'Cloud' computing improves efficiency and effectiveness for agents, one franchise has claimed after embracing the technology.
Andrew Simpson, business solutions manager at Elders Real Estate, said its previous email system wasn’t working for the company.
“Many of our franchisees experienced an email system that was difficult to configure, issue-prone and incapable of supporting the rapid uptake of mobile devices," Mr Simpson said in a blog he posted recently.
“This meant the IT department spent too much of their time responding to a stream of requests for email assistance. Faced with these problems, we saw an opportunity to be more efficient with 'Google Apps for Business’ cloud-based communication and collaboration tools.”
Mr Simpson said the cloud network has created a company-wide intranet where all training, expertise and trend information is available to franchisees on demand.
“This has helped to create a stronger community culture as more people are now proactively sharing information rather than it being directed from head office,” Mr Simpson said.
Elders switch to cloud-based computing comes not long after Scott Wulff, CEO at MyDeskTop, a CRM software package, suggested this was the way of the future for principals.
"I mean, I cry every time I hear of a principal spending $30,000 on a server, and that is not unusual," Mr Wulff said at the recent Real Estate Business Technology Roundtable. "In fact, I know of two in the past two months, but you could get away with buying 10 iPads at $600 each and achieve the same end goal if your technology is ‘right’ within the office."
Eddie Cetin, managing director at Agentbox, agreed, and said that top agents are making the most of cloud computing.
"I’d ... say having a cloud-based mobility for the people out there, and the top performers are using that to their advantage," he said. "Having that instant information, having that ability to automate those tasks, follow up, client nurturing – having all of that [information] in their CRM makes them a top performer, which really allows them to handle four times the amount of listings."
Elders is also using Google analytics to monitor which pages and topics agents find most helpful, the blog said.
Since moving to Google Apps, Mr Simpson said the company's efficiency and effectiveness has increased.
“On-the-go sales people and property managers have access to the most recent calendars and emails on their mobiles and shared calendars mean that staff no longer have to make multiple phone calls to confirm availability, instead appointments can be scheduled on the spot," he said.
“Google Apps for Business has been a win for the IT team too. Due to the predictability of the cloud, franchisees no longer have to worry about backing up email or documents.
“This has virtually eliminated email-related calls to the help desk and allowed IT to spend time on more strategic projects that have real business impact.”