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    Cost and Time Efficient Cloud Computing Tools

    Stop wasting precious hours during the day on nonessential chores, this time could be better spent selling houses. Instead of dreaming about the possibilities of streamlined, more efficient office productivity, how about actually getting more accomplished each day? Making small changes can result in a big difference in daily production and overall office efficiency. Business professionals are in luck these days, because thanks to modern innovation and technological advances there are a number of helpful in-house tools. The trick is to find ones that work and discard those that are complex or simply won’t work because they don’t fit the needs of your office. As a real estate veteran, I can tell you first hand the variety of problems, delays and general annoyances that can pop up daily. To help alleviate the stress of doing hours of research or endless searches, check out the suggestions, tools and support resources below, which can assist your real estate office in maintaining successful daily operations. Using Cloud Computing At first glance, using the cloud in real estate might seem like a scary adventure, one where you’re not sure which way to go and what to tackle first. Cloud computing is one of the greatest technological advances of our times. Cloud can turn confusing office resources into cost efficient utilities. Simple ways cloud computing can a meaningful impact on daily operations: • Increase bandwidth and data storage, beyond the computer’s hard drive • No overages, only pay for the Central Processing Unit (CPU) cycles used • Pay less for common cloud based business applications • Technical support isn’t needed for installing, configuring and testing updates • Sales force can log on anywhere, from any device Remote Collaboration and Communication in the Cloud There’s a new frontier opening up with cloud computing. Pretty soon sales agents, office workers, other team members and clients will be thinking outside the box because your office has a cloud, and is willing to travel. The only thing you need to have is Microsoft Office 365, it’s an online tool that connects everyone on the team, and any member can remotely join the project at a moment’s notice. Just send an invitation for team members to join to collaborate on a document. Office 365 is for sharing documents, files and reports with all team members. Another time saving cloud app is Dropbox for Business. Sales force members and team support members can seamlessly share, sync and store files securely. Dropbox provides an effortless way to collaborate with a remote team, and it offers a 30 day free trial, which is great for those real estate offices that aren’t quite sure which app is best suited for their daily needs. Cloud Computing Increases Marketing Campaigns Hootsuite is Cloud Computing which takes advantage of social media networks as a method of outreach. The enterprise portion of Hootsuite handles seamless social media integration with IBM Connections Social Cloud. Your real estate office won’t believe how it ever got along without Hootsuite Social Cloud. It allows user controlled activity from a single dashboard, which eliminates the inconvenience of members logging in with different accounts. Some other efficient marketing tools which utilize the Cloud are MailChimp, Vimeo and Slide Share. MailChimp is freeware, yet it’s advanced enough for professional, business correspondence. If your real estate office performs in-house training or sales meetings using PowerPoint, Vimeo and Slide Share and YouTube or if you want to advertise properties online these simple apps make it easy to share information or videos with clients.

    Moving Accounting beyond QuickBooks and Excel Spreadsheets Since most small-to-medium size real estate offices are likely to be privately owned, there’s a desire to keep accounting as simple as possible. While this does cut down on expenses, the entire office is more or less held captive by a spreadsheet. Resist the urge to keep doing things the same way because that’s the way you’ve always performed the task for years. Cloud business accounting goes beyond the capabilities of QuickBooks and Excel. Cloud suites allow you to keep costs down while adding efficiencies. More importantly, new software takes the possibility of human error out of the equation, unlike spreadsheets, which must be manually updated. Your office can exceed the capacity limits with regular software. Cloud moves accounting to the next level with real time sales data, which can be completed, input and updated on property, even in remote locations. A good upgrade solution is Xero. Xero is really simple-to-use cloud based accounting software, it has seamless integration and it’s designed for businesses that have grown beyond the limits of QuickBooks. The possibilities are endless with Xero, for instance there are over 400 third party apps for tracking inventory, expenses, purchase orders and sales, mobile invoicing, banking, PayPal and credit card reconciliations. Other features include cash flow management and mobile apps for Android phones, iPads and iPhones.

    Secure Password Management Lastly, Last Pass is a great resource for storing multiple passwords, each sales person or team member sets up a one-time account to save all accounts regularly used by the office. No more remembering multiple passwords or searching for a lost password written down on a sheet of paper. Last Pass makes it simple to log-in all day, this saves time for more important daily tasks.