If there’s one thing we know, it’s that work can always be made easier. “Work smarter, not harder,” and all that jazz. But working harder is how the CAM industry has always done things, and breaking out of that frame of mind can be difficult. Another adage for you: “why fix what isn’t broken?”
Because “not broken” isn’t good enough anymore.
Industry-Specific Software Helps Alleviate a Variety of Headaches
You can always find a way to make something work--you're innovative like that! Manual information tracking is possible, yes. And generic methodologies can help you carry out a task or two that you need done. But eventually, it becomes clear that non-specific software doesn't actually support your needs: it barely holds them up, and leaves you doing all of the legwork. That's not the point of a solution.
Spreadsheets are the Worst, Aren't They?
A recent survey from SoftwareAdvice shows that roughly 51% of CAM software buyers were using generic manual processes (like spreadsheets) to handle property details before they deciding to make the switch. It’s true—spreadsheets can technically track information about your community. Much like soup can technically be eaten with a fork. But is it efficient?
Think about a home in your community that always has a lot going on—the most violations, the most late payments, the most renters in a given time period, just the most. Now imagine tracking all of those details on that property...in a spreadsheet. All of those individual changes being documented in a cluttered spreadsheet, maybe in a template that you had to jerry-rig yourself just so that it holds all of the information you want in a single screen. How many hours do you think that would take? One? Two? Ten? More than that, how much does that time cost your business, hours to dollars?
And that's just a single spreadsheet. How many do you have per community? A dozen? And how many communities do you have? Another dozen? With those numbers that's 144 spreadsheets for you and your team to handle. So that's not just hours you're losing now, that's people as well. Because I don't know about you, but I've gotten lost in my three-sheet workbooks before. 144 spreadsheets for one person to track? No way.
One of the biggest advantages of industry-specific software is the freedom you get by breaking away from spreadsheets. Spreadsheets do the job, but they make it so much more of a production than it needs to be. The unnecessary steps, manual updates, and overall lack of functionality are a direct result of using generic methodology.
When Manual Data Tracking Fails, it Fails Hard
21% of those surveyed cited improved data tracking as the biggest motivator when considering switching to industry-specific software.
When’s the last time spreadsheet information didn’t quite track? Maybe the numbers or dates were a little off, or an owner name changed but someone forgot to update the document. How long did that mistake take to correct? Another hour? Another ten? And if you're anything like me, finding a single mistake brings on serious paranoia, and you're forced to spend countless panicked hours poring over everything you've touched in the last six months to make sure other mistakes weren't made. Best case scenario, you've wasted a day looking for mistakes that aren't there. Worst case scenario, you find more mistakes and have to spend more time correcting them.
It's not broken, but it's not the best it could be.
Let Automation Handle the Workload For You
We're human, and being human means sometimes we make mistakes. Which explains why 20% of those surveyed were searching for a solution that could automate time-consuming daily tasks.
If you've been following our blog recently, you know what an advocate I am for automation, and why I believe the robot apocalypse is inevitable, and beatable. Automation isn't always about replacing people with robots, it's about taking tedious, unnecessarily repetitive tasks, and making sure they're executed when you want and how you want every time. Staying with a manual solution means less time for important tasks, and more time spent doing the same thing you did yesterday, and the day before that, and the week before that, until the end of time...or until you change your approach.
On-Premise Information Can't Compete with Unrestricted Access
The survey also showed that 97% of buyers of industry-specific software were seeking a cloud-based solution. And who can blame them?
Imagine if every time you wanted to make a phone call, you had to break out a rolodex. It isn't an awful way to keep your contacts in order; it does the job. But it restricts you to your office unless you want to lug around all of your information wherever you go. When time is of the essence, as it always is when that time is paid for, spreadsheets aren't a viable mobile option.
All of these headaches are a direct result of using generic tracking methodologies for a very specific need. We're not going to tell you that they don't work, because at the end of the day, they technically do. They just do so in a way that makes your life unnecessarily challenging. Give yourself a break—an industry-specific solution speaks to so many pain points in today's CAM industry, it's worth it to poke around and see what it can do for you.