Many software solutions used in real estate today are offered as Software as a Service (SaaS), meaning that they are accessed through a browser or, in some cases, a mobile app. For most companies today, being cross-browser compliant is about as far as they have gone. Advanced companies, mostly those who have the luxury of products released in the past couple of years, have made their browser-based application “responsive” so as to fit naturally into any screen resolution on any browser. Cloud CMA just came out with a browser Bookmarklet that reminded me how many powerful browser features are not being leveraged.
A key objective of any Software as a Service company is to drive user adoption. Reminding the agent that they have access to the software tool and providing the agent with easy access are keynotes of that goal. Depending on your product or the type of organization, you may find many benefits to browser plugins that improve the user experience and accessibility of your application. That is exactly what Cloud CMA has done, and its brilliant! Agents simply drag a bookmarklet to their browser to get started. Then they go about doing what they always do – look up properties in the MLS for their CMA. When they have the MLS list pulled up, they simply hit the Cloud CMA bookmarklet in their browser and those listings are automatically ported into the Cloud CMA. One touch CMA and you are done! I think that in many cases, it makes Cloud CMA easier and faster than the CMA that is installed in many MLSs.
Certainly, bookmarklets, as illustrated, are one browser feature that can increase adoption and ease of use. Beyond that, browsers have strong capabilities for supporting access and security to applications. You have probably noticed this when using a different computer or browser to access Facebook. They will challenge your access. The same access and security challenges happen with many online banking applications, and they often include a text message code layer. Although these security measures may not be stringent enough for protecting access to an MLS system, they are likely to be adequate for protecting against password sharing that many software providers are trying to solve for.
Another browser capability that has promise for online applications are notifications. Today, many software solutions have depended on email for notifications, clogging up agent inboxes. Why not use the browser to alert an agent of an upcoming task, a new lead, a visitor to their website, or any other opportunity? Whatever the occasion, if you know the agent is using the browser, use it to stay connected with them.
As you think about the next version of your software, be sure that you are spending time thinking about leveraging the browser. You will be glad you did.