Desktop software is dead
I started in the commercial real estate technology business selling desktop CRM software more than twenty years ago. It was an important time as the industry was moving from paper-based systems to computers. A big part of my sales pitch involved convincing companies that using a PC made good sense.
Today the technology landscape of our industry is going through a similar paradigm shift. It is moving from desktop software to online apps. Now my message it that the best tools to run your business are all online. The desktop is dead, and here is why the cloud is better.
Nothing to install
Buying desktop software today is not much different than when I was in the business twenty years ago. Each user in your company needs to install and configure the program independently. You need to buy and install future upgrades. There are annual service contracts and usually ongoing IT costs to keep everything humming.
Today you subscribe to something like the ClientLook commercial real estate CRM online. You access your account online through any web browser. There’s nothing to install, and ongoing upgrades are applied automatically. Unlimited service is included. You can access your account using any computer, operating system (Windows or Mac) and mobile device.
No legacy anchors
Imagine if you could only receive calls while sitting at your desk. That’s not unlike the way legacy desktop software works since it anchors you to one computer and often an internal network. Your business is mobile these days though and it needs to follow you everywhere.
In most cases Internet access is commonly available so you can access cloud-based services anywhere you go. That’s even true for plane travel since most flights have Wi-Fi now. I routinely access Google Apps for creating presentations while flying. My car even has a built-in browser so I can view files stored in Dropbox. Move to the cloud and you can literally run your entire business on the road or in the air.
It’s not always practical to open your laptop and log into a web-based account while on the go. Most cloud-based services are accessible from any mobile device with Internet access though. That helps you spend more time being productive.
During your next property tour you can access tools like the eXplore iPad app by Xceligent to get up to the minute intelligence on properties. With screen sizes on phones steadily increasing we should see more companies developing robust apps for this form factor for even greatly flexibility.
Your data is safer
Data failure is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. If your data is stored online though it is typically protected by frequent backups and redundant servers that prevent data loss.
Considering that so much of your business involves information, you need the type of security available in the cloud to ensure that data failures never affect you.
We live in an on-demand world. We expect instant access to media, news and data. The parties involved in a real estate transaction are no different. Gone are the days of antiquated monthly marketing reports using spreadsheets. The need for information is far more immediate and ongoing.
Cloud-based services allow you to deliver a whole new level of service and communicate in real-time. With online deal management systems you can share documents, organize emails and create a collaborative environment that accelerates deal flow.