For our final Homefiniti and Beyond of 2020 we took a look at our namesake product, Homefiniti. Peter van der Does and Dennis ONeil joined me to review what changes we made to Homefiniti in 2020 and what plans we have in store for it in 2021. 2020 certainly brought us some curveballs that sped up changes we had in store and brought to the forefront other updates. We increased views for locations, plans and specs on Homefiniti by nearly 300% over 2019 and 2021 promises to bring even more growth. From what we accomplished to what we have planned, one thing is certain, Homefiniti never stops growing and changing.
How exactly do the changes come to fruition and what goes into making the plans? It all goes down at the weekly roadmap meetings held by Dennis, Peter and the developers. They take into consideration the feedback that current Homefiniti users provide, they listen for home building industry insights and trends and then they figure out what’s doable, what’s dreamable and where they can logistically fit it into the timeline. And of course, nothings set in stone and plans change constantly.
For example, we didn’t plan on the world switching quite so dramatically on March 13th. But it did and with it, came a nearly overnight need for more online sales tools. In short order, one update made in 2020 was the addition of video calling capabilities. OSC’s can now add and maintain available hours for Facetime and other video calling based on their availability and related to specific communities.
Unrelated to the pandemic but definitely a 2020 specific upgrade was the CCPA rollout of 2020. Based on the new law taking effect in California in July of 2020, we made several enhancements to security and data collection on Homefiniti to ensure compliance with the new law. Not to mention the addition of several changes that CCPA rolled out during the year.
We launched Homefiniti analytics and the ability to add lots as well as an MLS integration to manage specs. Homefiniti analytics gives builders a unique view into the information that Homefiniti collects on how their website is being used. Instead of giving Google Analytics type information about pageviews and time on site, it provides builder specific information like how many leads came in for specific divisions and communities on their site. And with the addition of lots and the MLS integration, builders who specialize in OYL or spec homes, now have a better ability to manage those homes through one dashboard.
Many of these changes came to be out of the idea that we try to limit the duplication of work for our builders. Why load content into a feed and your website, when you could just load it onto your website which will generate the distribution feed? Conversely, if you have to load specs into an MLS database, you shouldn’t have to load them into homefiniti as well.
With that in mind, one of the big changes we’re looking to make in 2021 is to the digital asset manager. While we currently eliminate some media duplication through a parent child relationship between specs, plans and locations, it doesn’t eliminate all of it. The upgrade that is planned will allow for images, videos and pdf’s to be searchable in the back end so that if you upload an image or video as a hero image one page, you can also use it again perhaps in a blog post or an album rather than having to upload it a second time. This will speed up the functionality of the site and should increase the efficiency with which a site is maintained as well.
Also planned are continued enhancements to Homefiniti Analytics as well as infrastructure upgrades. Dennis and Peter equate this to improvements on the concrete used to pour the foundation for a home. Not exciting externally, but provide improvements to user experience of the builders and buyers alike.
If 2020 taught us anything it was that the ability to be nimble and change course at the drop of a hat is paramount to the success of businesses everywhere. So while we have these grand plans for 2021, it will be interesting to see where it actually takes us.
Thanks for joining us for the first 18 episodes of Homefiniti and Beyond. Join us back here on Friday, January 8th when I will be sharing team ONeil’s favorite apps that help us do our jobs.