Key Takeaways

  • We often pick up new things and wave them around before we know what they actually are—including technology.
  • Cloud-based tech is making headway in all sorts of industries, but we may not understand it completely.
  • Understanding and adapting to its capabilities can be a great business move—but proceed with caution.

Like a baby with a pair of pliers, we often pick new things up and wave them around before we know what they actually are. This happens frequently with technology. We’ve all been amused by the middle-aged person talking about “the Facebook” or calling a spreadsheet “big data.” Be careful, you might put an eye out…

A big idea that a lot of us are still wrapping our heads around is Cloud Computing. We know that it’s becoming common in all sorts of applications, and we may even be using it, but we’re a little fuzzy on the details.

The biggest thing I personally had an issue with was putting my information in a place that I don’t control —but as we know, we don’t really control anything in life except our thoughts. So, I did the thing that was hard, but it made my company much more efficient and collaborative.

Getting a grip on a few key elements of this technology can help you to use it more effectively, so read on.

#1: Definition, please…

First of all, what’s a simple definition of cloud computing? PC Magazine tells us that it “means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.”

Most of us get that.  We appreciate the advantages of being able to store data remotely, rather than on our computer’s hard drive. For starters, if your computer crashes or your laptop’s stolen, your files are still safe and accessible. You can get to them from any device, and share them with colleagues and clients. Great stuff –but really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cloud.

And, there are benefits all around …

#2: Secure Transactions

Access to cloud-based applications and storage has revolutionized business. In real estate, it’s enabled us to handle transactions online, slashing the time it takes to assemble the required paperwork, conduct negotiations, and secure signatures.

#3: Efficient Collaboration

The ability to organize data and make it accessible to everyone involved in a project makes teamwork much more efficient, and information is consistent and up to date.

#4: Better Customer Service

For clients, cloud computing means more responsive and relevant service. When agents have instant access to extensive market and property data, they can quickly answer questions and respond to client requests.

#5: Implications for Property Management

Clients and tenants also benefit when the cloud is used for building management. Data can be automatically collected from smart building systems that indicate where efficiency might be improved and also provide information on usage and maintenance activity. More efficient management saves money and makes the tenants happy.

The cloud is proving so useful that a new industry has sprung up around providing related services.

#6: Okay, but what is iPaaS?

This term, Integration Platform as a Service, refers to a new approach to combining data from various sources in the cloud, and then providing the information to customers.  It means that work done in a variety of formats and applications can be consolidated, whether the source is on-site or cloud-based. The service allows for housing data so that businesses do not have to dedicate space or personnel to the task.

A note of caution …

We all have to learn about cyber security. We’ve taken the plunge in many aspects of our daily life, and business should be no exception. I’ve written about cyber security here and here.

Enterprise cloud services are rapidly being developed. This area is a billion-dollar industry that will likely expand even more in the years to come.