The security industry lacks a common vernacular for community management software (CMS). You may hear it referred to as my database, customer relationship management, or membership management software. This can make it challenging to research the best solution to fit your specific needs, especially if you call it one thing and the companies providing it call it something else entirely. Our experts offer these tips for choosing the right community management software for your needs.
Your decision-making process needs to account for upcoming professionals. The Z and Millennial Generations are accustomed to connecting anyway, anywhere, and anytime. So, your solution should be user-friendly across every device. You might consider placing mobile and website integration toward the top of your selection criteria for community management software.
Since the internet is the fastest growing industry known to man, you must ensure that you do not tether yourself to an ancient solution that fails to allow your gated community to evolve with rapid changes. Be sure you understand the technology underlying the CMS you consider. Your solution should be cloud-hosted, and the CMS should have regular updates included in the subscription costs. This will give your residents and security team the freedom to access vital info anywhere, anytime, on any device.
Sometimes there is no perfect solution for what your residents or staff seek, so you might need to integrate with a 3rd party software or customize the software. You should handle this cautiously because integrating and customizing software can lead to only a few people in your organization understanding your CMS. This can create trouble supporting the software outside the customization provider and support team. It is best to get as much of your CMS under one roof as possible.
Remember that even when you can customize something, that does not always mean you should. Customization ends in proprietary knowledge that only certain people in your organization and the provider have access to. So, when only certain people have such essential knowledge, you become vulnerable if they are not available or leave your organization.
The best way to plan for the future is to know what has happened in the past. This makes reporting one of the most essential components of your CMS. In the past, reports could only be generated by a few top techs, leading to problems receiving critical reports on-demand and overloading the technologists charged with reporting. So, it is vital that your CMS effortlessly generates reports and that everyone on the team can generate the same reports across the board.
Software that is challenging to use is frustrating, and your members and staff will avoid it. Be sure that the UX and UI of your CMS are incredibly intuitive, so members and staff can quickly master it with very little training. It is essential to create spreadsheets within it since the staff downloads data to excel and maintains an endless spreadsheet collection.
In addition, your CMS should give members access to everything they need through their mobile device or your website. They need easy access to update their profiles, download and pay bills, add user-generated content, etc. Your software must engage and empower your members.
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