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Collaboration “on-the-go” in Singapore with Google Apps

Posted by Patrick Liew, CEO, HSR

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Patrick Liew, CEO of HSR Property Group, the leading real estate company in Singapore, with more than 2,000 agents. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Any large real estate company like HSR has to respond quickly to customer requests and market changes to stay competitive. Our agents are constantly out of their offices and showing properties. Their main access to email is via their tablets and smartphones. This isn’t really surprising, since smartphone use in Singapore is more than three times the global average.

Because mobility is so critical in our industry, it was important for us to find a solution that enabled access from any device. Our old email system also caused a lot of storage and performance bottlenecks. We wanted quicker, simpler access and easier ways to collaborate with each other and our clients. Google Apps was a good fit for our IT priorities and our business. From an IT-management perspective, Google Apps was intuitive for our users, scalable, and easy to manage.

Google Apps has helped HSR improve information flow and collaboration, leading to better engagement with our agents. We now use Google Sites to create intranets that provide our widely scattered agents with information on pipelines, co-broker opportunities, and training. Dashboards on these sites help us gauge each team's performance. Google Sites also allows us to share floor plans, maps, pricing, availability, and other real estate data, both internally and with clients. Google Docs serves as a company memo and lets colleagues update each other quickly on events, listings, and other important information. We track training sessions with Google Calendar, and share training content and attendance records with Google Docs.

We love Google Apps’ security features and cloud-based delivery, too. If an agent loses a phone in the morning, the data can be wiped remotely, and then—since contact information and other data are stored in the cloud—the agent can be up and running on another phone by noon. New government regulations also require real estate agents in Singapore to retain originals or copies of certain documents for at least three years. Google Apps provides simple archiving, and we now handle data retention through Google Postini.

Everyone at HSR is synchronized these days with Google Apps. We run our entire business using it, from selling to after-sales service. There’s no doubt—collaboration has never been made easier.