Google Workspace Results
Boosts productivity, in and out of the office
• From multiple collaboration tools and cloud storage solutions to one unified
front on Google Workspace
• Creates a single point of entry using Google credentials for authentication into Homesale Realty’s tech stack offerings
• Fosters a rich culture of team building and collaboration with Google Chat and Google Meet
• Empowers front line workers to join meetings more timely and effectively with Google Meet
Homesale Realty has far greater aspirations than to simply sell you a home. Rather, the company has established its core purpose around helping people to achieve their dreams. Based in the heart of Pennsylvania for more than a quarter of a century, Homesale Realty is an independently-owned franchise of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, and takes seriously its founders’ values around community, trustworthiness, and family. Such lofty goals require a shared vision, a strong work culture, and a unified workforce. So when it came time to build a cloud strategy, the company knew it would need the right tools to overcome its operational challenges, drive deeper collaboration and information sharing, and help create the best experience possible for customers, as well as employees.
That’s where Sandra Troccoli comes in. Currently Homesale Realty’s Vice President of IT and Digital Platforms, Troccoli has been with the company for more than 23 years. A tech professional with a background in real estate, she is intimately familiar with the process driving the industry’s evolution, including the technology that has evolved right along with it.
“When I was selling real estate, email was still in its infancy, and 90% of our clients didn’t even have an email address,” she says. “I’m fortunate in that I’ve been able to keep up with the technology, understand its importance, and come to leverage it to the advantage of our business.”
For the majority of consumers, buying a home is the most financially impactful decision they’ll ever make. Troccoli makes it clear that Homesale Realty is well aware of how emotionally charged the process can be. “So, we were looking for a tech-driven solution that addressed our challenges, worked within our processes, and could meet our demands and drive the best user experience—all while maintaining the nuances of a real estate transaction.”
Looking at the big picture, Troccoli and the executive team realized Homesale Realty had grown considerably since inception and needed a bigger, better solution to meet its long list of requirements. Top of mind was the need to empower front-line workers, the real estate agents, with mobile, integrated, and secure tools so they can do their best work from anywhere.
Going digital with simplicity and ease of use
“We wanted to go digital. We wanted to be more nimble. As our business grew and we expanded our reach outward into a greater radius, we wanted secure instant transmission and sharing of data.” - Sandra Troccoli, VP of IT and Digital Platforms, Homesale Realty
As Homesale Realty evolved, it moved away from an in-house server environment. It also started to move away from network-attached storage (NAS) devices for sharing of files. Troccoli recalls, “We wanted to go digital. We wanted to be more nimble. As our business grew and we expanded our reach outward into a greater radius, we wanted secure instant transmission and sharing of data.”
Google Workspace and its cloud-based suite of tools provided an all-in-one solution that ticked all the right boxes. “We looked at a few options and came to the conclusion that Google Cloud would be better suited for our needs, would be a more agnostic platform, and would integrate better with industry-specific tools and platforms to help us to get things done.”
Another factor the company needed to consider was the system of technology that weaves through a typical real estate transaction, from accounting systems, CRM systems, marketing tools, marketing platforms, creative design platforms, communication platforms for exploring past marketing materials, and more.
“We felt that Google Cloud, and specifically Google Workspace, would be better suited for our growth and for integrating with all of these other platforms we utilize daily. We moved all of our site-based backup processes to Google Drive, reducing costs and yet expanding our content capability with unlimited storage capacity. Not to mention the peace of mind that comes from the simplicity of collaborating over Chat, sharing via Gmail, brainstorming on Meet, syncing Calendar, creating contacts, and so much more.”
Collaborating toward a smooth transition
“Workspace is perfectly suited for our growth and integration with other platforms. It also brings peace of mind with the ease of collaborating over Chat, sharing via Gmail, brainstorming on Meet, syncing Calendar, and creating contacts.” - Sandra Troccoli, VP of IT and Digital Platforms, Homesale Realty
To streamline the onboarding process, Homesale Realty teamed up with Suitebriar for guidance through the deployment process, including data migration, staff training, and ongoing technical support. “While onboarding was a full-on collaboration between Homesale Realty and Suitebriar, we relied heavily on their expertise,” says Troccoli.
A Google Cloud Partner, Suitebriar created the process and drove the migration and training of Homesale Realty’s in-house and extended staff of remote agents working from satellite offices. Tina Mowen, Chief Customer Officer at Suitebriar explains, "Because of the collaboration between Homesale Realty and Suitebriar, customized Change Management and training were tailored to meet the unique needs of this migration. Effective change management and training were key to the success of this project, both of which were executed beautifully and continually adapted to meet the needs of the Homesale Realty team.
Uniting everyone around a single source of truth
Initially, it was the sudden business complications experienced by its email provider that raised a red flag that things needed to change for Homesale Realty.
“Real estate agents are basically independent contractors,” Troccoli explains. “Typically, they’re not employees in the traditional sense, so they can conduct their work however they want, as long as they abide by relevant real estate laws.” So, how does this impact a growing company looking to present a unified front? Troccoli continues, “The truth is, many agents would rather not hitch their wagon to a company-provided email solution. As strange as it sounds, one of our greatest challenges has been to educate agents on the importance of using a company-branded email platform to conduct their business.”
In order for Homesale Realty to move forward as a unified entity, the team saw that it was critical to bring about a cloud solution that pulled everything and everyone into a single source of truth. “It was a difficult and constant struggle to explain to a number of independent agents that using a company brand has a powerful impact that creates a perception of professionalism and, most importantly, security. But they eventually came to see the value in what we were proposing.”
Modernizing and empowering agents in the field with the ability to innovate
“At the end of the day, it’s people helping people to move forward. To help them achieve their dreams. Google Workspace helps us to soften and streamline the experience, and that’s what it’s all about.” - Sandra Troccoli, VP of IT and Digital Platforms, Homesale Realty
With an intuitive cloud solution, Homesale Realty enables everyone, including the most autonomous of agents, to remotely access the documents they need, securely view and sign critical forms, and bring them all together through the shared ability to conduct business wherever they please. “Google Workspace allows the agents to be more productive because they don’t have to be in their offices in order to conduct business,” Troccoli explains.
As Homesale Realty sets its eyes on the future, it anticipates the many ways the real estate industry will evolve and change, as well as the ways that it will remain the same. Troccoli has experienced enough over the years to know that, as industry problems arise, technology will also rise to meet the challenges and provide solutions. She likes the idea that Google Cloud and Google Workspace will address her industry’s issues and work to solve them. “At the end of the day,” she smiles, “it’s people helping people to move forward. To help them achieve their dreams. Google Workspace helps us to soften and streamline the experience, and that’s what it’s all about.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.