Prudential Fox & Roach, America‘s fourth largest real estate provider, is an affiliate of prudential real estate Inc. , whose annual sales were recorded as $ 15. 5 billion in 2004. With a staff of 900 employees, and an extra 3,300 commission-based agents, Prudential has operation in the United States and Canada, with a combined 70 offices between them. Owing to the stiff competition in terms of clients and listing that are normally faced by real estate companies, as well as their agents, it becomes prudent that a real estate company finds a way of expediting the complex nature of the sales cycle characterizing the real estate business.
For this reason, prudential was out to offer their employees and mobile agents a better ways through which they would gain access the databases like multiple listed services, the numerous forms and applications that are necessary for listing and selling property in the real estate business. As such the company was out to offer both applications and the use of intranet, whose duty would be the offing of a familiar interface browser, and a wide availability of the same, to the agents. That is how the company was able to implement Citrix’s thin-client technology.
This was in a move aimed at augmenting the server for MetaFrame presentation, currently in existence. Therefore, the objective was to enable a secure environment for the accessibility of information and applications via the internet. As a result, all the employees and agents now have a central point for accessing any given standard website for tools, applications, documents and databases, with the result that the sales cycle for the real estate has been drastically reduced. At the same time, there has been a provision of data security for the mobile and remote users.
This has also led to a 60 percent reduction on support requirement, while also aiding the nontechnical users with simplified computer uses. Finally, the implementation of this project has led to an 80 percent reduction in the number of agents who have hitherto left the company, on ground of technical support. Introduction The prudential real estate company is officially known as Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors. The company is independent entity, by virtue of its membership to the Prudential Real Estate Affiliate, Inc. he latter owns and operates Prudential Real Estate Company.
As of now, the company happens to be the fourth largest real estate services provider in the whole of the United States (Alcaly, 2003). The annual sales revenues for the company have been pegged at $ 15. 5 billion. At the same time, the company has offices in such areas as Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, all totaling to 70. In addition, the company has 900 employees on its payroll. This is besides the 3,300- independent agents, who have been contracted by the company, on a commission basis.
Founded in 1886, Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors Company markets itself as a solutions provider for real estate (Andriole, 2003). However, the company’s value proposition revolves around services provision, as exemplified by buying, renting, selling, or relocation, as well as reach. This is made possible, thanks to the help of the prudential network of the mother company, as well as the sales associates located in their more that 1,400 national sales offices, through out the whole of the United States, and extending onto Canada.
In addition, Prudential also offers insurance, financial and settlement services, under the umbrella of the Trident group (Andriole, 2005). The mission of the company is being an innovation oriented company in as far as the provision of home-related services is concerned. In addition, the company is also dedicated to the provision of quality services, while also upholding excellence. At the same time, the company enjoys cordial relationships with their employees, clients, strategic partners, sales associates, and the larger community.
This relationship is based on integrity and trust Problem definition Traditionally, Prudential Company has often relied on the model of support technology/acquire/deploy. However, this model failed to satisfy a successful collaboration between estate agents and mortgage brokers. For one, agents of the company were deemed as independent contractors. As such, it was important that brokers provided them with the necessary technical support, as they would full-time employees. When this is not done, the agents normally relocate, and this was the problem at Prudential.
In a bid to support the over 3,000 agents, the company utilized a conventional software/hardware model of implementation, and this led to the emergence of a wide range of problems. First, it was not possible to update the transaction applications for the support of real estate. At the same time, the process was both insecure and unreliable. In addition, it was difficult to keep up with many requirements for the computers, such as the ‘break and fix’ process. It also proved difficult managing the processes, via ungoverned and distributed management procedures and policies.
The lack of a secure and reliable support technology was also leading to a high turnover rate for the company’s sales agents. Factors driving Prudential to implement a mobile strategy for its employees. There has been a shift in the real estate business, from a district transaction process, to one that is more of continuous. As such, it is now possible for say, one insurance company to blend with another (Andriole, 2005). By extension, real estate agents are now capable of selling mortgages, homes and insurance, while yet others are able to sell shopping services and home decoratings, thanks to digital technology.
Owing to the development of databases by the realtors, they are hence now able to offer these services tot the customers, who through the use of a password can now gain access to the company’s website, or even communicate through the website. It is now possible to enjoy interactive relationships with a customer, and this has the potential of adjusting the pricing, distribution and the inventories in real time. Consequently, distance and time becomes compressed. It is this sort of connectivity that has enable prudential to implement a mobile strategy for its employees.
At the same time, there has been a drastic decrease in the number of days that a house remains on the market before getting sold (Lee, 2004). Another reason for prudential going mobile was a need to securely, reliably and cost effectively connect all their shareholders 24/7, by way of using intranets and extranets. At the same time, there is a stiff competition for real estate agents, from clients and listings. As such, prudential found it wise to implement the mobile strategy for its employees, as a way of expediting the property sales cycle, often marred by complexity (Liker & Choi, 2004).
In addition, addition, the company’s agents, many of whom were less sophisticated technologically, are always on the move, and so the company was out to offer them a better way to access the many databases, forms, and a multitude of listed services, that are necessary for listing, as well as in the selling of property. Also, there was a growing need by the company to offer real-time information to the agents, so that they could access information anytime, and from any location, thus enabling them attend more to their clients
Kind of Atomic e-business model Prudential employs Prudential is a full service provider, in that they take the credit for their primary relationship with the customer. In a full service provider model, the customer or in this case, a client is not prevented from dealing with the seller (Straub, 2001). At the same time, a full service provider company claims ownership of data. In addition, they share this data with the sellers, or suppliers, as long as the transaction is a mutual one.
As such, the clients have the perception that they are indeed dealing with the service provider directly. In the case of prudential, the company also contracts sales agents, besides the regular employees, who help the company offer insurance, financial and settlement services, besides the real estate business. Disadvantages of using Citrix’s “thin-client” technology. Although using Citrix’s “thin-client” technology has enormous advantages, there are also limitations for the use of the same technology.
First, there is need to have a high level of planning, in order that all the parts of the system, be they software parts of hardware parts, work in a synchronized manner. Secondly, incase a thin client server fails, and then there is a problem of affecting all the other internet connections that depends on. Thus, more clients could be affected in case a server goes down (Malone, 2004). In addition, there is a dire need for more specialized technical expertise, and this brings with it added costs (Andriole, 2005).
At the same time, no computer using this system may operate, without having to be connected to a thin client server. This then means that no server-based learning applications could be availed by use of a standalone computer. Thin clients also tend to be more focused towards large NGO’s and corporations, at the expense of small businesses and individuals (Malone, 2004). Some of the computer applications cannot also run on thin client software. There is also likelihood of a system halt or slowdown; in a case where there are multiple users.
The software does not also work with digital software that captures signature, while its initial cost exceeds that of a PC (Murphy, 2002). Thin client technology also makes quantification of low ownership cost difficult, and does not also work with software dedicated to voice recognition (Malone, 2004). Replicating Prudential’s mobile initiative in India. A replication of the mobile initiative to India following Prudential’s acquisition of a competitor is a good idea. First, there is now a presence pf broadband in India. This makes selling to be achievable, by virtue of the digital technology.
At the same time, customers can also access the company’s website, and also send e-mails. Through the achievement of connectivity, thanks to the presence of broadband, distance and time are compressed, and this aids in the enabling the increased availability of data, communication, security and applications (Murphy, 2002). In a way, this is one of the manes through which the company can be able to optimise its business operations. The use of the mobile initiative in India will also help prudential reduce on its operating costs, thus leading to the rise in profitability.
At the same time, the company will have a larger market share (Liker & Choi, 2004). In addition, the digital contact with the customers will serve as an enhancement towards the company’s ability to serve and stimulate them. Recommendations In order to provide tailored business and individual needs to each of the three groups at Prudential namely; independent agents, corporate employees and subsidiary employees of mortgagee service subsidiaries, it was deemed prudent to implement the use of Citrix’s thin client technology.
This was going to aid in the simplification of the user’s experience, and also the administrator’s technology job. The idea of simplicity is also appealing, owing to the lack of technical savvy, on the part of the users. Conclusion The implementation of Citrix’s thin client technology by Prudential Fox & Roach real estate company has enabled the firm to offers simple and consistent interface for the logging in of agent, their distances from the company not withstanding.
With regard to the systems administrators at the company, Citrix has led to a centralized and efficient deployment of updates, as well as in the provision of backup data. There has also been a three fold reduction in the number of technical support staff needed for the system updating, relative to the previous model of support/acquire/deploy. Ultimately, there has resulted a deployment of the applications, as well as the availability of multiple services listings for the database of real estate. Through the use of the Citrix thin line infrastructure, it has become possible for the delivery of information.
Furthermore, the break from the traditional support/acquire/deploy model, to the new Citrix thin line systems has also reduced the turnover for the real estates agents as they now have a better technical support. There has also been an improvement with regard to efficiency, while time and distance have drastically reduced to a bare minimum, in as far as the logging into the system of Prudential company and accessing of applications and information by sales agents, employees and other stakeholders is concerned.