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How cloud computing saves businesses big money

Cloud computing has long been a hot topic, but many still don’t grasp what it is or understand the cost savings associated with operating in the cloud. It’s not a sci-fi term, it’s a simple tech term that can save businesses big money.

Hot topic: cloud computing

Everyone is talking about cloud computing – AGBeat first wrote on the topic five years ago. It’s been a long-standing hot topic and it’s not hard to see why. Cloud technologies offer many key benefits to businesses both small and large.

A simple definition of cloud computing without getting too technical is software that’s hosted on the internet. It’s the ability to access data and applications from anywhere you have an internet connection. Conversely, software not on the cloud is software that’s downloaded on a computer. Let’s explore cloud computing in a bit more depth and why it may be a good idea for you to move to the cloud.

One key benefit is reduced cost. With a system hosted on the internet (think of a web-based real estate CRM), upgrades, product enhancements, and support are included. There’s also less capital investment required because of the fact that the pricing structure for a web-based system involves a monthly subscription fee and little or no upfront cost. And oftentimes, you’ll actually save a lot of money in the long-term as well – when you purchase a product and have to pay every year for support and upgrades, it can be extremely costly.

Risk, commitment, mobility, and security

Cloud based technology also involves less risk and commitment. Let’s say you purchase a PC-based software solution and you then realize you made the wrong decision. At this point, there’s nothing you can do other than eat your losses and move on. Cloud computing utilizes a “pay as you go” model meaning that as soon as you want to stop using the technology, or feel it’s not right for you, you can usually cancel without a penalty.

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Moreover, cloud technologies are more secure due to advanced security technologies that cloud-based systems employ and the frequent real-time data backups that occur. Your data is much more at risk on your PC than when it’s not hosted online, in the cloud.

Mobility is another key reason why you should consider a move to the cloud. When your data is hosted on the internet, you can access it from wherever you are, provided you have an internet connection. Think about the convenience this affords. Imagine working on your CRM from your iPad or tablet. Cloud technology also allows for greater team collaboration as multiple team members can access and work on the system at the same time, regardless of where they happen to be located.

Lastly, when you’re required to download software to your computer(s), this takes up space on your hard drive. With cloud technologies, you don’t have to worry about running out of space. Furthermore, you’re able to store more data on the web than you can on a private computer system.

A business decision

Smart business decisions mean making the right choices when it comes to technology. Key considerations like cost effectiveness, accessibility, and security should drive decision-making. It’s very possible you’ll realize that moving to the cloud and transitioning to a cloud-based business model is the right decision for you and your business.

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Written By

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Roland Estrada

    March 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I like the cloud concept to a degree. For example syncing services such as Dropbox, Box, iCloud and others. Where I personally draw the line is CRM. I don’t care for the idea of paying someone to host a database that I already own. Part of that is a personal gripe – it grinds me that so many utilities in real estate demand a monthly fee. You get nickel-and-dimed to death.

    I run Daylite as a client and server solution on my Mac mini. I can access my data base from anywhere via my iPhone or iPad. I can also access the full program form home on my laptop. One key feature of Daylite I would never give up is the ability to tag every email that is sent and received to an individual, a transaction or both. I can then delete the emails and they are permanently store in Daylite. And by the way accessible on my phone or ipad. There are some things cloud based CRMs just can’t do.

    Real Estate Success Tools (REST), is another similar solution that runs on Mac and Windows.

    Remember, unless you are a large corporation, data takes up a very small portion of your disk space.

    • Matthew Collis

      March 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      Roland, thanks for your comment. I know you’re a big proponent of Daylite from past comments you’ve made on my columns and I’m glad you found a solution you like. With cloud-based CRMs, yes there is a monthly fee but very often this is less expensive than paying upfront to own a system. Why? Customer support is free as well as continual product upgrades and enhancements. At IXACT Contact, we’ve done many analyses for customers and we found that compared to many other CRMs where you pay upfront to own the system, the cost savings long-term is much greater with a web-based solution like IXACT, where a monthly fee is involved. Think of Microsoft, for instance, and how often you’re often required to pay for upgrades. Charging an upgrade cost every year is how people are often nickel and dimed to death by software companies.

      • Roland Estrada

        March 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm

        Matthew, I can appreciate your viewpoint, but I’ve never paid for a Daylite update update or for updates to REST when I used that program. As far as paying for Microsoft updates, well that’s why I own Macs.

        In terms of upfront costs, REST is around $400 and Daylite $230. Both in my past experience have great free customer support.

        If you are paying say $30 a month for a cloud CRM, you are looking at $360 per year and $3,600 over 10 years. I haven’t spent a dime over my initial investment in Daylite aside from the Touch license. And even that is only $50 per year.

        I think there is a place in real estate for cloud based systems. Agents just need to decide what is best given their unique needs. And most agents I run into don’t even know what’s available that is any good at all. I’ve seen a lot of what is available for agents and most of it looks like it was written in the 1980’s including Top Producer before it went web-based. I do have to commend you for having a slick looking modern product.

        • Matthew Hardy

          March 20, 2012 at 3:49 am

          Purchasing OS-level software for the Mac is indeed great… and the Mac App Store handles updates particularly well. Here’s a list of apps I like:

          Cocktail
          Hype
          OmniGraffle Professional
          Pituresque
          Pixelmator
          RapidWeaver
          ScreenFlow
          TextWrangler
          Transmit
          VMWare Fusion

  2. Matthew Hardy

    March 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    @ Roland

    I concur. It’s silly to me that we’re sold devices with enormous storage capacities then told we need the cloud because we can’t be trusted to backup or understand what an IP address is.

    > monthly fee… nickel-and-dimed to death.

    And the lock-in — hosted vendors that make it difficult to leave.

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