Rest assured U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth by 2024 of management occupations by 5.5%, office and administrative support occupations by 2% and business and financial operations occupations by 8.4%. The need for managers, accountants, and administration will be in demand as long as there are humans. The question is, what will we need to be able to do? The customer desires and demands are driving these changes. So which tech advancements will have the most significant impact on our industry? What do you need to know to be ahead of the curve?
The customer has changed. Expectations of communication, follow up, and personalization have advanced. That contact has historically been in the form of voice calls, paper mailings and email. The customer is now expecting text, chat, and advanced prediction phone services. They expect to have the person who picks up the phone know who is on the other line, when they called in last and what was accomplished. They expect to be in the loop on items affecting them.
Technologies are centered around making people-focused business applications that meet the customer where they want to be. "These trends have a profound impact on the people and the spaces they inhabit," says David Cearley, Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst. "Rather than building a technology stack and then exploring the potential applications, organizations must consider the business and human context first." A technology stack is the combination of multiple technologies to create a complete experience.
Each of the concepts listed requires other technologies working in sync to leverage their best potential. Here are five tech trends that could affect managers jobs in the coming years.
Omni-channel communication is the concept of connecting the company to the customer in all ways possible. Allowing the customer to communicate in the method they prefer and ensuring all records share a single point of truth. The customer may not use all channels, which is OK. The point is to provide options to increase the speed and accuracy of information shared with all endpoints.
Blockchain, according to Wikipedia, is a growing list of records called blocks that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.
Think of a chain of blocks. Each block contains a group of information and a link to the next block. Each time one block is updated, they are all updated, chronologically. Because they are separate data blocks, the information on them cannot be changed. New information can be added as a new record.
Blockchain allows tracing back to the original file record and every record in between with the confidence that a record cannot be altered. The complexity and layering of these uneditable blocks of information create a historical fabric of knowledge.
Blockchain has been the basis of modern banking for some time, long before it was popular due to cryptocurrency. Blockchain will more and more be used in databases to keep accurate records, update many different parties to a transaction or event, and fundamentally speed up the process of documentation. Due to the segmented blocks of information, it is excellent for many groups that may not inherently trust each other. Still, they can believe the information they are getting since they know it cannot be edited.
Blockchain has many beneficial uses in association management: vendor integrations, work orders, financial records and compliance inspections. However, the current form of “Blockchain remains immature for enterprise deployments due to a range of technical issues, including poor scalability and interoperability.”
For use in today’s businesses to “implement only some of the elements of a complete blockchain by making the ledger independent of individual applications and participants and replicating the ledger across a distributed network to create an authoritative record of significant events.” Thereby allowing everyone with access to see “the same information, and integration is simplified by having a single shared blockchain."
Gartner, in their recent book The Real Business of Blockchain, states, "Blockchain, which is already appearing in experimental and small-scope projects, will be fully scalable by 2023."
Hyperautomation is the combination of advanced technologies to allow for the ability to automate tasks that once required humans. Businesses are combining artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate workflows. The combination of various tools is the key to attempting to replace humans in a workflow. Hyperautomation results in the creation of a digital twin: a self-sufficient bot that can conduct a range of sophisticated human tasks, often under pressured environments.
What if you could see the customer experience before it happens? Hyperautomation is paving the way for visualization of workflows and seeing and feeling what the customer will experience when contacting a business. Acceptance of hyperautomation requires a mindset shift to people-centered systems where humans get to spend time helping other humans. The technology does the tedious data documentation, speeding up the rate at which we can accomplish the basics, and freeing up time for focused customer interactions and fundamentally more productive businesses. Hyperautomation will not replace humans; instead, it will sophisticate business intelligence and improve the work humans can accomplish.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Our lives have forever changed with the Internet of Things (IoT). We can see who is at our front door from our phone or computer or ask Alexa or Google to open our blinds, turn off lights, or set the security system. IoT has influenced most industries and will continue to connect systems and advance society. Every object you touch in a day has the potential to be connected to a system with IoT. As more everyday items connect to systems and each other, the fabric of information systems that aid our lives will become even greater.
For our industry, the benefit will be as vendors begin to deploy more IoT and get information back to the information framework. Managers and administrators will be able to have a pulse on all elements in a community. IoT is already active in smart watering systems and tree inventories. To see the potential in these areas, boards will need to understand the benefit of IoT to want to put IoT hardware in the community. How they feel about IoT is linked to popular opinion, which is growing with IoT acceptance year by year.
Mobile-first is the concept and acceptance that use of mobile devices will, on average, supersede the use of computers. Mobile-first is not a new idea. What is new? Software developers realize that we all connect via many different interfaces. Employees are no longer only sitting behind a computer to do work; they are using mobile and computers depending on the accessibility required. Developers will be looking more and more to increase productivity for employee systems by coding for mobile with a people-centric design.
Some companies are even adopting systems that built first for mobile before being developed for computers. In the coming years, business leaders will likely be taking a mobile-too if not a mobile-first approach for employees to improve speed, connectivity, and flexibility.
Association management has long been behind the times in technology advancement. However, by teaming up the tech above, our industry will be able to meet the demands of the customer and genuinely exceed their expectations. As members of this changing environment, the people-centric software of the future will make it easier to learn systems and focus on the customer. Industry leaders will need to focus on methods that put the customer first and have intuitive interfaces for employees to learn. Investing in employees is the heart and soul of this success.
The management industry is only growing in need. We will be able to do more in less time and truly put the customer, be it board member or homeowner, first.
by Clint McClure, President and CEO of MMI, CAMEx, CCAM
Article was previously published in CACM's Vision magazine.
MMI is a Carlsbad based Association Community management firm serving the West Coast and Montana. We enjoy educating the new and well versed association board members and homeowners with current events information regarding homeowners associations. We are always happy to answer questions regarding community management. Contact us today.