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How to Choose the Best Software to Manage Your Coworking Space (2022 Guide)
Productivity

How to Choose the Best Software to Manage Your Coworking Space (2022 Guide)

Helga Moreno
Helga Moreno
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If you are a coworking space owner in search of the best management software for your hub, you are at the right place. It's not easy to choose the right solution for your business especially if you are not a tech geek. There are so many options in the market... Some systems promise full paperwork automation, another prioritize member experience. Let's figure out which approach is right for you.


  1. Who you are choosing a software solution for
  2. What problems you are trying to solve
  3. Custom vs professional tools
  4. Match features and solutions
  5. andcards VS Cobot, Officernd, Nexudus, & other coworking systems
  6. Which coworking software is best for you

First of all, you need to decide who you are choosing a software solution for.

 
1. Are You Looking for an App to Delight Members or Managers?

The most fundamental difference between all market players is who they develop software for.

Platforms to Perform Admin’s Tasks

Most of the workspace management platforms are designed for administrators. Their main users are community managers, sales representatives, accountants, and other flex space employees.

Their vendors target an elusive goal. They seek to consolidate all possible aspects of your business into a single management platform. Ideally, the technology should save the management team's time by automating routine tasks such as invoice issuance and payments, customer relationship management, marketing newsletters sending, and god only knows what else. Sometimes such management systems even provide mobile apps for members as a by-product but they can hardly impress your customers.

Platforms to Make Your Space a Better Place for Members

Another type of coworking space software is created to help a shared workspace earn more money by making customers happy with the service. It puts your members on top of it all. First and foremost this type of technology prioritizes user experience. Its main goal is to pack all workspace services (meeting rooms, desks, community, support, perks, events, etc.) into an easily accessible application where tenants can effortlessly discover them and obtain anything they need.

In other words, you provide customers with a self-service platform, which is the best possible automation for a flexible workspace. Since members book their desks and pay for all services they use themselves, you don't have to administer all these processes manually.


The next step is to figure out what particular problems you are trying to solve for your flexible workspace.

2. Features or Solutions? What Exactly Are You Looking for?

What are you looking at when going to buy some software? You probably click the Features tab on the vendor's landing page first of all. The more features you see there, the more awesome a product seems. But does a solid pack of features guarantee you the same solid pack of solutions to your problems? Unfortunately not.

frustrated coworking space owner with laptop

Let me clarify this.

A feature does not equal a solution. But a well-executed product that solves a real problem is a solution.

A product having a ton of features without a clear focus is a flop. Most of the time you need to throw out most of these features to make a better solution, which is a Pareto principle (80/20 rule) at work.

Most coworking space software is marketed as "all-in-one." This is not actually a differentiation point as almost any coworking technology is kind of inclusive. Every vendor offers a bunch of administrative tools to automate management processes. The difference is in the approach to critical workspace problems.

I remember sitting in a phone call after phone call after phone call with every coworking software on the planet and just banging my head against the wall because they couldn't solve the problem. Everybody's still thinking in the same black and white square box kind of way. —

Lindsay Hedenskog, CEO and COO of LAMB

For instance:

If you own a single location coworking space, your key concerns are probably automation of processes instead of hiring more administrators, engaging members in the community, and making them stay with you longer and buy your products more often.

So, if a vendor offers beautiful floor plans and a built-in CRM inside the coworking app, do those features solve any of your problems? Just the opposite, they make the software more expensive and complicated to use.

But the room and desk booking systems, cool members’ apps, beautiful products and benefits catalogs, automated invoicing, and so on, look like solutions to your specific needs.

Well, after reading the previous paragraphs you probably realized that selling features to grab each and every audience (flexible and coworking spaces, hybrid workplaces, property management companies, commercial property owners, and whoever) is the wrong mindset.

Customers don't want to buy features, they want solutions to their problems and unique needs. So, if a vendor really wants to make a customer happy, they must forget about features.


To take away: when choosing a management platform for your workspace you need to ask "Is it a solution to my problem?"


Now, let me cite a couple of examples of solutions over the features approach for you to deeper understand the difference.

iPhone

At the time of iPhone introduction, it didn't have an SD card, stylus, and hardware keyboard — features that everyone thought are essential. Feature-by-feature comparison of iPhone to Windows Mobile or Blackberry is lost by iPhone. But iPhone is focused on what matters most — user experience, which brought the gadget overwhelming popularity.

Twitter

Twitter is another example. As a social network, it's very barebone. Until even now, Twitter doesn't allow editing tweets and has character limits. Head-to-head to Facebook, it loses functionality game, but still hundreds of millions use Twitter because it solves the problem of fast information delivery.

Summarizing everything said in this section, just because a feature exists in a competing product, doesn’t mean you will apply it to the intended use case. You will apply only a successful solution for your specific needs, which brings us to the third point.

See how andcards helps delight members and save coworking space administrators' time - banner


Let your staff use professional software they already love.

3. What Apps Do Your Employees Prefer?

Building an effective team is challenging. When you are lucky to find an experienced professional or an aspiring candidate for your team, you need to give them the right tools to be productive.

If your sales representative has a proven track record, vast sales experience, and trained muscle memory with a favorite CRM, they will not want to use some semi-professional CRM half-baked into your coworking system. The same applies to accounting: an expert financier already knows and loves an invoicing app like Xero or Quickbooks.

coworking space employees at desktop computers

Supposing you have purchased a coworking space platform with tons of custom tools inside hoping that your employees will get used to the features it provides. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, you are likely to find your team using a set of familiar professional tools as the replacements you offer don't meet their requirements.

Professional tools your team uses can cover almost everything but one thing—community management. This is the task of the coworking space app. So, if the staff is using your coworking space software almost exclusively what do they need all other features it includes for?


Match features and solutions.

4. If Multiple Features Don’t Solve Particular Problems, They Become Unwanted Noise

When choosing a system to manage your workspace, question every feature that conventional wisdom prompts you "have to have." You'll see that most of those features are not essential and can be thrown out without any regret.

Remember that useful features might be buried in a larger product. When you review them, ask yourself:

  • Does this feature address my unique pain?
  • How will a specific group of people benefit from it (coworking space members/community managers)?
  • Is it just another feature or a solution?

Such an approach will help you focus on a super-serving product tailored to the needs of a vertical audience that you, your members, and managers will love.

The thing that I appreciate about andcards is that is what I think a lot of other coworking software is doing wrong. They build their apps for the coworking operator. And what I really adore about andcards is that you guys built your app from the member's perspective. It's not filled with a bunch of stuff that you don't need. It's only filled with essential features. So it's really easy to navigate. It's really easy to find what you need. — Lindsay Hedenskog, CEO and COO of LAMB

When you will finally find the right software for the unique needs of your workspace with a perfect initial feature = solutions set, ask the vendor if the product is ready to evolve. What next solutions are they developing/going to develop to keep the initial set relevant?


Takeaway: The shift from a product-centric viewpoint to a customer-centric viewpoint will help you choose the most compelling and cost-efficient solution to your pain points.


Hint: If you feel like you’ve made the wrong choice, it’s never too late to migrate to a better software solution.


andcards VS Other Coworking Space Platforms

It's natural to compare systems when choosing an ideal product for your workspace and this section is dedicated to an in-depth comparison of andcards to other platforms available in the market.

coworking space managers with tablet and cell phone

A few words about andcards. The platform is a good example of solutions over features approach. The software is developed for coworking space brands prioritizing members’ comfort and happiness as the only way to sustainable revenue and business growth.

andcards app approaches a wide range of common problems like invoicing and payments, conference rooms, and meeting rooms booking, desk booking, customer support, events management, and others, from the point of a coworking space customer. This is a fundamental product strategy and direction that I am going to illustrate down below.

Here are some examples of andcards' "customer-centric" vs "administrator-friendly" approach.

1. Simple Members' Apps

Flexible workspace customers are busy people concentrated on being productive and growing their businesses. They have neither time nor desire to figure out what are all those buttons and tabs for. Right software must be intuitive and easy to use for members right out of the box, without any training or asking a community manager. It must simplify and not overcomplicate the life of seasoned residents and new members.

  • Other software: Offers hybrid in-house design systems that customers aren’t familiar with. Instead of using guidelines that are based on Google’s or Apple’s research, popular coworking management systems choose to build their own subpar interface that users have to uncover and get used to.
  • andcards: Uses native design (Material Design on Android, Human Interface Guidelines on iOS). This ensures that tenants already know how to use the apps. App navigation, interface elements — every detail is familiar.

I haven't gotten any calls because it's so simple. Members just log in and go from there. The interface is pretty simple even for non-tech people. They easily make payments, see the events, and Stream conversations on the screen. They're loving it. —  Kenneth Penn from The Lab on Dexter

andcards provides intuitive members' apps for coworking spaces - banner

2. Uncomplicated Administration Workflows

Building a business is not an easy task. This is especially true for a shared workspace business with its synergy of physical space and other value-added services. It requires an efficient system of intertwined business processes.

  • Other software: Management tasks can get as complex as necessary to achieve a certain goal. All those functions need to reside somewhere, hence a sophisticated array of cascading menus and buttons.
  • andcards: From a customer perspective, even compound management tasks have to be as simple as possible. Businessmen are spoiled with amazing apps and interfaces, they value their time and reject unnecessary complications. That’s why andcards uses native design guidelines and simple interface logic.

I basically just add the events and then one of our assistants handles the rest. We put the invoice out there and members just pay it right in the app. Administrators can easily see who hasn't paid and who has. Also, our team finds analytics very advantageous. They can see the numbers and monitor our growth. All those tools we use are very intuitive and user-friendly. —  Kenneth Penn from The Lab on Dexter

Take a look at the picture. Here we map together workflow complexity and core audience, which gives an understanding of how various software options are positioned:

andcards coworking software vs cobot, officernd, nexudus

3. Looks Great on Mobile

Currently, we continue to observe a drastic platform shift. In the last seven years, mobile traffic is up by 222%. New generations grow up with phones in their hand. The broadband internet and mobile computing are on the rise as people want to be productive on the go - remotely - from any place on Earth.

  • Other software: Gives you a set of administrative tools that help you control the workspace when you’re at your desktop while mobile apps are more of an afterthought. Some of them (Cobot) don’t provide mobile apps at all.
  • andcards: Prioritizes mobility and provides white-label apps across all popular platforms. There are no separate admin panel and app for members. andcards team builds one product that both members and admins use with admins just having more access permissions.

Embassy House coworking space web and mobile apps developed by andcards

Embassy House web and mobile apps developed by andcards

4. Modern Technology for a Brand Touchpoint

A workspace app you use should look and feel great because it supports the coworking brand image and impresses the customer. A cool coworking brand will never offer its members old-school or unusable apps because this will negatively impact its reputation.

  • Other software: Most of the so-called "all-inclusive" coworking systems update their mobile apps once every 6-12 months. This happens rarely because mobile apps are an afterthought, not the main product.
  • andcards: Our web apps are updated daily and mobile apps are updated weekly. Members' apps are our main product and we understand the importance of having up-to-date apps for a solid brand image. andcards dark mode is a good example of how your coworking app could follow the latest UI trends. Only andcards supports dark mode for more than a year. We implemented the black interface right after Apple and Google adopted the new design paradigm.

5. Audience Engagement

Think of your workspace audience: how many people are paying residents, non-paying residents, and your team? If you think about your customers, there are two groups: those who pay for themselves and those who are paid for.

No doubt you need to have a great experience for those who pay. But what about the residents who move in? Do you want to make all of your customers happy or just a selected few?

The graphic you see below shows which software is focused on paying tenants and coworking staff and which cares about all residents. This will help you make an informed choice depending on your business strategies.

andcards coworking space mangement software vs cobot, officernd, nexudus

6. Metrics of Success

At this point, we clearly understand that coworking space software can be classified according to the audience it is intended for. Please refer to the pic above—Officernd, Cobot, Nexudus as well as Satellite Deskworks are primarily intended for workspace employees and paying tenants. While andcards is intended for all residents including paid-for ones.

Naturally, products developed for different audiences will have different metrics of successful application.

  • Other software: Admin-focused software revolves around such metrics as space utilization or financial performance. These metrics have nothing to do with the customer experience and require as many data points as possible. To get the required data points for analysis, such software focuses on an ever-increasing spectrum of features for a dozen of your management team members.
  • andcards: As andcards is a product for all coworking space inhabitants, including both tenants and admins, its efficiency is measured in user engagement, activation rate, and app usage across all involved parties, which counts hundreds of people. Happy members stay loyal to your brand for a long time, it’s easy to upsell them through the app, and they even promote your space to friends, which inevitably brings your business good dividends.

7. Business and Pricing Models

The pricing model structures of the most popular coworking platforms are more or less similar. They are based on the number of members. The difference is mainly in the cost-efficiency of the pricing plans.

  • Other software: Cobot—charges $249/mo for up to 85 members, Officernd—starts from €160/mo for up to 100 members and 1 location, Nexudus—$185/mo for up to 150 users.
  • andcards: andcards offers a flexible pricing policy starting as low as $161 per month with up to 100 active members and unlimited locations. An active member is anyone who is actively using your app, which means we don't charge for customers that don't bring value to you. All product features, unlimited integrations, top-rated progressive branded web apps, regular product updates, free top-notch customer support, and a dedicated account manager are included in an Essential plan, which incentivizes building an inclusive platform for all residents. Free demo and free trial are available.

Discover why hundreds of spaces choose andcards - banner

Which Software Is Best for Managing My Flexible Workspace?

Looks like you already know pretty much about coworking space software, its classification, and the main criteria to compare the biggest players on the market.

To make the process of choice even easier for you, we created a beautiful infographic you see below. It compares the most popular platforms business owners use to manage their spaces.

The table highlights features offered by software vendors, identifies their importance for managing a coworking space, and points out how well those features are implemented by the rivals. We didn’t forget about price and user experience aspects as well.

Best coworking apps compared - andcards vs officernd vs nexudus vs cobot vs proximity vs optix

I believe that now when you start to consider options, you won't be dazzled by the variety of features and count only solutions that are critical for running YOUR business.

For instance, getting a single piece of software that combines custom-made CRM + accounting + deliveries management + floor plans + whatnot = Officernd, Cobot, Nexudus, may be a good option for an office center but not a shared workspace like you.


Check out the story of Campfire Coworks: How Campfire Migrated From Nexudus to andcards & Increased Desk Occupancy by 52%


Invest in members' happiness as your revenue depends on it. Provide customers with an easy way to discover, apply, and pay for your services inside the app. Choose coworking space software that is fundamentally focused on tenants' experience. Give your team the freedom to use their favorite professional apps (a separate cutting-edge solution for every purpose) connected with your main coworking system via smart integrations = andcards.

Finally, both approaches described in the article have their merits and I strongly recommend you to tear and wear the software before making the final decision. You can start right now by scheduling a free demo call for a one-on-one meeting with one of our experts or watching a quick six-minute product tour.

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