19 Feb Space Management Software Selection
Searching for Software
Coworking management software platforms have come a long way over the past seven years. As many more options are made available, its no surprise that it has been increasingly difficult to select the right one for your space. In my experience there are four key things to pay attention to you do your research.
Four Key Factors
The 4 key factors to consider are:
- Time of the software being around — As new software platforms come available the decision of what company to choose can become daunting. The opportunity to join in with the latest developments often is very alluring. However, the newest platform can come with challenges as the developers improve and “test” their platform. Time tested software often brings the best reward and value to your space.
- Reviews — As I have done software research, I have found the best way to learn about the use of the platform is to talk to the space managers and people who use it daily. The space operators are the ones who will have the best feedback on the platform functionality and end user experience.
- Capacity — When looking at a platform, one thing many don’t always consider if they are just starting is the growth and expansion capacity. If in your business goals, you have plans to scale your coworking space, the platform you choose should be one that has the capacity to connect your locations and grow with your brand.
- Member Connection — A solid member front end is a critical part to a space management platform. This portion of the software should not be overlooked. A member log in should be a place where your members can see their invoice history, book conference rooms, see upcoming events, and even connect with other members through a chat board or directory.
Guiding Your Search
These 4 keys can help guide you in your search for the right platform for your space. While this list is a great place to start, there is more to choosing your space management software. In today’s market you can fine one platform that integrates with your door access, manages Wi-fi connections, handles conference room bookings, auto-billing, newsletters, and CRM. Narrowing it down to the right one takes time, research, and knowledge of operations, but it is critical to do this to set yourself up for success.
There are a couple of resources that I’d recommend checking out –
- General and overall resource – Coworking Resources
- Spreadsheet of software available – Big Bodacious List of Coworking Software
- Google Group – Coworking
Adventures in Research
In doing research for management software I have personally experienced the excitement of thinking a platform is awesome and has what we need and then realizing through testing — which takes patience and time — that it isn’t going to work.
I would say that the level of frustration that I experienced was high. Running a space and dedicating a lot of time to demos and then trials of the platforms definitely caused some stress.
Choosing a platform and then putting it into implementation, is also not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have someone who can dedicate their time to learn it all and work with the company to roll it out, this will be a process that you’ll need to set a good portion of time to as well. All in all, you have potentially spent 2-3 months on research, demos, and then trial to make a choice. Next, you have the migration and implementation time period, 4-6 weeks depending on what you are migrating from.
As an owner or space manager this is a big decision for your location as your members’ experience is also tied to the platform you choose. If you can, hire a consultant that can help you navigate the choices and bring your space into operation with the software you choose.