Having access to a data visualization tool like Tableau can be invaluable for HOA and condo boards. Successful communities are always armed with data to make confident decisions.
4 ways to use Tableau to improve condo/HOA operations
Date Published: October 07, 2020
The numbers don’t lie. Condos and HOAs need numbers to understand essential things like profits and losses, as well as more complex issues such as scheduling maintenance repairs for equipment.
Numbers provide boards with concrete facts, and help them make informed decisions for their community. Instead of acting on a hunch, they can act on evidence. Boards need access to data to do their jobs better, but numbers can be intimidating, or conversely, really boring.
Data visualization software can help change this. If you haven’t heard of Tableau, keep reading to learn what this software can do for your community.
Tableau makes numbers exciting
Tableau is one of the most powerful, secure, and flexible end-to-end analytics platforms available. While it has a steeper learning curve than other platforms, its critics and users agree that it’s one of the best visualization tools around.
Tableau is an interactive data visualization software platform. Its primary focus is on business intelligence, but virtually any company or group can make use of it. You can drag and drop data into the program to create a simple bar graph, or compare stats using an intricate layout. Import an Excel spreadsheet or information from a database, including cloud data. You can even merge different file extension sources.
You can isolate particular items, view numbers from a specific quarter, compare year-over-year changes, or even find unexpected trends or patterns. Best of all, Tableau lets you see what’s behind a spike or dip. The information is dynamic, it is flexible, and you can share it with your entire team.
Its unparalleled capability of visualizing information is on top of the list of Tableau’s benefits. The application’s data visualizing quality is superior to virtually all other programs currently on the market. Instead of handing out a spreadsheet full of numbers, you can share maps, charts and graphs that are vibrant and engaging. Tableau is also robust and reliable. The tool operates very quickly, even when processing big data. You get to control virtually everything, including how your dashboard will appear to others. Tableau takes customization to the next level.
Tech experts acknowledge that Tableau still assumes too high a level of sophistication in its users, which means general users may be reluctant about investing in the software. New users may want to skip training and just feel their way around the user interface. Seasoned users warn that this will work for more basic queries, but it won’t permit them to access the more advanced features. It is also a costly investment, though not the most expensive data visualization program available.
Practical applications for boards
Now that you have a better understanding of what Tableau does, we’ll show you some practical ways you and your board members can use the program to improve condo or HOA operations.
With Tableau, you can easily create a pie chart to represent the association’s total revenue or budget, and break down how much went to maintenance, staff, water, insurance, cleaning, the reserve fund, etc.
The board can easily identify where most of the revenue is going. To ensure they aren’t paying too much, they can also use Tableau to see how much was budgeted for each item, and how much money was actually paid. If the actual costs consistently exceed the budget, then the board can discuss why this continues to happen, and determine what sorts of changes might be needed to correct the issue.
The association can also keep track of costs that appear to be rising gradually over time, and incorporate that trend into next year’s budget.
Presenting annual financial reports and new budgets to owners is also a less stressful experience with Tableau. Not only does it provide a clearer financial picture to owners, but it builds trust and transparency between owners and the board. Instead of having to analyze all of the numbers themselves, owners can easily see key data, and follow up on anything that looks out of the ordinary.
Deliveries are becoming increasingly problematic for condos. But it’s hard to determine just how bad the problem is if concierge can only tell the board that they’re receiving more boxes. Do you need to introduce a new pickup policy for residents? A storage locker? Or even an additional staff member?
In order to properly address the problem, boards could use Tableau to visualize delivery reports from Condo Control Central. These reports can be generated with the click of a button, and can easily be customized so that you get the exact data that you need.
The board can see any increases in volume, how quickly the increase occurred, how many packages each unit receives, and how long residents are taking to pick up their deliveries. From here, they can decide what the key issue is, and how to best resolve it.
Condos and HOAs can generate valuable revenue from amenity bookings such as elevators, party rooms, and guest suites (many properties report a minimum 20% increase in revenue from booking party rooms and guest suites). But, good data can help boards create more strategic booking prices and schedules.
Take the amenity booking reports from your CCC account and plug them into Tableau. Take a look at which amenities are booked most often, and if certain amenities are more popular during specific times of the year. The board could, for example, look at increasing prices for guest suites on long weekends or during the winter holidays if suites are more popular during these times. Condo Control Central allows boards to customize fees for any amenity. There is even a pricing matrix option available which allows you to change prices depending on the day and length of use. So prices for guest suites could be $100 a day from Monday to Thursday, and $120 per day from Friday to Sunday. If the suite is booked for seven consecutive days, the daily rate could be lowered to $90. The extra money that you generate can be invested back into the community, or used to create a healthier reserve fund.
Incidents are bound to occur in a condo or HOA, but visualizing incidents could help the board recognize recurring problems and work more quickly to find a solution. Perhaps there are more noise disturbances on a particular floor or at one specific home, or bikes thefts take place at a certain time of night. Having this information available gives residential communities the ability to make informed decisions to better maintain and protect the property, and the people who live on it. Instead of spending time and resources reacting to an issue, boards can make the appropriate changes so that staff are effectively preventing issues from occurring.
Having access to a data visualization tool like Tableau can be invaluable for HOA and condo boards. Successful communities are always armed with data to make confident decisions. Having such clear and comprehensive information creates a credible source for answers, which helps to build high-trust, collaborative relationships.
We’ve shared a few ways that boards can use Tableau to improve operations, but the platform can be used in so many different ways. If your board members are willing to invest the time and resources into this product, they will not be disappointed by the results.