• NAI Global Offices

The Cloud Comes to CRE: How it’s Helping Agents Streamline Their Business

It’s official: just like so many other industries today, commercial real estate is going digital. The expansive capabilities of technology are continuously evolving and growing, and CRE is starting to innovate along the same lines. CRE professionals throughout the industry are turning to the cloud to both solve problems and to help increase their efficiency.

Let’s take a closer look at 3 ways agents are using cloud based technologies to help streamline their business:

Online offices open 24/7

Historically speaking, CRE professionals haven’t had much of a choice but to conduct their big or important meetings in their offices. Even something as basic, yet vital, as working with clients in the field could be very limited -- simply because all of the vital information and equipment was back in the office. Fortunately for today’s professionals, this is no longer the case. In fact, we’d venture to say that today’s CRE professional could work almost entirely independent of a traditional office, since it’s now possible to create everything from proposals to contracts using the numerous tools and applications that can be found in the cloud.

Thanks to technology, you have everything you need right at your fingertips, allowing you to work efficiently from virtually any location in the world. In other words, there’s never a need to put a deal on hold or experience a lag because you have to get back to the office to print a presentation or send a contract. As a result, CRE professionals are experiencing much greater mobility, which makes it possible to work smarter and not harder, serving clients not only faster but more efficiently, as well.

The elimination of paper clutter

Another way CRE professionals are using the cloud to streamline and literally clean up their business is through the elimination of paper. This one isn’t exclusive to the CRE industry -- today, everyone is trying to cut back on the amount of paper waste that they generate. In the past, the real estate industry (CRE included) has been notorious for the massive amounts of documentation it produced. Not only can this documentation be overwhelming and cumbersome, it also simply isn’t environmentally responsible.

Today’s CRE professionals are able to save everything online and then access those files in real time from virtually anywhere in the world. Online services, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, provide professionals with the opportunity to dump their server, while gaining increased access to their files -- a win win.

Spending less time on research and more time on closing deals

While research is truly critical to producing successful deals in CRE, industry professionals have long felt they had little choice but to spend disproportionate amounts of time conducting research, cutting into time that could be better spent on other things, such as prospecting or meeting with clients. Today, online information providers make it possible for CRE professionals to conduct their research faster and more efficiently, allowing them more time to spend face-to-face with clients closing deals, while still having access to top-notch research that can provide a competitive edge.

While the technology wave has definitely hit the CRE industry, we predict this is just the start of a much larger set of digital trends in the industry. For instance, virtual reality could open up new doors (both literal and figurative) when it comes to viewing properties in real time, cutting down on potentially expensive travel and time between viewings. There have also been hints that CRE will begin to use artificial intelligence, AI, to become smarter and drive profits.

While these may seem like they have the potential to have negative impacts on the CRE workforce, rest assured this simply isn’t the case. As with all real estate, so much of CRE depends heavily on relationship building skills and communication, both very human in nature. For now, these new technologies are simply here to help professionals increase their efficiency and drive profits.

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