Not Too Late
Property Management Software

It unfortunately happens all too often to CAM executives. After months of researching, consulting, and negotiating pricing, a new property management and accounting software solution is chosen for the organization. One thinks that all is well, and the hard work is done. But suddenly that hands-on approach experienced in the sales cycle is gone, and it’s impossible to get a hold of anyone. Suddenly there are extra onboarding and implementation fees not part of the original contract. Suddenly, what was sold as a few months of work turns into over a year, and the management team is drained to the bone.

Any time an HOA organization onboards a new software, there will be moments where staff feel overwhelmed and board members feel anxious about the switch. But there’s a difference between a few hiccups along the way and major concerns that will affect the long-term relationship between you and your software provider. Bottom line: if you don’t believe you can salvage your relationship because of the troubles happening in onboarding, you need to reconsider. A software solution is the lifeblood of your organization. It’s vital to make the right decision, and it’s never too late to change your decision.

But what is the difference between a mild concern and a red flag that should make you reconsider your software choice? Here are five red flags that should never be ignored during the software onboarding and implementation process:

There is no project plan

When you start the onboarding process with a new software solution, you should be introduced to your project manager. That person needs to be your go-to contact for every milestone related to the transition. They should begin your very first meeting with a clear set of milestones and timelines, ensuring that you and your team are aligned. If you’re never introduced to a project manager, or you aren’t aware of a project plan with time-bound milestones, you should be concerned. You as the client have the right to hold your new software provider accountable for onboarding in the timeframe agreed upon during the sales cycle, and you won’t be able to do this without a formalized plan in place.

Data migration is on you

One of the biggest red flags we see relates to data migration. Moving all the homeowner data and financials over from one system to the next can be extremely challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing, and there’s potential to disrupt business and frustrate homeowners during the process. That’s why, frankly, management companies shouldn’t transfer their own data. Data professionals should be hired within the software solution’s onboarding and implementation team; these team members should know the inner workings of multiple software providers within the CAM space and should be able to support your data transfer from end-to-end. All you should have to do is help establish access to the data, answer any clarifying questions, and check for accuracy.

You have to hire staff

This is another surprising red flag that we hear. Because complicated workflows had to be built to make the system work like the way it was presented to them during the sales cycle, executives had to hire staff to support the software switch. To be clear, there is work to be done during onboarding and implementation. It’s important for management companies to review HOA operating and governing documents, and one will need to set up essential protocol such as violations and collections. If an organization is at max capacity, there are times in which extra help is necessary for setup. But that should be a temporary, short-term project – not a long-term need. If workflows prove to be too complicated to complete on a regular basis, one may find the need to make a permanent new hire. This can drastically affect the bottom line, so executives should be wary of increased workload that seems ongoing.

The implementation team isn’t experienced in property management and accounting

Another challenge we hear in the industry with respects to onboarding and implementation is when the team at the software provider isn’t well versed in the community association management industry. When configuring accounting setup and training managers on new tools, it’s vital that the software provider is employed with true experts in the field who can explain processes and procedures that work for the real-life workload of a management company. If a software provider isn’t aware of all the industry nuances, management companies may be forced to hire consultants to provide better clarity to their teams. This is added expense that often isn’t broached in the sales cycle and can deter any potential cost savings to the organization. When reviewing software solutions, one should always ask the provider about the industry experience of their onboarding, implementations, and account management team – how many come from property management, how long have they been in the business, and who can they provide as a reference to discuss training and implementation success.

There is no strategy to communicate with boards and homeowners

Finally, one of the most challenging aspects of a software transition is the communication piece to clients. Boards and homeowners can be finnicky with change, especially if a bank change is also taking place. Software providers should be aware of the challenges management companies face in the communication process and provide supportive assets. While one should not necessarily expect a hands-on public relations team to work with you during the transition, customizable marketing assets and helpful talking points should be an expectation.

There’s always a way out

You may have reviewed these red flags and realized that you can check off 100% of these with your current transition. But you may be thinking, what’s done is done. After all, you signed a contract and are bound to your decision. Luckily, that’s not the case. If you feel like your onboarding process isn’t working out as planned and want to reconsider, talk to us at CINC Systems and we can discuss your options. But if you need a bit more convincing before you give us a shout, watch this recorded webinar of our onboarding and implementations team to see how we switch management companies to our solution without any of the above red flags.

 

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