A group of software developers, publishers and legal experts have come together to develop and launch an application for strata managers that will be delivered over the Internet.
Business and legal publisher CCH Australia, in conjunction with software vendor AXS-One and Strata Title legal expert Gary Bugden, have launched an ASP service that allows strata managers to manage their businesses online.
The service will be marketed through a joint venture formed by CCH and Bugden, named ComStrata.
The software application was designed around Bugden's expertise in strata management and the coding was outsourced to Brisbane-based developer IT Projects. It is based on the financial management software, transaction engines and other middleware of US vendor AXS One, and sits on an Oracle database.
The strata management application that is being delivered via CCH's Sydney data centre to strata managers around the country.
The system captures all financial, legal and other information about each building cared for by the strata managers, and automates processes such as generating notices and applications to cut down on administrative time. It also includes an accounting/financial reporting system tailored for use by strata managers. The application is "prescriptive" to ensure those entering data into the system do it in such a way as to comply with Australian strata title legislation.
The ASP model allows the strata managers to choose whether to share some or all of the information stored in the system with unit owners. It thus serves to make strata managers more accountable and transparent, which Bugden argues is likely to cut down on the level of disputes over strata property.
The solution is sold on a subscription model to strata managers who pay per unit - if they open up the system to unit owners they may pass on some of these costs. ComStrata estimates that there are 500-600 strata management companies in Australia that would be interested in the service.
CCH regional director Willem van Zanten said the vertical ASP will succeed where its horizontal cousins have failed. "Everyone was talking about ASP in horizontal terms," he said. "But ASP on a general basis didn't provide enough benefit to the end user."
Van Zanten said the ASP model is much more likely to succeed where the parties involved have an intimate knowledge of, if not absolute authority on, their chosen niche market.
"A lot of ASP development has been very arrogant - building something without having a quintessential knowledge of the existing business," he said. "What it really requires is a deep relationship with the customer."