The Australian real estate market has undergone enormous technological change in the past 20 years. Whilst much of this has been driven by how customers prefer to consume information (think: online property search versus newspaper ads), agents are increasingly recognising the benefits new technology such as cloud services can provide these benefits, not just to marketing and customer relations, but also business systems and processes.
Many sales agents and property managers spend a lot of time in the field. Information is gathered, but can’t be actioned until they return to the office. Cloud services can solve this challenge by providing access to systems as and where your company needs them. Once regarded as a buzzword for technology geeks, cloud services now play a vital role across all operational areas in almost every industry including real estate, where they support sales administration, property management, trust accounting and more.
Cloud services are essentially subscription-based systems accessed via the Internet, rather than running directly off your computer or server. Commonly known by the acronym aaS (as-a-Service), they are hosted remotely by a company, like a managed service provider (MSP) who stores, manages and supports your IT function using their own infrastructure and applications. Think of it as your own IT department or manager, but without the overheads!
You may have heard of some acronyms based on this concept, like IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). These are just some of the many cloud-based services available today, but for now let’s explore the broader aaS concept, how it differs from on-premise IT solutions and how it can support your real estate business. We’ll save exploring these other acronyms for another article!
Prior to the introduction of aaS, the traditional approach to IT management has been to purchase, install and maintain systems on-site. This gives the business owner a high level of control, however it also requires significant upfront capital and ongoing upgrade costs, puts extra demand on staff resources and depends heavily on reliably powered, internet-connected and physically secure facilities.
It’s important to note that cloud technology is not a passing trend; it’s here to stay, and has been around for some time. We use it every day, often without realising, when we access services like Gmail or social media platforms. So when it comes to improving business systems and processes, cloud services are not so much a revolution, but an expansion of the benefits we already enjoy.
So how exactly does as-a-Service help your real estate business? Here are some key benefits to consider:
- Innovation and Expertise – Agility is a cornerstone of success in today’s business, and real estate is no exception. aaS enables you to be an innovator, integrating the latest system functionality immediately it becomes available without taking your staff away from higher priority tasks. Installations, maintenance and upgrades are managed by your MSP, eliminating the frustration and delay of system downtime and outages. You get continuous, expert support without the need for in-house IT resources. Your MSP also has access to highly sophisticated infrastructure security, and can provide a level of protection that for most in-house IT systems would be cost-prohibitive.
- Flexibility and Scalability – Even with the best reporting and projection capabilities, it can be challenging to anticipate when, where and how systems will be needed. Rather than purchasing a system or systems outright that might not be fully utilised, aaS provides optimal efficiency through subscription-based access to systems owned by the MSP. You only pay for what you need, and systems can be quickly scaled up or down as required – making them more cost effective and responsive to operational shifts like a growing sales team, new marketing activities and changes to financial reporting. By keeping operational costs down, aaS allows more capital to be channelled into helping your business grow. And by utilising infrastructure already in place in the cloud, it also enables you to trial new products at minimal expense.
Cloud based technologies such as aaS can benefit real estate operations in numerous ways. Whilst physical systems can meet many day-to-day operational needs, the pace of technological change, cost pressures and changing market demands can make it difficult to remain competitive. With the expert support of an MSP, business owners can leverage the time, cost and resource efficiencies of as-a-Service to remain agile and grow their real estate franchise.
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 email@example.com for more information.