This week we interviewed Darus Trutna, of Real Property Management Humboldt, about Google Apps. Darus employs every possible tool to make his business better, and to improve his customers’ experience, as well. He’s usually on the leading edge of technology, but doesn’t stick with what doesn’t work. So when he told us that Google Apps was the best collaboration tool he’d ever seen, we knew had to talk to him.
Many small businesses are constantly on the lookout for ways to save money and time, and property management companies are no exception. Using Google Apps is one such way. For a number of reasons beyond its selling price – free (for 10 users or fewer) – Google Apps can save you money, time, and hassle.
Here’s some reasons:
- It will help you collaborate with your team (time savings/cost savings)
- It can be accessed from almost anywhere
- You’re always backed up
- There are many apps that you can integrate with it to extend its capabilities
But first, what is it? In short, it’s an online suite of applications that replace and expand the usual capabilities of a normal “office” software suite. Among other things, includes a word processor, spreadsheet, email, contacts and calendar, along with online storage (Google Drive) and collaboration capabilities that go beyond what a standard office suite can do. All you need to access it is an internet connection and a computer with a browser. Let’s go into the specifics…
First off, Google Apps is one of the best ways to collaborate available. As it is entirely accessed and stored online, when you create a document, everyone with access to that document sees the same version. There’s never a newer version on Mary’s computer while Bob mistakenly sends out the old one. In fact, more than one person can work on the document at the same time, and you see each others’ changes as they type. Google Apps also keeps track of the changes made to your documents over time, with the ability to see who made a change and when, and the ability to roll it back, if necessary.
Also, Google’s integrated calendar allows you to schedule events and tasks with everyone in your organization – again, embedded right in your email and file system, allowing you to add people and attachments incredibly easily.
Another benefit is that Google Apps can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection, and from any computer. If a maintenance emergency came up while you were out at your brother-in-law’s house, you could log in with his computer and do anything you could at the office. Many of the functions are accessible from your mobile device, as well. You could take a picture with your Android phone, for instance, and immediately put it in your Google Drive, and the whole office could see and edit it.
How safe is your data right now? If someone broke into your office? If you dropped your laptop? What’s your backup schedule? With Google Drive, part of the Apps experience, you don’t have to worry about that. That means you’re not paying for usb backup drives, computer downtime, or IT help to make sure you don’t lose your files.
Lastly, there are a wealth of applications that integrate with Google Apps and extend its capabilities – more than we can get into here. (Maybe we’ll do a blog on that, if there’s a demand.) So that new users aren’t left in the dark, there are a number of excellent tutorials available to help you get started.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Great article… I am excited about moving one of my real estate client to google apps to ms exchange. I had a question about Mavenlink… I am trying to find a way to improve our convoluted workflow (multiple excel spread sheets for different things for each lease, etc) for leasing properties. Do you use Mavenlink along side another software for this or are you able to integrate Mavenlink with something that serves the real estate industry more specifically?
There are plenty of CRM’s that are more specific for property management and sales but very few (if any) that seem to be deeply integrated with Google Apps. This is my dilema. Maybe we don’t even need another program because if the CRM isn’t dead simple for our small team it won’t be used – we need to enter prospect info, make notes on contacts that are shared, manage leasing info, etc.
Basically, I am curious to learn how you use Mavenlink in your workflow since you are using it in the same industry. I would love to get your feedback and even chat with you about this.
Thanks in advance. And keep writing informative stuff like this!
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