Rawson Properties: Adding tech value for real estate franchisees
Rawson Properties implements Google Workspace to solve its server storage problems and improve its tech offering to its franchisees, with integrated productivity software and smoother collaboration.
Rawson Properties handles residential and commercial sales and lettings, auctions, and property developments with 200 franchises across South Africa.
Google Cloud Results
- Low level IT queries down since implementing Google Workspace
- Removes limits on server storage and enables franchisees to extend their own storage quickly and easily
- Improves the IT offering by opening up productivity software to franchisees, saving them money
- Enables better communication between sales and marketing teams in the head office for a more aligned and productive environment
By focusing on expanding its franchise model over a range of property services that include residential and commercial sales and lettings, as well as finance and property development, Rawson Property has become a forerunner in the South African property agent market. The company currently has around 200 franchise offices and 1,200 agents across South Africa.
“A big part of our vision is to leverage technology, building tools and products that make our property agents’ lives easier. Taking the long-term view, we decided it was time to move to the cloud.” – Justin Green, Head of Innovation, Rawson Properties
“The business has seen rapid growth over the last 10 years and in that period, our focus has been on building an offering for our franchisees,” explains Justin Green, Head of Innovation at Rawson Properties. “Now, together with our franchise partners, we are on a mission to refocus our business around the customer, to project a competitive brand message and build long-term relationships that position us as the first choice for people wanting to sell their homes.” This includes using innovative technology to support the service provided by its franchisees, such as the development of dashboards for smoother customer communication, and high-quality promotional material.
Running out of space on its local email servers meant Rawson Properties faced a choice. It could either expand its server space, or move into the cloud. To get the space it needed and increase the value of its offering to its franchisees, it decided to implement Google Workspace.
“A big part of our vision is to leverage technology, building tools and products that make our property agents’ lives easier,” says Justin. “Taking the long-term view, we decided it was time to move to the cloud.”
Providing added value
“Migrating to Google Workspace, we could offer additional tech value to our franchisees, because we could unlock the productivity suite for them. They no longer pay a license fee for word processing and spreadsheets software.” – Justin Green, Head of Innovation, Rawson Properties
Maintaining a local email server means that as a business grows, it has to constantly upgrade its storage capacity. Rawson Properties’ server had run out of storage, and the firm also had concerns over a lack of oversight on agents’ access to emails and documents. “We had already rolled out Google Workspace to our head office a year or so previously, and we had seen all the benefits in terms of collaboration in particular,” says Justin. “We needed to find a solution for our server that would offer added value to our franchisees.”
To do that, Rawson Properties moved its residential franchise offices over to Google Workspace. “Now we have 50GB of storage per user, and buying any additional storage is really straightforward. Our security concerns have also been solved, as we have improved oversight over the communications that take place and any concerns about data being lost when a laptop is lost or stolen have disappeared thanks to the cloud.”
With Drive, team members at the head office collaborate more effectively using Docs and Sheets. “It’s really tricky to get sales and marketing teams to work together in an efficient way, and this has really helped us to bridge that divide. Improved collaboration and alignment of our processes have been the big benefits for us at our head office,” says Justin. Google Meet software enables its agents to work flexibly in the office or from home. Google Workspace also integrates with other Rawson Properties tools, such as its agent booking software, which functions using Calendar, and with its CRM software Hubspot. “Google Workspace integrates seamlessly with Hubspot so all agent communication is logged automatically. It was a major factor in our decision to choose Google Workspace,” adds Justin.
Rawson Properties wanted to extend these benefits to its franchisees. “Migrating to Google Workspace, we could offer additional tech value to our franchisees, because we could unlock the productivity suite for them. They no longer pay a license fee for word processing and spreadsheets software.”
A seamless migration
As the trigger was running out of server space, the solution needed to be implemented urgently. “The migration was time-sensitive and had to happen relatively rapidly,” says Justin. “Luckily, we didn’t have to go through the whole process of convincing everybody that this was the right approach. Any resistance to change quickly dissipated and our franchisees were very quick to understand the potential benefits, especially in terms of cost savings: potentially around R4,500 per agent on a software license.” With around 600 agents employed annually, the total potential saving amounted to around R2.6 million (£147,000) for the franchisees.
“Our future plan is smarter growth. Rather than expanding our footprint, we want to expand revenue by being in the right neighborhoods. With a more attractive franchise offering, Google Workspace can help us achieve that.” – Justin Green, Head of Innovation, Rawson Properties
Google Cloud Premier Partner Opennetworks provided support for the franchisees throughout the process. “Opennetworks stepped in and did all the hard work, facilitating communication between us and the franchisees,” says Justin. “Having an implementation partner running the migration meant it was seamless, especially compared to other product implementations we have experienced.”
Enabling smarter growth
As a result of implementing Google Workspace, Rawson Properties has improved its offering to its franchisees, while its IT department has seen a reduction in the number of IT queries. “Now it’s such an easy process for our franchisees to add extra storage or refer to Google Workspace guides on how Docs and Sheets work. It’s helped us a lot from an IT perspective in terms of saving time, particularly with data recovery when a laptop breaks or is stolen. Our technicians can focus on new software and other improvements to the system.”
Now, Rawson Properties plans to roll out Google Workspace to the rest of its franchise operations. “For our franchisees, the financial benefits are clear in terms of savings on software licenses,” says Justin. “Now the initial phase of migration is complete, our rental agents and commercial brokers are keen to make the move too.”
“Our future plan is smarter growth. Rather than expanding our footprint, we want to expand revenue by being in the right neighborhoods. With a more attractive franchise offering, Google Workspace can help us achieve that.”