc., based in Hollywood, Florida. His company designs software database systems for both management companies, as well as condo associations and homeowners associations. “It’s the same reason why accountants got rid of green sheets,” More says.
Association management software allows management companies to do everything from tracking fee payments, to using GPS to find their buildings quickly, to assessing prospective sub-tenants. CAFM, CAD, financial and energy management systems have also all contributed to helping management companies automate their services, thereby saving on labor and operational costs. Technology gives management companies the ability to transfer data instantaneously between offices and banks and to scan, email and digitally sign all the documents needed for contracts and for work orders.