Cloud Computing Ideal For New Real Estate Offices

Cloud Computing is a trendy name for when you use your internet connection to connect to applications running on the web that would traditionally be installed and run on each of your computers. One of the best and most popular cloud computing solutions is Google Apps although technically web based real estate solutions also fit into the definition as well.

Google Apps provides email, instant messaging, spreadsheets, word processing, presentation and collaborative team websites in an online cloud solution. Since its release it has been fairly US centric however I can remember reading somewhere a little while back that over 5000 small business in Australia have signed up for Google Apps. That might be set to increase now.

Google Apps finally has an Aussie flavour with Devnet and NetRegistry teaming up to be the first resellers in Australia. Till recently attaching Google Apps to a .com.au domain was a manual and technical task but this latest advance means you can now purchase a .com.au domain to be used with Google Apps right from their website as a normal part of the signup process.

The cost to setup word processing, spreadsheet, instant messaging, Intranet, presentation software and email virus scanning is very expensive and online applications make all this available for a 5 person office less than the cost of just a single a copy of Microsoft Office.

In fact, if your willing to put up with a a few ads here and there, along with no telephone support you can even have it for free. Google Apps also allows users to act collaboratively, something that is only available with additional server versions of installed software such as Microsoft Small Business Server.

Existing agencies can take advantage of a host of official and non official migration tools which converts your existing email and documents over to Google Apps.

Google Apps is now integrated with Salesforce which provides web based CRM facilities into the mix. Check out their Product Tour at www.salesforce.com/products/google/apps/tour/. Having your office software integrated into your CRM is really a slick combination that is well suited to smaller agencies.

Unfortunately as an office gets larger so does the administration load and having a solution that can integrate trust, listings management, ages and commission into the CRM mix is where solutions like Hubonline, Multiarray and Portplus. There is no perfect solution blending it all into one and its a matter of which one do you want your CRM to integrate best with, your normal office software or your real estate administration.

Both Salesforce and Google Apps are fairly open to developers to integrate other solutions so if someone could develop the holy grail, a solution to integrate a real estate administration solution with the already existing salesforce/google apps combination it would win a lot of larger agencies very easily. Can I smell a startup?

Until then if you are starting up a new agency or running an agency with under 10 staff it may be well worth your time to consider a Google Apps or a Google Apps/Salesforce Combination.

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About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

3 Responses to Cloud Computing Ideal For New Real Estate Offices

  1. Mo June 5, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Glenn wrote:

    “Both Salesforce and Google Apps are fairly open to developers to integrate other solutions so if someone could develop the holy grail, a solution to integrate a real estate administration solution with the already existing salesforce/google apps combination it would win a lot of larger agencies very easily. Can I smell a startup?”

    I thought it would be great if for example the leads that come from the real estate web portals automatically are stored in the office’s database. This is so that I do not have to copy-paste or re-type my leads. Do our portals allow for such a service? This would be a beginning of integrating applications. It is a next step after the bulkuploading.

  2. Glenn Nicholas June 19, 2008 at 7:08 am #

    I think cloud computing offers a lot for smaller agents than is generally realised. Particularly when relatively small offices are facing substantial fees to replace/upgrade basic office servers that do nothing more than basic email, file and print. There are a few ideas on using low cost cloud computing services (including Google Apps) over at Office In The Cloud.

  3. Eric - Office in Cloud January 8, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Now 2,5 years after this article was posted there have been happening a lot. The only smart choice for new start ups and small business are Cloud computing. The cost is as low as $21 a month over at Amazon EZ2 and there is a lot of free Cloud services like Google Apps, Dropbox and more.

    For a complete guide to move your Office Into the Cloud check out my website.

    Regards
    Eric

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