Ray White turns on to Google Apps

Real estate company starts developing property management apps

A complex IT shop and lack of development opportunities led Ray White IT director, Ben White, to Google’s door a year ago.

According to White, his organisation's IT complexity was in large part down to the sheer number of branch offices -- some 1000 run by real estate practitioners across the country -- and the fact each franchisee invested in its own IT infrastructure.

“What we found in the Ray White culture is that we never managed to make IT work," White said. "In many respects, we outsourced IT and didn’t even own our website until recently.

Two years ago Ray White decided to move to a traditional IT environment and started building a .net framework.

“One of the curious things was that a year later we still didn’t have a usable product," White said. "It was a terrible experience and we realised by using Google Apps there was another way to do this,” he said.

The company moved into the Cloud this month rolling out Apps Premier Edition for the organisation's 8000 staff and 2000 property managers.

It also created a self-service, end-to-end property management system, Ray White Can Follow You, using Google's app engine. The service connects tenants to landlords and tradespeople through the internet.

Ray White has also made use of Google's Display application to create Ray White Display -- a new way for vendors to advertise their product on the internet.

"Traditionally real estate advertising has been about sending buyers to portals whereas display sends property information to potential buyers on our database in the form of blogs or other information," White said.

“The exciting thing is that we’re engaging with our agents and it’s cost effective as well. The ROI is very aggressive and we’re seeing a return after two weeks."

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