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Do you get the cloud?

Expert Samir Samara explains how and why your business would work better in the Cloud - and why it's the future of more cost effective IT for agent.

Property Drum

001_get_on_my_cloudWe live and work in a digital age where most of us now use computers to communicate more than paper and pen or even the phone, making our equipment and software choices increasingly important. But how many of us get the cloud?

There are a number of excellent suppliers of estate and lettings agency software throughout the UK property industry providing tailored systems to suit a wide range of  property firms, from start-ups to major chains. They offer various essential features,  such as html mailers, full integration with MS Word, wizard driven data entry systems,  one touch property matching, among many others, so staying abreast of evolving  technology, although sometimes difficult, is essential for any agent wanting to stay on top of their business.

The software or services that you use, depending on compatibility, may dictate the type  of computer hardware required, and therefore influences the sort of devices that your firm opts to use, be it Dell, Mac, HP, iPad, Samsung, or a host of other pieces of  computer equipment.

With technology rapidly changing and new tools for agents regularly being introduced,  it may be difficult to know whether your company should be using a PC or Mac, iPads or tablets smartphones or what? But can’t you have it all?

Should you be using PC or Mac? iPAds or tablets? smartphones… or what?

Cloud

With the emergence of Cloud ‘remote hosted’ technologies, the focus is no longer on operating systems; Windows or IOS but more on homogenised ‘Apps’. No longer do you
face the boundaries of what you can use on your PC – you can have that information ‘live and simultaneous’ on your iPad, android phone and surface tablet.

Fully integrated Cloud-based systems allow estate agents to logon to virtual office software from anywhere with an internet connection; providing a fully configured office environment.

Cloud allows more agents to have a mixture of devices by competing operators:  Microsoft, Apple, Google and so on, it is important to have a solution where this all works. So let’s put this to the test, by looking at two hypothetical examples:

Scenario 1

Tom has a Windows 7 PC running Office 2010. He also has a Samsung Galaxy s3 and
an iPad mini.

He would like to run his estate agency software on all devices but is it only accessible on his PC due to it connecting with MS word and Outlook. When out on a valuation he would like to show example brochures and complete his terms and conditions whilst with his new client, but cannot use MS Word on his iPad. Not being able to access his estate agency software, he is unable to match this new instruction to any potential applicants
and email the details out whilst still onsite or check his office diary to book any viewings, as this does not sync between his software, outlook and his mobile devices.

Tom is left feeling frustrated.

Scenario 2

Serge uses a Remote Desktop offering ‘BYOD’ (bring your own device) – he has a  Macbook Pro and an iPhone but his agency software only runs on Windows on the office PC.

Cloud, which is accessible on any device (cross platform, meaning it can be viewed on Windows, IOS, smartphone, PC, tablet or iPad and so forth), enables Serge to logon  remotely via a browser to view his ‘desktop’ from anywhere, at any time. This means that he does not have to sync information between different computer devices and platforms, as everything is live and simultaneous.

What’s more, he can access any of his estate agency and property management software, regardless of whether it is server or web based. He can also match properties to  applicants, email them, write-up property brochures, letters of instruction and check his diary to arrange viewings.

And the best thing about this is that some Cloud systems offer the latest versions of all
Microsoft products fully licensed and supplied, and so he does not have to update or buy new servers or PCs ever and they require no support.

January 22, 2014

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