Last modified on August 3rd, 2020
By Beth Gilbert
Is your tech ready to adapt when challenges hit? During seasonal hurricanes or power outages, or disasters like earthquakes, fires, and floods, can your tech stack – the software you use to run your business – remain strong? Or will you be scrambling to keep your operations moving by switching from in-office to online procedures during the unexpected changes? Having your business on a solid tech foundation ahead of unpredictable circumstances not only prepares your team to handle difficult events and avoid disruptions for your associations, but also makes your business more efficient in general.
More than ever, having 24/7 online access to essential business information and processes is a valuable necessity. Especially when managing community associations, activities like collecting payments, communicating with homeowners and board members, and meeting your customers’ distinct needs must continue even during difficult events.
Here are three actionable ways to prepare your tech stack for disruptions and the unexpected:
1. Leverage a Cloud-Based Software Solution
Cloud software stores your data in a secure spot and ensures it’s protected from possible hardware failures and damaged servers. When extreme weather like hurricanes, floods, or fires hit, paper documents can also be destroyed or lost. But when your data lives in the cloud, it’s out of harm’s way and available everywhere on any device from a single hub.
Leveraging the cloud also lets you scale your business while minimizing errors and building partnerships with your associations. When times are already tough, like during COVID-19, having a platform that enables you and your employees to work remotely as needed means you won’t miss a beat. And if that platform has a system of records, communication capabilities, online payments, and the ability to change procedures as needed, it becomes easier to run your business efficiently.
2. Establish Remote Work Plans
COVID-19 forced work-from-home policies upon many businesses. However, community association managers who were equipped with a plan and the capability for their team to work remotely had a much smoother transition than those who relied on pen-and-paper procedures or on-premise solutions.
When circumstances rapidly change, you need to already have software that can adapt as you make adjustments in your business. Keeping up with customer needs, especially in unexpected times of disruption, helps your associations feel cared for. If your team can continue their work remotely through the cloud-based software system, like managing maintenance issues and communication, that helps maintain high customer satisfaction. Plus, if your team needs to check in on the physical status of your associations, they can quickly connect to the cloud to send updates through the app while staying safe.
With versatile software as part of your remote plan, you can reduce stress while keeping everyone informed about changes and meetings. Having online communication tools makes it easy for board members and homeowners to communicate, reducing phone calls and voicemails, and creating more transparency for everyone.
When working remotely becomes a must, an established remote plan with software that allows your team to work any time, any place, maintains your business continuity during uncertain times while continuing to give your customers the service they expect and deserve.
3. Access & Visibility into the Same Data
Whether you’re in the office, remote, or in the field, 24/7 access into your live data keeps your business on track. You’re able to make informed decisions quickly, stay on top of issues in each association, and review requests and documents on the fly, unlike if you were filing papers in an office.
With this visibility into the same data, every employee stays in the loop with constant access to association and homeowner records. They can easily view the status of maintenance and projects, and help residents on the spot without having to wait for another staff member to respond to messages or return from being out of office.
When turbulent times mean daily changes, having a pulse on your associations’ current financial health with real-time data is non-negotiable. Tech that allows you to provide accurate, reliable reporting to your associations helps board members make critical decisions about managing their budget for anything affected by the disaster like repairs or potential community projects.
The ability to consistently check in on a single platform also maximizes your team’s efficiency, which lowers costs, boosts communication, and gives your associations extra visibility into the value your company provides.
By investing in the right technology, your data is always visible. Tasks become easier to see and complete, and because you can check in on your smartphone from anywhere, your day-to-day operations flow as if you were still in the office.
Leveraging the cloud, solidifying your remote plan, and having continual access to your data keeps disruptions at a minimum, lowers errors and costs, and propels your business forward. If you’re searching for a way to provide a solid tech foundation that prepares your business for the unpredictable, and offers your staff and associations everything they need whenever they need it, AppFolio’s all-in-one community association management software can help.
About the Author
Beth Gilbert is the Sr. Director of the Community Association market at AppFolio. Beth brings over 15 years of Product experience to AppFolio and is currently responsible for developing the vision and strategy for the Community Association market. She is passionate about building relationships with our customers to learn about new ways to partner in the success of their business.