Two-thirds of all US companies have moved at least part of their business operations into “the cloud” and yet many people don’t understand what that means. Where is the cloud? What is Software-as-a-Service and how is it more efficient? Moreover, what is the tangible return on investment for real estate companies?
Software-as-a-Service, otherwise known as SaaS, is a technology which allows software that would normally be installed directly on your computer to instead be accessible over the internet - i.e. 'the cloud.' You can access your SaaS tool from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection. This eliminates the need to install and update software, and it frees you from being tied to any one machine. SaaS is considered a 'cloud-based' technology because all of the 'stuff' that provides the service is located elsewhere, and all you interact with is the user interface.
SaaS Technologies You Probably Already Depend On
A number of companies have demonstrated the power of SaaS technology to grow business, streamline workflows and save real dollars across a variety of industries. Salesforce is one of the most widely known and used SaaS programs. Primarily a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, Salesforce also integrates with an ecosystem of applications and third-party plugins that extend its capabilities. Salesforce.com posts a number of impressive ROI metrics, including:
- 85% of companies increased their sales pipeline visibility and quality,
- 65% of companies acquired new customers as a result of using Salesforce, and
- 64% of companies reduced sales, service, marketing or other operational costs.
NetSuite started as an online accounting tool and has grown to encompass an array of business functions. Customers of NetSuite have reduced IT costs by as much as 93 percent and they’ve seen operational savings of up to 20 percent. LinkedIn, LogMeIn and ConstantContact are just a few other cloud-based SaaS technologies that you’ve probably used - and more importantly, couldn’t imagine going without now.
3 Reasons SaaS Will Revolutionize Real Estate
Real estate design, construction and operations are areas ripe to see massive returns on investment in SaaS tools. Consider key aspects of the real estate industry and how SaaS can help:
1. Real estate is mobile.
Most owners, operators and clients in the industry are often not at their desks when business is being conducted. SaaS tools allow real estate professionals to access the data they need from any location, using laptops, tablets or smartphones.
2. Real estate is data driven.
SaaS tools allow data access any time in any place, and they also enable third-party data integration in a way that's unified and customized to the business.
3. Real estate requires a strong focus on operations and efficiency.
SaaS tools allow instant access to key data and metrics, including construction reports, inventory statistics, payment and rent data, and marketing information.
Real Estate SaaS Tools You Can Use Today
Honest Buildings is a platform that's purpose-built to bring transparency, organization and efficiency to the real estate industry. Launched in 2012, Honest Buildings’ platform has originated over $500M in projects and has partnered with many of the leading owners and developers in NYC. Honest Buildings’ Prime is a suite of bid management and workflow tools that give owners and operators powerful insights into their projects. Prime customers have seen a significant return on their investment, including the ability to:
- Systematically reduce project pricing by implementing a competitive bidding process.
- Build internal pricing intelligence.
- Save time with streamlined bid leveling.
- Minimize counterparty risk prior to hiring a contractor.
VTS and Hightower are two SaaS companies focused specifically on managing office space leasing. They both allow asset managers to track available space, rental metrics and leasing performance of their office properties. As a result, users are able to significantly reduce the time it takes to syndicate their listings and distribute marketing materials, and enhance their ability to manage and measure deal conversions.
SiteCompli simplifies the incredibly complex task of managing New York City compliance issues. By aggregating data from across city agencies, including violations, complaints, inspections, fines and more, SiteCompli provides building owners with a dashboard tool that allows them to stay ahead of potential problems.
From accessing commercial lease comps through Compstak, managing jobsite collaboration with FieldLens, or accessing property-specific data on Reonomy, SaaS tools and related real estate technology are transforming the way real estate business is done.