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Indian Real Estate The Present Information Technology Essay

Indian real estate has witnessed a phenomenal development in the last couple of years due to its flexible nature and its value appreciation over time. The limits of people's aspirations, concept of good living, contemporary working style and recreation, their risk appetite, and money they can commit for high quality construction and smartly done up space has led to the revolution in the real estate industry in the country.

Path breaking policies like relaxation in FDI policies by the Government of India have also paved the path for the transformation of Indian real estate. The combination of factors like strong economic growth, reforms and policies have lured global investors, easy terms of repayment of home loans, rise in income levels and urbanization.

http://www.prlog.org/10144967-indian-real-estate-the-present-scenario.html

Given the current competitive business landscape and stringent time and cost constraints, it is imperative for organisations to streamline enterprise-wide processes, divest procedural maneuvers and delays, ensure smooth transactions and operate on real-time information. Enterprises need to be integrated and the various functions, in unison, to attain optimum efficiencies, glitch-proof operations and gain and leverage operational and competitive advantage. However, this is easier said than done.

Conventional ‘silos ’-mode of functioning and geographic and functional boundaries inhibit such enterprise-wide integration. Technological advancements in the field of ERPs aim at providing the same, changing the very face of your business.

ERPs provide greater agility to business, ensuring optimum resource-use and huge costs and time savings. Meeting current business requirements and being prepared to face future demands are by-products of an ERP implementation.

Implementation of an ERP is 3 faceted - cost, time and technology decision that is taken once but brings with it huge business benefits. Also, it is vital for organisations to understand that there is more to ERP than just simply “software” as it entails fundamental re-alignment of people, processes and data and simply re-designs and re-organises the way business is done. A successful implementation calls for the right mix of people, processes, technology and infrastructure.

Organisations face numerous hurdles while striving to get an ERP implemented at their end. The first and most crucial of these barriers is to identify the apt ERP system suiting your organisation, the cost and time considerations and subsequently the implementation, support, maintenance, upgrades and training of the system.

In spite of these issues, organisations must not get overwhelmed with the complexity of the system or the risk and organisational change that trail. Like any other purchase, it’s about taking a well-informed and realistic decision which the business needs of today have made essential and unavoidable.

http://www.cmcltd.com/service_offerings/erp.shtml

Topic of the system

The system being developed is an Online Real Estate ERP with Mobile Integration, specially designed for real estate dealer. As the term ERP suggest, Enterprise Resource Planning, this system would automate all the working of a real estate dealer.

The system will help companies to integrate all data and processes of an organization into a single unified system that has different modules as enumerated below which broadly covers all key functional areas:

Sales - relates to all aspects of customer sales

Purchase & Stores - all procurements linked to the project, store management with inventory

Accounts - operational costs, overheads, recoveries, cash/bank payment transactions, budget allocations for ongoing and new projects, etc.

Legal - all aspects pertaining to proper compliance of law

Apart from this the system will also compromise of searching of the property under the company and its details.

A dealer can add a new property, mark it as booked/reserved/sold/available in an interactive manner by just scanning the image of the property, it also includes virtual tour for a particular property.

One of the key feature of this ERP is that it is mobile integrated, that is a mobile application is also being developed which will include some of the important modules, and can’t be delayed even if the dealer lacks in resources like a laptop or an internet connection.

Purpose of the implementation

As real estate is a fast and huge growing business the dealers ought to work in large area, meet various number of clients and deal with a number of property so managing this huge task manually becomes tedious also lost in data can result to loss in business. The online real estate ERP provides a solution to these problems by automating every single activity carried out by the dealer daily. Also being online it gives the dealer to access and manage the business away from the office. The mobile application lets dealer to interact and give details to the client without carrying huge maps and hard copies that contains the information. The details of a property and its images can be shown just from a request.

The application also allows dealer to mark the dimension and details of the plots/property in an interactive manner without having approach to any flash developer time and again for various property.

The deployment of electronic schedules with the clients gives all stakeholders access to up-to-date information.

This system would enable the dealer to make better, faster decisions through real-time business intelligence.

Target Audience

This system is being developed for the real estate dealers, who are actually not into large construction areas but deals in property may it be selling, purchasing or on a lease. This online ERP can be used by the real estate dealer as well as the agents working for him. Apart from them any person interested in purchasing of a particular property or details can search and contact the dealer. This would also increase the traffic on the website and giving publicity, hence increasing the business for the dealer.

The system would also help the stakeholders for the current information.

Problem context

In the present world, as the growth of real estate is at a tremendous rate, and a large number of real estate dealer across the world deals with sale, purchase or lease of a property manual management of the daily task becomes tedious. The enamors competition has lead the dealers deal in various types of property which are wide spread.

The basic problems encountered by the real estate dealers are given below:

• A real estate dealer faces a lot of problems in managing all the records of the property under him, the purchase or the sales record. Moreover, it becomes very hectic and time consuming to get a record of a particular property under him from various areas. For example if the dealer wants the information about a particular property situated at a specific location, he need to go through all the manual records to find it, also comparing two similar property becomes tough. If the dealer purchases a new property and wants to pass the information to the agents working under him, this would be done manually. Moreover, there are chances that someone has not been notified. This creates a gap in information passing. So one of the major problem faced is to maintain the latest updates of the property, its status and searching them.

• Since the property Is located at various locations the and the dealers and agents travel frequently away from the offices, make them not available with the latest update of the information, hence leading to a loss in business, this can only be resolved by making the system online and providing regular updates with the help of SMS.

• The management of all the accounts of the deals is a very tedious work and performing it manually when the business has already been so vast becomes impossible, in a large business there are various investments and sales, thus for a proper account there must be a automated system which includes the momentary details of each activities and ultimately giving the respective profit, loss and expenditure reports.

• In dealing with the real estate the dealer needs to travel across frequently and managing the business outside office becomes difficult due to lack of documents. As the term ERP states, Enterprise Resource Planning includes all the details of the business online.

• Prior finalizing the deal for a particular property, bidding is done as various client visit and are interested for a particular property, managing the information about the clients visiting and there interest is a huge data that needs to be automated, which will also over come the problem of contact the interested client in future when the demanded property is available. Also the best bidding can be identified for the best prices.

• In the existing system even if they are web based they fail when there is no internet connection or laptop resource not available thus to deal with some important task a mobile application has been developed which would let user access to the information anytime.

• As in real estate business the products cannot be at a single place, they are huge property and plots which are located at distance sometimes away from the main city, so to make user view the property every time becomes tedious. This could be resolved by enabling the virtual tour feature on the web based system as well as mobile, so that all the details along with pictures can be shown to the clients.

Rationale

For solving the above stated problems a requirement for cheap, online and centralized system has always been in demand. What can be a better alternative to this than an ERP which will meet all demands of the dealers and customized according to their needs. With the implementation of the ERP, the real estate dealers will have certain tangible and intangible benefits which are given below:

Tangible Benefits are those measured in monetary terms:

• Improves the productivity of day to day operations and real estate’s agents:

Since the system is online, it will make information sharing between different departments easier and faster, which in turn will decrease cost of operation. Also it will allow agents to work faster and thus they can do more work in the same period of time.

• Lowering the cost of services purchased:

It will definitely decrease the cost of services that the institute is using for its daily activities, such as telephone bills which are made between the agents under the respective dealer to inquire about the property under them and its details, the accountant doing the manual work etc.

• Cost of paper:

The cost of paper and postage will certainly go down, as they will be used only for important information. All the manual work be automated, hence need of paper will be reduced. Moreover, the agents and dealer will no more be required to carry the details of various property like the map, details including dimensions, price etc .

As developing time and again various maps for respective plots and printing the site views is a costly investment.

• Personnel Reduction:

With the use of ERP, the institute will be able to reduce its number of employees. This will help in cost cutting as the salary of all those personnel will be saved.

Intangible Benefits cannot be measured in monetary terms but they do have a very significant business impact:

• Increased transparency and responsibility:

Since the system in online, administrator will be able to track activities of the agents ,employees and current business status. This will enable transparency in system and also employees will take more responsibilities towards their work.

• Accurate and faster access to data for timely decisions:

The system will allow faster decision making, as it will allow accurate and faster access to all information from one place. This will help in increasing the performance of the real estate business.

• Standardization of Processes:

It will allow standardizing all process to a common standard. This will build a common platform for the whole organization to work on.

• Improved feedback from the agents:

Since this system is online, it will enable real time responses from the agents dealing with the property at various places for example if a agent is allocated to assist a customer for a particular property then he can directly give the customer details, its feedback and bidding price, hence making quick update information.

• Saves enormous time and effort in data entry:

It will reduce redundant data entry and processes and on the other hand it shares information across the department, which will save time and effort in data entry.

• Facilitates strategic planning:

One of the major advantages of ERP is that it helps in strategic planning. It will be easier to get statistics online (the list of property under the respective dealer to deal with, the most beneficial area, type of property, number of clients and there bids) which will help in planning and decision making of the organization.

• Maintains Confidentiality of dealer and agents:

The system will use roles and permission levels, to maintain confidentiality of data, so that a agent cant perform all the admin activities performed by the dealer.

Description of Problem Area:

After studying the problem faced by the users currently, I have outlined major problems into problem areas and solving these would be the first and foremost priority for me while developing the system. The problem areas are given below:

• Customization:

The system will be completely generalized. This will allow the users to customize the system according to their changing needs. The current system are mostly custom made and thus lack the feature of customization.

• Scalability:

Scalability is a desirable property of a system, a network, or a process, which indicates its ability to either handle growing amounts of work in a graceful manner or to be readily enlarged. Most of the system crashes with high network load and thus are not scalable as well as reliable.

• Rich User Experience:

Majority of the current system does not provide a rich user experience. With simple system layout, sometimes it even becomes difficult for users to navigate the system.

• Content Management:

The current system lacks the feature of content management. With the help of content management, html pages could be added to the system. This will allow integrating the current website of the real estate dealer with the ERP.

Objective of system

The objective is to make the entire operations of the company system driven, rather than personnel driven. With the rapid growth of infrastructure sector in India, the real-estate companies are facing enormous pressure in retaining specialized manpower. This ERP ensures uninterrupted working of the operations, even in such high mobility environment.

The main achievable objectives of the proposed system are as follows:

Allow the real estate broker to automate all day to day activities and keep a record over the work done.

Integrate all the departments hence keeping an eye on the work flow within the organisation becomes easy.

Provide accessibility to the system where ever the user wants.

Functionalities

Project Objective:

The major aim of this project is to make an ERP for Real Estate Dealers. It is a computer software system that will be used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of the business from a shared data store. It can automate all the processes of the real estate dealing business. It is a completely customizable system, which could be customized by any of the respective firm for their needs.

Project Scope and Deliverable:

It is a computer software system that will be used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of the organization from shared data stores. It can automate all the processes of the real estate firm may it be sale or purchase of the property, property on lease, the firm account, virtual tours, interactive map, legal work etc. the system is also mobile based that is the user can perform the important task no matter if he is unavailable with resource like a laptop or and internet connection. At, the end of the project, the main deliverable will be:

• Soft cover documentation of the system

• Hard cover documentation of the system

• A prototype of the system application on CD

Core Features of the system are:

• Sales:

Sales Module is a comprehensive module which records each n every action of sales for affecting a sale along with a feedback . This really strengthens the front end, and every details related to the sale of the property and the documents are stored, which also help later in analyzing the yearly reports, profits loss etc.

Features of sales module

• Maintains history of customer inquiries with complete details and its subsequent follow-ups

• Generates status and demand letters automatically

• Report Builder tool for creation of customized reports

• Define base rate for a project and also, define subsequent incremental floor wise rates.

• Define Transfer fee and also, cancellation charges between dates

• Define project wise brokerage charges.

• Configure other various heads under which payments are receivable, e.g. parking, electric / water meter charges, legal charges, maintenance etc.

• Purchase :

Purchase & Stores modules cover the entire Purchase and Stores function aspects of an enterprise. It is tightly integrated with the Accounts and Legal modules. The dealers can now accurately and easily access information about vendors, stock levels, purchase analysis, etc. in real time and can easily deal with all the items or products required by the organization.

Features of purchase module

• Get complete purchase history such as cost average, cost difference and average lead-time for each vendor, item and delivery schedules

• Maintaining Product wise preferred vendor list

• Preparation of Purchase Bill

• Price comparisons of quotation and finalization of best quotation

• Generation of request for the quotation of the procurement.

• Accounts :

Accounts module is a business application capable of totally managing most accounting needs of a company. It enables to optimize accounting with inventory control along with integration of sales, purchase modules thus delivering a comprehensive picture of your company's financial robustness at any given point of time and at any given place through web connectivity.

Features of Accounts Module

• Maintains financial year wise transaction details

• Helps in generation of different types of vouchers such as Credit, Internal Transfer, Journal and Petty cash etc.

• Calculations of TDS, VAT and other taxes possible before releasing payments

• Maintenance of all payment details made to external parties under various accounting head.

Enhanced Features of the system are:

Legal:

Legal Module covers the entire legal efficacy involved in the real estate business. This module helps to perform operations in accordance with the laws applicable in the construction activity.

Salient Features

• Availability of all the legal documents at one place

• Easy access to general legal forms and transfer documents.

• Stamp Duty Calculation

• EMI Calculation for user-specified values

Mobile Application:

As mentioned earlier the real estate dealer need to be very portable with the business has has to make frequent tour, there may always be a situation where the dealer lacks in resources like laptop or a internet connection, and may require some important information about the property, this mobile application can provide a way for the same.

Some of the features include:

• Report generation

• Retrieval of important information

• Updating important information

• Downloading images of the property under the firm

• Zoom in and out the image

• 3-Tier Architecture:

It is a client-server architecture in which the presentation, the application processing, and the data management are logically separate processes. For example, an application that uses middle ware to service data requests between a user and a database employs multi-tier architecture. This will increase the scalability and performance of the system.

Special Features of the system are:

• Marking plots dimension at the front end

This is one of the functionality which could actually help the dealer in organizing the data about the plots or property in an interactive manner by mapping. The dealer can just scan in the image of the colony and drag and drop over the defined plots and mark its dimension.

• Intelligent software

According to my ability and time i would try to implement few algorithms in my system that would add extra intelligence to t he system for example auto suggestions of deals etc.

• Content Management System (CMS) for static pages:

All of the system available currently does not provide any CMS facility. So the design of the system does not match with the existing websites of the institutes. This system will allow the institutes to integrate their current website within the system, so that both the website of the institute and the ERP will be a single system.

Limitation of Scope:

• The system is completely online and hence will work only if internet is accessible for the client PC. Without connection to Internet, it would not work.

• The system would not allow localization (i.e. It would only work in English), that is, it would not support multiple languages. However the static pages of the CMS can be made in any language.

• The system is customizable but not 100%. As we know that, no ERP can be made 100% customizable, hence there would be some part in the final system which would not be able to be customized.

Other Learning Objectives:

The project in itself is a huge amount of research, which will help me enhance my knowledge in various fields such as:

• This system will help me in understanding and observing the operations of the real estate dealing business and ERP.

• Concepts of Project Management and its usage with different tools and methods.

• Developing a web based systems is not new for me but considering the security requirements of the system, I will have an opportunity to explore the internet security issues allowing me to explore the possibilities of this field.

• Implementing intelligence to the system would be a new challenge for me.

Capabilities of real estate software

Below we summarise the types of tasks performed by the two most common applications: residential property management and sales management software.

Property management software

Property management software allows the agent to better manage their rent roll and business as a whole. This software will for example:

Keep track of important dates such as rent due dates, lease expiry, inspection dates, and generate daily appointment and tasks lists.

Manage the trust accounting aspects of rent collection and landlord payments, so as to conform with State legislation.

Help the agent to input, store and manage property inspection data.

Carry out an end of month rollover.

Generate mail-merged letters, emails or SMS messages to the tenant, for example advising of maintenance appointments, inspections and overdue rent.

Assist in the management and documentation of maintenance activities for each property.

Investment analysis reporting, similar to spreadsheets, allows the property manager to review an individual property’s performance and advise owners accordingly.

Property sales software

Property sales software is used to track market appraisals, listings and sales and other properties in an agent’s service area generally. This software will also integrate with trust accounting software, because (for example) the sales agent holds deposits in trust from the purchaser. This software will typically:

Keep track of properties – whether appraisals, currently for sale, or previously known to the agency.

Assist in helping the agent recommend a realistic sale price for the property to the vendor, by listing comparable properties in the same area.

Assist with advertising by printing brochures and window cards.

Store photographs or video describing the property.

Keep notes about the progress of a sale, and record interested people and offers.

Record potential buyers and their requirements, and match suitable properties to these requirements

Keep in contact with potential buyers using email or text messaging, alerting them about new properties matching their requirements.

Upload current properties for sale to advertising websites.

Alert the agent to critical dates during the sale of a property, such as cooling off period, date of contract exchange and settlement.

Manage the trust accounting aspects such as keeping track of deposit moneys, in a way that conforms to the State legislation.

Assist with marketing by printing window cards, listing sheets and brochures, or uploading property details to an advertising website.

One strategy used by agents is to add properties to the database as the agent comes into contact with the property through a market appraisal or other contact with the owner. Other agents will add every property in their service area into the database and maintain up to date information on all listing and sale activity.

Features

Now we will look at the typical features of this class of software. The details of each package will vary, but typically will include the features listed below. Note that we list the aspects here separately for the purposes of explanation, but the best software will integrate these aspects into a seamless product which closely fits the way agents do their work.

Contacts management

The agent needs to keep track of information about many people including vendors and purchasers in a sales context, and owners and tenants in a property management context.

Of course, the contacts will belong to a certain categories, such as owners, prospective buyers, tenants and so on. Some systems allow you to refine the categories, so that you might have subcategories for prospective buyers of ‘active’, ‘casual’ and ‘inactive’.

Trust accounting

As we mentioned, trust accounting software keeps track of the funds that are held in trust by the real estate agent, for example the deposit from the sale of a house, or rent monies. This software is often quite complex and usually includes other features for rental or sales management in addition to the purely accounting function. Trust accounting software assists the agent in complying with the legislation regarding trust accounts, such as the relevant sections of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (NSW).

Often the trust accounting software can interface with electronic banking systems, used for example to transfer funds into landlords’ accounts or to debit tenants’ accounts.

Managing property data

Not surprisingly, real estate agents need to store information about properties. This includes the features of properties for sale, and also inspection details for rental properties.

The modern real estate database application can also exchange information with online databases, either to download data for properties such as sales history, mapping data and photographs, or to upload this data to an advertising site.

Searching and sorting

The main strength of database systems is in their ability to store data so it can be recalled efficiently and searched in different ways. Some examples of how this is valuable in real estate include:

Properties can be matched to the desires of prospective purchasers, so they can be informed of the latest listings that meet their requirements

A continually updated list of vacant properties can be displayed for ready reference throughout the day.

Historical sales data can be analysed to give trend data that may inform the agent about the market conditions.

Sales prices for properties of similar value can be consulted to better inform the agent, the vendor and prospective purchaser.

Reporting

A variety of reports can be printed, which may include:

window cards and listing sheets

cheques and statements

analysis reports such as profitability analysis for rental properties

summary reports such as all rental accounts in arrears

mail-merged form letters to clients and tenants

management reports that help to gauge the health of the business such as gained and lost managements, properties sold within a period, average time to sell and so on.

Security features

All systems of this type will require a user name and password for the user to log in and access the system. This prevents unauthorised access to the data by outsiders.

There is also the question of how much of your personal data you wish to share within the office. Typically at least several people will be using the same database in a networked environment. The past sales data, property data and contacts data are potentially available to everyone in the office. Sharing this data could lead to a more efficient operation overall, and that may be the choice of some agencies.

However the agency may be set up so that the agents are competing for sales. In this case, agents may wish to keep their ‘hot leads’ to themselves. In most products it should be possible to configure which parts of your data you wish to share, and which you want to keep to yourself.

Data integrity features

Data integrity is about ensuring that data is not lost or corrupted. Features of the software that support data integrity include:

Provision for easy backups. Ideally the software would allow for fast incremental offsite backups via the internet. Of course, if the software is web based, this is taken care of already.

Many data entry fields can be protected from incorrect entry by placing a reasonableness check on the data.

Internal features of the underlying database maintain the integrity of the data itself. For example record locking ensures that simultaneous modifications to the same record by different agent cannot occur.

Time management

Time management is crucial for real estate agents as many aspects of real estate business are built around rigid schedules.

For example, the agent must be aware of:

daily appointments with prospective vendors and purchasers

regular open-house events which must be planned

expiry dates of agency agreements with vendors

critical periods and dates in property sales, such as the cooling off period, contract exchange, settlement

the dates where the rent is due for tenanted properties,

dates for property inspections and lease expiry dates.

These systems can schedule appointments, reminders and alarms for all these crucial events, and allow the agent to add their own personal appointments manually. They also allow for notes and diary entries.

Communication and connectivity features

In the past, buying a commercial computer hardware or software tended to lock you in to the products from that one vendor. Today, the trend is toward standardisation where different products use the same hardware or software interfaces and so can communicate to one another. Coupled with the increasing use of communications technologies such as mobile phone and email, this connectivity makes it much easier to get things done. The problem is that the client’s expectations are continually rising at the same time!

Some examples include:

The system can generate and send emails or SMS text messages about new listings.

Data about a property can be downloaded by the systems from data providers on the internet. This data may include the lot and DP number, maps, zoning information, photographs and so on.

Listings can be uploaded, with photographs, to real estate listings websites.

Digital cameras are an example of connectivity that everyone is familiar with. With standard file formats for digital photographs, all real estate databases are now expected have features to display digital photographs.

Mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablet PCs and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) can be used to collect and use data. For example contacts can be transferred to/from a PDA or mobile phone.

A tablet PC can be used in the field for recording property inspections, to be uploaded to the database upon returning to the office (or indeed, might be uploaded in the field by accessing the Internet using a wireless broadband connection).

Some products will connect to common calendar/appointment software such as Microsoft Outlook. So the appointments and to-do lists generated by the real estate software can be used within Outlook.

Similarly, the mail merge functionality will use a common word processor format such as MS Word, so that the letters sent can be edited further, and stored for later review.

Real estate data products

So far, we have discussed database software that assists agents to carry out their work by managing the data belonging to the agent. There is another type of database product in real estate, and that is the sale of data itself.

Companies such as RP Data, Red Square and domain.com maintain extensive databases of property information.

For example, RP Data collects data from many sources including:

Properties for sale in brochures and newspapers

Direct information from real estate agents giving advice of upcoming sales

Data from the office of the valuer-general

Property information from the department of lands.

This information collected includes:

Sales history

Photographs

Mapping data

Property information (ownership, Lot, DP, area etc)

Access to this information can be purchased by real estate agents to:

Assist with the appraisal of a property

Judge the state of the real estate market

Look at comparable properties in the same area

Estimate the performance of their agency

Private individuals looking for a house will also access these sites to do research, such as:

Decide upon an area to live

Get an idea of the state of the market

Work out what they might need to pay

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