Technology is having a huge impact on our daily lives. Look how smartphones and tablets have changed the way we do things.
Making a call, sending a text or email are just the start. You can also catch the news, check the stock market, do some shopping, book dinner – or pretty much anything else. All using the one gadget from wherever you happen to be.
Imagine if you could enjoy the same speed, flexibility and control running your business. Well, you can. Technology-powered ways of working have already occurred in other industries. Now it's happening in the property sector. That's not surprising when you consider how it can drive efficiency, lower costs and improve sales and service.
What will the (near) future look like?
Currently, different applications are used to manage daily business activities, such as client contact, property listings, financials and more. All of these applications are installed on desktop computers and supported by in-house IT.
Increasingly, these applications will be delivered from the cloud using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. That means you can work with applications and data from any enabled device, whether it's your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet. And you can do it from anywhere you have network access.
Equally significant, is the trend to control multiple activities with one interface, which offers five main advantages.
1. Save time and effort
Managing workflows through a single dashboard makes the whole process simpler and faster. This gives you more time to focus on leads or improving customer service. It's also far easier to master one dashboard than numerous desktop applications, which is a real advantage for new staff.
2. Identify opportunities
Applications that integrate workflows with data give you a 360-degree view of customers, especially if they include market data. This allows you to monitor performance, offer proactive advice and deliver extra value with your service. Furthermore, you can pinpoint opportunities to grow your business.
3. Respond faster
Desktop applications simply don't deliver the anytime-anywhere responsiveness needed in today's connected world. With cloud applications, you can work and access information while on the move to react faster. You have a consistent experience whatever the device, and data is synchronised in the cloud so you never have to worry about data accuracy.
4. Protect your reputation and bottom line
If your office server fails, it may take hours to get back online. But multiple cloud-based servers only take seconds to restore. You don't have to worry about break-ins, fire or floods either. Then there's the threat of virtual security breaches that can compromise customer and financial data. Cloud providers have multiple layers of defence monitored by dedicated security teams. This can provide better protection than in-house security.
5. Simplify ownership
With cloud-based servers and software, you don't have to deal with patches, upgrades and general maintenance since it's all done for you. Cloud applications are also provided on a pay-as-you-go basis. That means it's far simpler and more cost-efficient to gear them up or down to match fluctuations in your business.
Given these benefits, we believe new technology-enabled methods of working will become the normal way of doing business. Early adopters are already taking advantage of it, and the rest of the industry will follow. So the smart move is for real estate operators to start investigating the options available.