This paper deals with a proposal that was submitted approximately a year ago to address Prudential New Jersey's Martinsville office growing need of technology standardization. The proposal, which was accepted then implemented by two friends and me as a "moonlight" job, was to fully automate their agents' data and communication processes through the use of computer equipment and peripherals. In doing so, we hoped to alleviate the agents' dependence on physically being in the office thus allowing them greater operational flexibility. This process would also extend the reach of their current AgentOffice software application right into their clients' home. By extending the reach of their current network, we would open up a whole new avenue of capabilities to their agents.
No constraints were put in place at the beginning of the project by the Business Manager of Prudential New Jersey Realty, an old friend to all members of the design team, as he knew the only drawback was in not changing the way things were done then. Below, I will outlay in detail how the various phases of the Systems development Life Cycle (SDLC) were utilized to bring forth a final product.
Prudential Realty: A Systems Development Life Cycle Approach to Modernization Initiation
In a discussion shared over a beer one night after a soccer match, a friend of mine named Rodger, who held the position of Business Manager for the Prudential Real Estate office in Martinsville, NJ, was bemoaning the fact that the way in which his agents worked was not in tune with the times. Each was working with their own setup and the only thing they had in common was the fact that they needed to come into the office to enter all their client information into an outdated system. As they say one thing lead to another and more or less as a favor, I along with two other friends with whom I had done some side work in the past, assisted Rodger in formulating a business plan to meet his and his agents needs.
Into the breach we went and in conjunction with Rodgers agents and office staff, found one overriding issue that needed to be addressed. Everything revolved around the whole agent/client data process with which the agents currently have to operate in. We found their current processes to be highly inefficient as the workflow procedure illustrated here shows: (Example 1: ). As you can see from the attached picture, everything revolves around the agents' physical presence in the office. The current workflow method for the agents is for every bit of data to be controlled from a central source. Client and business information, along with email, is only retrievable when in the office and connected to the network.
When an agent prepares to leave the office, they must print out the client information form from the AgentOffice software application, any new email correspondence pertaining to that client, leads, articles, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) entries and any other information they need. Once that is done, all this paperwork is put into the client's folder and physically carried by the agent to the client's home. Once there, all new information is written down by hand, pictures are taken with various instant cameras of homes that need to be entered into the MLS system. Upon the agents' return to the office, all new information is manually entered back into the AgentOffice system. Any pictures taken then need to be manually scanned and a graphics file created then saved onto the local network before they are uploaded into the MLS. The agent, in order to get an updated copy, must reprint the client information. Feasibility
We came to the conclusion, as Rodger had, that changing his agents' operational procedures is long overdue and now ranked as a necessity. In order to stay competitive as an entity, Prudential Realty had to change the way it utilizes technology to enhance and address the operational needs of its agents'. This is the main...