TUSTIN, CA—Right now, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg for technology that will assist facility and property managers, and it won’t be long before all property technologies and software solutions are integrated, Common Areas’ founder and CEO Casey Rue tells GlobeSt.com. The software firm recently launched its new “Company” edition—an affordable cloud-based software for businesses to organize, schedule and track maintenance and repair teams and tasks online—along with launching and continuing to support a worldwide workforce with its new platform, which combines maintenance-management and field-service management software to create a faster, more affordable way to increase operational efficiency between managers of properties and facilities and the service businesses that repair and maintain them.

In addition, Common Areas has formed a strategic international alliance with Vancouver, Canada-based commercial real estate software company SpaceList. With an emphasis on small to mid-size businesses seeking space, SpaceList’s active listings encompass all major Canadian markets. Under terms of the alliance, an exclusive membership offer of Common Areas’ Company edition will be made available to SpaceList’s users.

We spoke with Rue about this type of maintenance technology, why it’s important for facility and property managers and what the future holds for this type of technology.

GlobeSt.com: Why is this type of maintenance technology important for facility and property managers?

Rue: The amount of time, effort and know-how to manage properties and facilities has increased dramatically over the past 20 to 30 years. One-page lease agreements and visiting properties just to make sure the lawn was mowed are a thing of the past. Instead, we now need to be well versed in 78-page lease forms (with eight exhibits) and be experts in everything from ADA compliance to alternative energy solutions. Managing real estate and its many nuances, while adhering to ever-expanding regulatory requirements, has become a tall order.

Maintenance-management technology has come a long way–especially as it relates to accounting software. However, the accounting software that offer maintenance solutions tend to be quite expensive, require a degree in astrophysics to use and aren’t designed to be used in tandem with other companies who don’t use the same software. That’s not to mention that since accounting software is not designed for operations, it only assists with a fraction of a manager’s work.

Our experience has shown that two thirds of a manager’s time is spent communicating the work that needs to get done, visiting the properties they manage and handling record keeping and administrative tasks. Managers and their service providers need an accessible platform and a simple process that makes it easier for them to work together. Common Areas provides this solution and has made it accessible for everyone. It is free for individuals to use, very affordable for companies and will cut everyone’s time spent maintaining property and facilities by a significant margin.

GlobeSt.com: What does the future hold for this type of technology?

Rue: The future of maintenance management software is very exciting, and right now we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. It won’t be long before all property technologies and software solutions are integrated. With the flood of data that will be available to businesses regarding their maintenance and space utilization, companies will be able to extract meaning from huge volumes of data to help improve decision making. Not only will managers have insight into what has happened at each location in the past, what is happening now and what may happen in the future, but technology will also offer advice on possible outcomes and answer the question “What should we do?”

Today, it’s no understatement to say technology is integral to how property and facility leaders improve efficiency and reduce operational expenses. And though they have access to a wealth of solutions, if he or she doesn’t know how to evaluate technology effectively and start building a strategy around it, all of that data will be pretty much useless.

Unfortunately, there’s no way around it. The only way for business leaders to ensure they have a comprehensive picture of their portfolio’s maintenance operations and are taking full advantage of technology at their disposal is by doing their homework. A good starting point is to review solutions that offer multi-location management and multi-company management features.

These two aspects allow administrators to assign access rights of staff and third-party vendors by location, exposing to them only to projects and features that apply. This means that each company can build and manage high performance teams capable of collaborating across multiple locations throughout the world, resulting in unequaled operational efficiency, cost-reduction, transparency and accountability.

GlobeSt.com: Why is now the right time for this software to be introduced?

Rue: Like everything, technology and software are ever evolving to adapt to a continuously changing environment. Not only was a solution like Common Areas unimaginable just years ago, it was also impossible. It took technological advances in many areas to make it possible, including cloud-technologies, GPS, satellite mapping systems, global access to high-speed Internet and widespread adoption of mobile Internet-accessible devices. Twenty years ago, I didn’t have a cell phone, didn’t use the Internet much and didn’t think I’d ever really need to do so. That sure has changed. Now, with my family of five, I think we have 30 or more devices that access the Internet—including my doorbell.

GlobeSt.com: What are the benefits of remaining up-to-date with this type of technology?

Rue: There are many significant benefits, but the utmost is to get a piece of our lives back and to have the ability to leverage that time in ways we each see fit. What if each of us had access to an additional 20-plus days per year? To have that extra margin creates possibilities of additional business capacity, more time to focus on higher-level strategies and, most importantly, to spend more time with our families and on ourselves.

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