Home Business IT Australia’s award-winning ‘Office Space’ uses custom software solution to accelerate success

Australia’s award-winning ‘Office Space’ uses custom software solution to accelerate success

Most people think Office Space is a cult hit movie from 1999, and while it is that, we’re talking about Australian co-working “The Office Space” successfully helping accelerate Australian businesses.

Awarded “The Best Designer Workplace in the World” at the prestigious 2016 World Architecture Festival Inside Awards in Berlin, Germany by an international jury, the prize-giving panel said “The Office Space represents the highest creative and design excellence and contributes to changing the face of global interiors”.

On the face of it, with a comment like that, it’s clear the judges went well beyond the surface in making their decision, because true beauty is surely much more than only skin deep.

So, with The Office Space celebrated for its beautifully designed spaces, and with quality space (office and otherwise) still the final frontier we seek to conquer, what else helps to set it apart?

It turns out that The Office Space is also distinguished by exceptional professional support services and highly efficient back of house operations. Now, a lot of organisations will say they hold this piece of the special sauce puzzle too, but what’s key is the ingredients your sauce is made with.

The Office Space’s special ingredient makes all this possible through a custom-designed software operating system, “Excelera”, which The Office Space has helped to adapt for the co-working and serviced office industry.

But first, why was custom designed software needed?

Well, because co-working in Australia is booming. We are told that “there are more co-working spaces in Australia (per capita) than anywhere else in the world, (according to John Preece from the Sydney Morning Herald: Hot Property: Consumerisation of the workplace, 9/10/2015.)

But it’s also because the industry has grown 500% in the last four years, from 60 to more than 300 spaces according to 2017 University of Sydney research (according to Tim Malberg Sydney Business Insights: Australian coworking spaces cater to a more diverse crowd than just young tech entrepreneurs, 25/7/17.)

So to run a successful and sustainable co-working business, however, requires more than a funky fit-out of custom designed furniture.

This is where Excelera comes in.

The Office Space proudly boasts it is the technology behind the scenes, running the entire operation and allowing its team to put processes and workflows in place to ensure fast and cost-effective scaling.

Better still, it’s an Australian-made software platform, and it offers eight functional modules to “manage all daily, weekly and monthly tasks essential for running a shared office environment such as sales, billing and support tickets".

This is coupled with “eight operational modules based on The Office Space’ 13 years of ‘know how’, ranging from client contracts and community building strategies, through to customer service policies".

Naomi Tosic, co-founder of The Office Space, explains it further, stating: “With Excelera, The Office Space has been able to replace seven disparate programs (accounting and billing, asset management, sales activities, meeting room bookings, CRM, internal communications and help desk requests) and combined everything under one platform. This has saved $1100 per month in subscription fees, dramatically reduced monthly billings times (from three days to ½ day, saving $900 per month in staffing) and improved daily efficiencies.

“Part of the Excelera software has been the implementation of an online meeting facility booking system where clients can manage their own room bookings, reducing almost 30% of the reception team’s daily workload.”

So, how has Excelera helped The Office Space put pedal to the medal in business efficiency and excellent?

The organisation explains that “using the Excelera platform proved invaluable for The Office Space in terms of staff training, identifying operational inefficiencies and inaccuracies, implementing new systems, evolving the standard or service delivery, and providing clients with a seamless and consistent office experience".

And was there more? Of course!

“A notable benefit to the business has been risk management so that knowledge and expertise would not be lost with natural staff turnover, and the development of strategies to effectively prevent issues or effectively address business issues as they arose through trouble shooting procedures.”

In 2015, The Office Space explains that it “replicated its serviced office model with Excelera as its platform, through their expansion to a second location in the prestigious Paramount House building in Surry Hills. Excelera assisted with streamlining the challenge of running two sites, and will form the blueprint for expansion into future locations.”

David Kong, founder and developer of Excelera, said: “Having the entire business knowledge base stored in a central location allowed The Office Space to save time and costs when training new employees, significantly reducing the time from several weeks to less than one week.

“This greatly reduced the bottleneck that can occur when bringing in new staff, which was one of The Office Space’s primary concerns in expanding the business, and added significant value.”

Clearly the magic of software has allowed Abracadabra to become Excelera, with the proof in the pudding of special sauces, business successes, frontiers conquered and captivated customers celebrating successes.

So, in an industry first, The Office Space and Excelera have “joined forces to offer their services to the shared workspace industry, helping independent co-working spaces tap into over a decade of operating knowledge and cutting-edge platform technology.”

This software platform and the operational procedures can be custom fit for any new or existing co-working space and then maintained via a licensing model, and is a great leg up for small to medium work space operators looking to stay competitive in an industry dominated by large international co-working and serviced office chains.

Excelera’s makers say it was “designed to be scalable, customisable and interconnected to give control to small businesses and compete against their larger counterparts,” and that it is “cloud based software for small business with a built-in CRM powering its series of applications: Sales Pipeline, Project Builder, Invoice Creator, Accounting Suite & Customer Support modules".

Customers get to choose the features needed depending on current requirements, with more applications able to be added later as the business grows.

The Office Space was founded in 2004 by creative leadership duo Boris and Naomi Tosic, and has “led the charge for innovative shared offices through deep and deliberate investment in its spaces, people and technology".

The company says its primary purpose is “to elevate the working experiences, professional development and business success of all its residents”, and says it “achieves this by creating intuitive work environments enhanced by architecture, design and art, bolstered by business support services, and activated through an engaging and informative program of events and activities".

Image description below – please turn phone horizontal to view full image if viewing on mobile. 

The image above shows David Kong, founder and developer of Excelera, with Carmen Lincolne (operations manager) and Naomi Tosic (business manager) at The Office Space based in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Below the trio is an image of Paramount by The Office Space, located in Surry Hills, which is the winner of Best Designed Office in The World at the 2016 World Architecture Festival (INSIDE Awards) in Berlin, Germany.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.