By Carl Guild
Is the title for this blog post a little drastic? Maybe. But maybe not.
Let me break it down for you: Cloud computing has helped me increase my productivity exponentially and has completely changed my life. Because of cloud computing, I’m able to spend more time at home with my family. Everything is organized, efficient and simple. Cloud computing is always there when I need it to be, through the good times and the bad. Love is the only description that fits.
We all know document management is a huge part of real estate. Contracts, maps, deeds, addendums, inspection reports … It seems the different types of papers we collect are endless. Luckily, programs like Google Drive, Box.net, iCloud and Dropbox allow us to store files in the cloud. What is the cloud? Some people think it’s some amorphous gas floating around, holding our documents and then releasing them whenever we need it to. Well, not exactly. (Or not at all.) The cloud is a virtual hardware system—much like a digital filing cabinet—that allows a user to store files so they can be accessed from any computer or smart device. As I mentioned earlier, it’s simple, efficient and entirely loveable. But how do you take this amazing tool and turn it into something that saves time?
First, let’s take a look at where I started:
- I had a ‘briefcase of files’ that I lugged to the office and home every day.
- If a client called at home and I didn’t have the document they needed, I’d have to give them my standard answer: “I will have to wait to look in the file once back at my office.”
- I wasted countless hours flipping through paper files, scanning, emailing – now where did I put that contract?
- If desperate, I’d resort to the “let me email it to myself” method of saving files. Admit it, you’ve done this, too.
Many of you are probably reading this and thinking: “I still do things this way!” But what if there was a better way? What if there was a way to change everything? Well, cloud computing is that way because it completely changes EVERYTHING. It takes time to implement but in the end it is well worth it.
- My ‘briefcase of files’ is now on my phone or tablet. No more lugging all those folders!
- If a client calls me at home, I no longer have to wait to look up their file when I get back to the office because it is right on my phone, tablet or computer! Additionally, not only are the current files stored in all these places but also I can virtually flip through every file I have ever worked on.
- If anyone needs a file at any time, I can email it immediately. Attorneys, lenders and clients appreciate this speediness! Improved customer satisfaction? A definite bonus.
- Saving files to the cloud saves this file on all my computers and smart devices—both for home and work. I no longer need to send an email to myself in order to save something.
Here are some additional benefits and examples of cloud computing workflow:
- You are writing a contract on your computer at the office but need to run to a meeting or go pick up the kids. Once you get home, you open up the same file and continue, right where you left off.
- You are out to lunch with a past client reminiscing about one of their past deals; you have full access to their file including contracts and more. Very easy to impress someone when you can pull up a 5-year-old file right on your phone in the blink of an eye.
- You want to share a folder full of files with a team member, assistant or client to collaborate with ease.
- An appraiser calls you and asks if there were any concessions on a property that closed a year ago. (“One minute, let me check my phone …”)
- Your laptop crashes, whoops! However, crisis averted because all your files are all on the cloud! (Sigh of relief!)
I am proud to say that cloud computing has turned the digital portion of my life into synchronistic harmony. And if my own love affair inspired you to try the cloud, pick your favorite program and visit the site for further instructions to try it out today.
Is there a tool out there that has literally changed your business life in the way cloud computing has for me? Tell me all about it in the comments section below!