May 02, 2012
Cloud Technology and the Property Manager
the cloud could save Europe’s economy to printing and copying giant Xerox revealing that it’s been building a cloud-based service for the last several years, cloud computing is getting a lot of buzz in the media lately. But what is it? And, how will it affect the property management business?
The Cloud & SaaS: 24/7 Access Without The High Tech Burden
At it’s most basic, cloud computing is the ability to share infrastructure resources over the Internet. This means that software companies can keep their software running on large distributed networks of servers on the Internet and offer it to clients as a service. Software as a Service (SaaS) is accessed through a web browser, or a specially built application, rather than keeping software on company computers.
With SaaS, PC, Mac, tablet computers and smart phones can all access the same information without software compatibility issues. And, there’s no need to sync data across devices, as it’s all stored in a central location. That means if you make changes to a document from your computer in the office, the change will be made in the cloud and it will be there when you access it from your iPhone at home.
The cloud automatically keeps your data backed up by maintaining redundancies across the network. This often goes further than when you maintain your own in-house servers. In the case of a disaster, say a fire at your office, the flow and access to your information on the cloud would be completely uninterrupted. As well, data stored in the cloud is only accessed through a secured login, using the same methods as online banking. This allows you to control access to sensitive information to only those people with authorization.
As well as being able to access information from anywhere, cloud computing allows businesses to easily scale. Companies have the benefit of accessing as many or as few of the shared services that they may need, and only pay for what they need. In addition, each computer in your company no longer has to store and manage a lot of software and data, reducing the burden on IT infrastructure.
More Efficient Cloud-Based Property Management
There is a huge array of software offered on the cloud that’s aimed at making businesses more efficient. Google Docs for sharing files and phone services like Skype are just two of the more well known uses of cloud technology.
For property managers, the cloud represents an opportunity to take your office with you, wherever you need it to be. With document storage in the cloud, you can securely keep digital copies of leases and applications, reducing the space you need for filing and moving toward a paperless office.
More employees can work from the road or from home, and when there’s an emergency, you can respond to it with all the information you need, no matter what time of day it is. On-site staff and third-party contractors can be granted access to specific information to reduce delays in service. For example, up-to-date building plans can be kept in the cloud for HVAC or plumbing professionals to reference at service time.
The cloud can also help tenants access information more efficiently. A great example is enabling online maintenance requests to allow residents to see the status of their issue in real-time. Property management SaaS solutions also include portals to let tenants see their entire payment history and charges, as well as email reminders for billings and building operations. Tenant-focused software that can be accessed at home, at work or on-the-go; it caters to residents’ needs and helps property managers to deliver better customer service.
With cloud computing you can concentrate on growing your property management business and serving your tenants. Through efficient information management and cloud services, you’ll reduce overhead, IT infrastructure costs and the time needed to perform day-to-day business. The cloud may not be Europe’s saving grace, but it may very well be yours.