SaaS-Based Solutions Will Put You On Cloud Nine

Table of Contents

Introduction

The world today is heavily reliant on technology, so choosing the right software solution for your property management company is crucial. But with how advanced software has become, it can be difficult to determine what a solution should include. You’ll want to consider the benefits it can provide for you, your staff, and your homeowners, on top of basics like cost reduction and long-term success.

In recent years, the trend of technology has made one thing clear: cloud-based software, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), is the first box your Association Management Software provider should check off of your list. 

As a whole, SaaS-based models offer substantial benefits over traditional software that’s hosted on-premises:

24/7/365 Access

24/7/365 Access

Unlimited access to data gives users freedom and flexibility that people have come to expect from their service providers.

Scalability

Scalability

Business scalability is made easy by offering low-cost essentials like system upgrades and staff minimization.

Amplified ROI

Amplified ROI

Minimizing friction points and spend through automation and task reduction contributes to overall Return on Investment.

Additionally, a cloud-based solution designed for the CAM industry should be able to provide a couple of additional noteworthy enhancements:

Robust Accounting

Robust Accounting

CAM accounting is noticeably different from traditional accounting and needs a software solution that can accommodate those differences.

Enhanced Homeowner Communications

Enhanced Homeowner Communications

Direct communication with your homeowners about their community and account information is an invaluable tool in community management.

SaaS software solutions can seem daunting or too high-tech for your needs, but the reality is that this style of software is ideal for the property management industry, and can support all users through everything from day-to-day struggles to global catastrophe.

About the Cloud

So what is it that makes SaaS so special? What does “software-as-a-service” really mean? Simply put, SaaS technology is subscription-based access to a group of remote servers (referred to as “the cloud”) that securely store your data. This cloud access is what provides benefits like real-time up-to-date account information from anywhere in the world, or built-in disaster recovery security. Software that’s “on-premises,” or downloaded directly to your computer, simply aren’t designed to streamline efficiency in the ways a property management company needs. 

Now there is some hybrid technology that uses both on-prem software and server-based. Unfortunately, these products still have the costly ownership fees of purchasing and downloading a locally-based solution, and require the subscription fees of a SaaS-based solution. These software solutions can seem appealing because of the added level of ownership, but don’t provide the full spectrum of benefits that a SaaS-based product has to offer. Most notably, you lose out on the remote flexibility that has become so important.

Fact and Fiction: Cloud Security

Data security is one of the most common talking points when considering future software partnerships for a couple of reasons. The first is that some believe cloud technology is in some way more vulnerable than using localized software, and the second is the belief that hosting your data on a software provider’s servers means you lose ownership of that data. Neither of these are true.

The easiest myth to debunk is loss of data ownership. No matter where your data is being hosted or who is supporting it, that information will always belong to you. A lot of on-prem solution providers try to claim otherwise as a scare tactic to convince users to purchase costly, localized networking products, but the data will always belong to the user regardless of the software being used to store or access it.

Software vulnerability is a little bit trickier. The easy explanation is that while both localized networks and cloud networks are targeted by cyber threats, cloud networks are significantly less vulnerable because of the technology and resources available to defend against attacks. For a local network to be secure, it requires a full-time IT department which often consists of one or two people who maintain software updates, security risk assessments, and current knowledge of the climate of data security threats. This is a huge cost center to your business, but as long as they’re on top of things, your data is secure.  Cloud systems completely remove the cost burden from the client, and have exponentially larger, more comprehensive IT departments in place to  handle data security. As an added bonus, server farms have substantial protections in place against a litany of environmental vulnerabilities that localized servers simply cannot account for, like a building fire or natural disaster. 

CINC Systems in particular is proud to provide the following protections:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Multiple forms of identification reduces the chance of an account compromise
  • Private Cloud Hosting: Reduces the risk of data breaches
  • Endpoint Monitoring: Suspicious activity is logged and tracked in real time
  • IT Department Access Limitation: Access to homeowner data is limited to in-house IT professionals
  • Other Solutions: Dynamic code setting, patch management, storage encryption, and data loss prevention all ensure that data is protected from cybercriminal attacks
Cybersecurity In Cinc

CAM in the Cloud

Management companies have often struggled to find the right partner because for many years, industry-specific technology either didn’t exist, or wasn’t as advanced as it needed to be to support success. Today, the industry has a lot of options to choose from, and the most comprehensive of those include some form of CAM-specific cloud accounting, and provides a level of support that can help achieve long-term success even in the most difficult circumstances.

Robust Accounting

The accounting center of your SaaS solution needs to be able to support CAM-specific accounting needs. Some of the features to look for include: 

  • General Ledger accounting: Manual general ledger accounting can be a time-consuming and complicated task. Using a cloud system specifically designed to handle that bookkeeping and workload management is crucial to time savings and accounting success.
  • Banking integrations: With proper banking partnerships, your cloud software provider can do even more to enhance the General Ledger accounting offerings. This helps to further reduce time spent on monthly accounting, and also facilitates a great relationship with your banking partner/s.
  • Online payments processing: Allowing homeowners to pay their fees online with payment methods like e-checks and credit card payments is a huge friction point eliminator. Homeowners no longer have to spend the time it takes to get their payment situated and sent in to their managers, and managers aren’t expected to collect the payments from dozens to hundreds of homeowners, cart them off to a bank for deposit, then spend the time to see which homeowners neglected to pay. 

Business Continuity

After facing down the long-term ramifications of a wide-spread catastrophe, business continuity has arguably become the topic of the century. The world was forced to find remote solutions for basic tasks, like real-time collaboration and hosting meetings. The CAM industry in particular was hit hard, and after years of pressure to embrace new technological advancements, management companies everywhere were left with no alternative but to catch up or be left behind.

Whether you’re planning for another global health crisis, or natural disasters like the wildfires that swept California, or the hurricanes that battered the southern coastlines, some of the previously-mentioned benefits of SaaS products can help support your management company’s Business Continuity planning.

Enhanced Homeowner Communication

On top of unhindered access to their account information, homeowners are also becoming more expectant of thorough communication from service providers like you and your management team when challenges arise. Mass communication capabilities, like text messaging, email, and community-wide announcements, as well as targeted emails to homeowners are imperative in a time of crisis. Being able to keep homeowners informed about community expectations like masking requirements in public areas, shelter-in-place or evacuation orders, or just general updates is no longer just a nice perk, it’s a necessity.

Bonus: Tech Support

One of the added bonuses of having a cloud-based software partner is the level of support you can receive. When a problem arises on your locally-installed software, like the program not responding or the server not connecting, the fix often requires someone from your IT support team sitting in your chair, monopolizing your device, and stopping all productivity until the problem has been resolved. 

Using a cloud provider means your work doesn’t stop just to get a problem resolved. Your software partner owns the technology, and can work to mitigate issues behind the scenes. So instead of tapping your foot, very patiently waiting to get your device back in your hands to continue with your day, you retain full device access, so you focus on other tasks while your technology partner handles your issues on their side.

Increasing Profitability

Working with a cloud provider offers support in a lot of ways, but at the core of all of the benefits and enhancements is one critical connecting thread: profit. Unlimited access means less time wasted finding ways to grant access as needed, and that time is money. It also means that there isn’t any need to have the latest and greatest hardware for your staff–as long as they can access the internet using whatever device they’re working on, they can access their cloud provider, and manage their workload as they see fit. And automated, mass communication to your homeowners means less effort expended on need-based homeowner engagement, and that effort is also money.

Scalability

Growing your business is the goal of business, right? And more business means bigger profits. But that growth can be undercut by growth-associated costs if you’re using the wrong technology solution. Supporting future portfolio growth means adopting a software solution that can grow with you at little to no cost for essentials like system upgrades or enhancements, or adding new staff.

Working with a cloud provider offers support in a lot of ways, but at the core of all of the benefits and enhancements is one critical connecting thread: profit. Unlimited access means less time wasted finding ways to grant access as needed, and that time is money. It also means that there isn’t any need to have the latest and greatest hardware for your staff–as long as they can access the internet using whatever device they’re working on, they can access their cloud provider, and manage their workload as they see fit. And automated, mass communication to your homeowners means less effort expended on need-based homeowner engagement, and that effort is also money.

Amplified ROI

SaaS-based technology notably provides a strong Return on Investment, or ROI. In addition to the expanded access and scalability mentioned above, cloud products frequently mitigate common expenses like paper product usage and staff increases.

Additionally, using a pay-as-you-go style of service is a great way to cut costs. On-prem software solutions often come with high starting fees because you’ll effectively be ‘owning’ a version of the software. With SaaS technology, you own the access instead of the product, meaning you only pay for what you use. This can be a huge cost reduction, especially because it means any updates made to the solution won’t require you to pay for a new version of the software. You’ll even eliminate some spending completely, like the costs associated with an IT support staff.

Bonus: Going Green

One of the added benefits of a SaaS solution is the near-complete reduction of printed documentation. All of the documents that have to be printed add up to a massive cost burden on your association: paper products, ink, not to mention the actual appliances themselves. Add in space to store it in and the staff hours spent doing the printing, mailing, and maintenance of stored documentation and the price of printing quickly skyrockets.

With anytime access for all shareholders, common wasteful printing needs like multiple copies of monthly board financial reporting packages or ad hoc requests for home or community documents can all be done electronically with PDFs sent directly to the necessary recipients.  

Note: You’ll want to check your state’s specific laws about document retention, as some states require that community associations retain print copies of certain documents.

On-Prem or SaaS: What Do You Really Need?

Partnering with the right technology provider is more than just a nice-to-have on your checklist for success. The benefits of a provider who can offer more than just the basic ability to assist in your daily tasks, but can actually streamline those actions to reduce costs, provide profitability, and encourage ongoing growth and success are vital. On-premises providers cannot offer that level of support, but subscription-based software providers like CINC Systems are designed to offer all of that and more.

SaaS Comparison


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