Data and technology expert Vik Tara, co-founder of property management app Rentr, looks at how cloud computing can bring a whole world of benefits to a small business.
In the 1990s there was a transformation for the property industry with the creation of simple PC programs that managed all paperwork in-house, to the internet boom where all information was accessible from anywhere.
Here at Rentr we love the cloud and have done for quite some time. Our background is in creating software that makes life a lot easier for the agency side of the property industry.
(1) Cloud computing is flexible
Above everything, our favourite aspect of cloud computing is its flexibility. If you need to grow, from cloud based systems it is easy to do so. New members of the work force can jump into documents and plans from anywhere in the world with a simple password and an internet connection. This makes your business agile, in the ever changing market places that a lot of us are in now – you can’t put a price on evolution and flexibility.
The beautiful thing about the cloud is that whilst somehow being a lot more flexible, it is far more reliable. Software is hosted in places that are backed by huge investment, your smaller spend is added to other users’ spend and the overall result is extremely reliable. Like a good business these places thrive on reputation.
(2) Software updates are automatic
All data centre servers are in a secure location offsite. Suppliers take care of everything, there is no waiting for a security update or general software updates, these happen behind the scenes and everything we work on is completely up to date saving us time and stress.
Using the cloud can make everything more secure, peace of mind allows you to concentrate on other aspects of the business in the comfort that all your data is secure, a laptop coffee spill, a stolen hard drive or a simple mis-click will not affect your business again. The Aberdeen Group even states that small businesses are twice as likely to have implemented cloud-based backup services than larger ones. Are you one of these pioneers?
After all, when was the last time we heard about a government official losing a floppy disk on a train?
You might be wondering about the costs, but a small monthly subscription actually negates the need for other in house costs and infrastructure. It doesn’t seem like long ago that we all needed the most powerful PCs to run various browsers and apps at the same time.
Now, with a lot of the processing taking places in the datacenters, our machines can be cheaper and far more convenient. A small laptop can harness the power of an entire datacenter from a cafe, the office or the living room sofa.
(6) Become more competitive
At minimal monthly costs, your fledgling company can have access to the software that five years ago would have cost the same as a two bed flat in London. Gone are the days of paying several thousand pounds for one or two licenses for software that will be out of date a year later.
Now, a monthly subscription online can provide the same fire power that never expires. Time = money. Due to the time reduction spent with IT issues, the company can become more productive and business focused.
(6) Collaboration is key
For growing small teams this is perfect, as collaboration is ever so important to companies on the up. Cloud-based workflows and services such as Google Drive and DropBox can be updated and worked on simultaneously the world over.
Anywhere with an internet connection can be your office – further increasing flexibility, giving the opportunity for a better work life balance will create a happy workforce. Happy employees will work harder for you; of this we are sure.
With people working on the documents at the same time from anywhere, there used to be problems with docs not being compatible with different machines, people working separately and someone having to implement everyone’s changes in a new doc whilst the files get emailed around the world at the same time – that has simply become an issue of the past with cloud computing.
(9) The bigger picture
We have just covered that the cloud really is the future for your small business, but think of the wider picture also; your old laptop can keep up for longer, the data centres implement updates that would have been needed for hundreds of thousands of customers around the world and you only use the power that you need at any one time.
These small changes, on a global scale add up. This super-connected future has huge knock down benefits for the environment.
If you are interested in hearing more about our uses of the cloud in property technology and where the technology has come from, there is a great piece here from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Vik Tara is one of the co-founders of Rentr, an app for private landlords to manage properties.
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