The second day of the Coworking Europe conference in Dublin followed an unconference structure.
What this meant, is that any conference attendee could suggest a topic or challenge to form a group discussion around. The organisers would then build up a session schedule based on these suggestions, with sessions lead by those who suggested them.
Both Madison Hanna (from cowork7x24) and I, had actually suggested topics around ‘Software for Coworking Space operators’ and so the organisers merged our discussion together.
This was an awesome idea! Even though neither of us had ‘lead’ an unconference session before, we quickly made up a discussion format that we believed would create the most value to both the 30+ workspace operators and the 10ish different coworking software firms who we knew would be in the room.
We all actually landed up having a tonne of fun whilst chatting and laughing about what made some software solutions great, whilst making others… well… not so great.
I’m delighted that even though we focussed on frustrations, the key takeaway from the session was actually that:
“Coworking space software doesn’t suck, anymore!”
You can hear the full discussion about pain-points with software below, but here’s the 5 main pain-points that workspace operators raised about their existing or prospective management software:
1. Everything’s too disconnected.
Many raised concerns about there not being enough integrations (and data portability) between different pieces of software.
2. Software is often bloated or confusing to setup.
A few mentioned that the software solutions felt clunky, overly complicated or hard to use.
3. Member adoption is a challenge.
Giving their members another place to log into, with another password, and another profile is a tough sell.
Cheeky plug, but we’ve actually developed a solution to help with this challenge, ping us to get geeky about increasing coworking platform stickiness.
4. No or little CRM or full-lifecycle support.
A number of members mentioned that they’d love to have more Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) type functionality with a memorable example coming in about not being able to use one piece of software to efficiently track/manage relationships from marketing stage through to graduation phase.
5. Localisation is important for many spaces.
Not every community speaks or even understands English. There are also different types of banking, payment and invoicing setups. It was suggested that many solutions are not focussed enough on enabling real localisation quickly enough.
This recording of the pain-points part of the discussion, is being shared with the hope that it helps coworking software developers fix the frustrations felt by workspace operators worldwide.
Follow us @includedco for when that’s released.
If you build or sell coworking management software, please do reach out as we’d love to make sure that coworking space operators get all the information they need to make an educated decision on which solution to use.