As technology paves the way for Australian businesses to compete in an increasingly global marketplace, many industries that were once location-dependent now have the freedom and flexibility to operate anywhere. Improved mobile networks, widespread wi-fi access and a growing number of cloud-based services are just some of the technologies underpinning this shift.
Of all these advances, cloud services, particularly Software as a Service (SaaS) presents perhaps the greatest opportunity for the real estate industry and business owners. Agents frequently spend a lot of time in the field, where access to office-based information and systems has previously been limited. But now many of these systems, including Microsoft Office, are available in the cloud – giving agents flexibility to perform a range of tasks from anywhere, anytime.
Known as Microsoft Office 365, the cloud-based version of this popular software is a subscription-based service hosted by Microsoft Azure. It provides access to the entire range of Office programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, as well as SharePoint and OneDrive enabling agents to access documents and data, collaborate and hold Skype meetings and manage email and calendar scheduling just as they would if they were in the office. And since the software itself is already familiar to many of them, most will make the transition comfortably and easily.
Aside from greater functionality for end users, Microsoft Office 365 also has a range of operational benefits for real estate business owners. These include:
- Scalability – The subscription-based model means you can pay only for the programs, support level and amount of storage you need, allowing you to scale up or down as your business requires, respond proactively to market or growth opportunities and control costs.
- Security – Office 365 has highly sophisticated security controls and monitoring managed entirely by Microsoft – so you never have to worry about whether your system is protected or devote staff resources to the time consuming task of installing patches and updates.
- Real time data – All the information stored in Office 365 is updated in real time – there’s no need to be in the office, wait for a download or send documents via email – enabling you to make decisions based on the latest information and act responsively to customer needs.
- Less Overheads – Because there is no need to purchase the software or upgrades outright or allocate staff resources to its installation and maintenance, Office 365 enables you to reduce IT equipment costs and redirect these funds towards business growth activities. It also frees up your staff to focus on more important tasks.
- Reliability – Using a hosted cloud service such as Office 365 is like having around the clock IT support, so any downtime is kept to a minimum. Microsoft Azure also provides 24/7 phone support for users, so everyone in the business can access help when and where they need it and maintain optimal productivity.
The pace of change in Australia’s real estate market means it’s no longer optional for business owners to utilise the latest technologies if they want to remain competitive. Cloud based SaaS options like Microsoft Office 365 give agents the flexibility to perform tasks and access real time information while they’re in the field, boosting productivity and service delivery. They also provide business owners with greater control and budgeting capability to support their unique needs – all of which help them respond and adapt to market changes whilst still growing the business.
If change and meeting your customers’ needs is a constant, doing nothing isn’t an option. Be sure you are partnering with a company with the depth and breadth of expertise you require. Particularly one who can help you navigate end-to-end managed services, cloud, mobile and paperless office technology. GPK consultant, Ben Holian, is available for a no obligation discussion on how GPK can help you reduce operational costs, manage your IT footprint more effectively and create an exceptional experience for your customers. Contact: Phone 1300 000 475 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.