Google Cloud Results
Cut up to 1 day from spreadsheet editing times
• Enables property agents to access up-to-date information to complete transactions
• Helps ensure availability and performance to meet user requirements
• Better secures customer and corporate data against leakage, disruption, and theft
The real estate and property sector worldwide is experiencing extensive disruption. New technologies and digital business models are creating opportunities to improve the marketing and sale of properties – commercial, industrial, and residential – locally and overseas. Singapore-based real estate business OrangeTee is a prominent user of technology to grow and create value.
According to Bill Leung, Executive Director at OrangeTee, the business’s aggressive use of technology stemmed from its foundation during the dot-com era in the early 2000s. The company’s founders established a dedicated IT department at launch and used technology over the following two decades to gain an edge over competitors.
OrangeTee has grown to offer a range of property agency, project, and business solution services. These services include property brokerage; residential and overseas project sales; corporate leasing; property investments and advice; a joint venture Japan business development unit; property research; and property valuations. The business also operates a website that enables customers to review property agents and identify the best agent to help sell their property. The company directly employs about 100 people and works with about 4,100 property agents.
“With Google Workspace, rather than reconcile and consolidate different versions of spreadsheets, we can collectively edit a single version in real time. This typically saves us between one half day to one full day of time per spreadsheet.” - Bill Leung, Executive Director, OrangeTee
By 2010, OrangeTee had come to rely on a third-party managed service to run emails. However, the service had only limited email account storage for users, so mailboxes became full quickly. An outage that extended longer than a week prompted the business to seek a more modern solution. “The outage was a big problem because our property agents, customers, and parties such as banks and lawyers all use email to communicate with each other and close deals,” explains Leung. “We had to work around the problem using faxes.”
A robust system
“After dealing with the immediate problem, we searched the market for a system that was robust, stable, scalable, and more secure – and gave users the storage they needed.”
OrangeTee also wanted to minimize the manpower needed to administer email, which eliminated many traditional on-premises solutions from consideration. “Some of our team members started using the free version of Gmail,” says Leung. “We were impressed enough by the product to consider implementing a business version of Google Workspace, with spreadsheet, video calling, file storage, and other applications complementing email.”
An expert partner
OrangeTee IT commenced a search for a Google partner that knew Google Workspace in detail and could tailor the product to the specific needs of the business.
“We decided to put our foot down and said ‘let’s go for it’ in deploying Google Workspace,” Leung says. “After a detailed search, we chose Hong Kong-based Google Premier Partner Master Concept to help us with the project.”
A two-month implementation
“We have been using Google Workspace for almost eight years and I cannot recall experiencing any downtime. Our users are very happy with that.” - Bill Leung, Executive Director, OrangeTee
Master Concept validated OrangeTee’s selection by deploying Google Workspace across the real estate business’s workforce in less than two months.
“Master Concept explained the Google roadmap and security measures in detail, reinforcing our confidence that Google Workspace was the right choice for our needs,” says Leung. Google Workspace incorporated a range of features that could enable OrangeTee to meet its security requirements, including administrator control over system configuration and application settings; contractual commitments regarding data ownership, data use, security, transparency, and accountability; tools to enable compliance and reporting; and customer retention and ownership of data.
After helping OrangeTee migrate to Google Workspace, Master Concept worked with Google to educate OrangeTee’s leaders – from executives to managers of teams of agents – to use Google Workspace effectively. “We opted for a top-down approach as the best way of securing buy-in across the business,” says Leung. “If management leads by example, team members are more likely to embrace a new solution.”
Adopting Google Workspace has enabled teams and executives to collaborate more effectively on a range of tasks. “With Google Workspace, rather than reconcile and consolidate different versions of spreadsheets, we can collectively edit a single version in real time,” says Leung. “This typically saves us between one half day to one full day of time per spreadsheet.”
Dynamic pricing updates
“Businesses and government agencies worldwide face a large number of security concerns today. Google Workspace gives us confidence that we can protect our own, customers’, and other parties’ data against attempted breaches or leakage.” - Bill Leung, Executive Director, OrangeTee
OrangeTee has also used Google Workspace to expedite a range of processes that benefit workers and ultimately customers. For example, the residential services team that markets new condominiums needs to share a range of documents, such as floor plans and pricing, with agents that work directly with prospective buyers.
Prior to deploying Google Workspace, the team would have to send emails with static attachments to up to thousands of agents at a time. Now, with Google Workspace, the team can share and update documents directly from Drive. “This means agents can immediately access, for instance, the latest prices to help close a deal,” explains Leung.
Having driven OrangeTee’s shift from a previous email system due to a week-long outage, Leung is acutely aware of the importance of uptime to users across the business. “We have been using Google Workspace for almost eight years and I cannot recall experiencing any downtime,” he says. “Our users are very happy with that.”
The business has achieved these improvements at a cost well within its requirements. Furthermore, Google Workspace has proven effective in protecting sensitive data at a time of heightened awareness of security issues. “Businesses and government agencies worldwide face a large number of security concerns today, which has heightened awareness of the problem,” says Leung. “Google Workspace gives us confidence that we can protect our own, our customers’, and other parties’ data against attempted breaches or leakage.”
Property agent search
Google Workspace is not the only Google solution to deliver benefits to OrangeTee. The business’s propertyagentsreview.com website complements its review service with Google Maps Platform to help power an agent search service. “If I am selling a property, I may prefer to use an agent who is familiar with my location and amenities,” explains Leung. “We use Google Maps Platform to help consumers identify which agents have closed a number of deals in their district.” Places API returns information such as lists of places based on a user’s location or search string, while Geocoding API converts addresses into geographic coordinates and vice versa.
OrangeTee is now evaluating how to extend its use of Google Workspace, particularly Google Meet, to help its agents perform their roles more effectively. “We are also exploring how we can leverage our data more effectively, through analytics and the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning, to enhance our business.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.