There’s no doubt that technology has drastically changed the way we live and work, and it promises even more substantial changes in the years to come. Technology exists to save us time while enhancing our everyday activities, never to create an extra hassle. From how we communicate with each other to how we purchase clothes or groceries, there is always a new way to optimize our current routines.

Repeatable tasks are easily optimized, but the real magic is when tech helps augment job functions that require human decision-making. These require massive amounts of data to help make accurate and profitable decisions. Nowhere can automated data aggregation and visualization be more helpful than in the commercial real estate industry. Somehow there are still slow to adopt…

The Most Dangerous Game: “We’ve Always Done It That Way…”

When giving advice to founders, VCs always remind the team that the biggest competition they face is the status-quo. It’s no surprise that CRE has been behind in embracing new technologies, especially in the areas of data analysis and data management. That’s finally changing.

The CRE industry traditionally centers on personal relationships, private events and introductions. This leaves new hires striving to get into these tight-knit circles while struggling with inefficient practices. As a result, deals take much longer than necessary, essentially wasting time – one of our most valuable resources.

Technology: Not a fad.

With rapidly growing acceptance that data-driven insights are already substantially improving systems across a wide range of industry functions, CRE tech companies are making their way into firms faster than some might realize. By adopting these technologies, teams are significantly increasing the pace of visualizing crucial data. Utilizing their existing proprietary data company-wide while cutting down hours spent on data capture and data entry. In an industry where “time kills all deals,” the value of such tools are crucial to getting ahead today.

If it’s not broken don’t fix it – Wrong.

Many CRE companies have massive research teams who live within spreadsheets and outdated interfaces gathering data such as leasing activity and sales transactions. It seems okay in theory until you calculate the hundreds of hours per month spent manually tracking & updating data, creating one siloed database after another, before they even get to analyze it.

These research teams not only have the weight of constantly discovering new data, but also distributing it quickly to ensure all teams stay market experts – in addition to responding to urgent one off data requests. Yikes!

CRE Tech: It’s here.

Luckily, as we become a more data-driven society data initiatives continue popping up everywhere you look. CRE tech companies are thriving while updating old traditions. Consolidation of siloed data allows teams to aggregate new data, optimize management of existing data, and provide company wide visualization. As a broker, the information you need to close your deal is not only easier to retrieve, but more wholistic and in a format much easier to digest than a massive spreadsheet you requested from a colleague.

Embrace it.

With any industry, there will always be innovators and early adopters. This group is where thought leaders live. They are the first to test a new technology, devise a new system, or optimize an existing one. The early adopters tend to gain a competitive advantage by improving their output while decreasing overhead and thereby increasing margins. They realize benefits before the rest of the industry and ultimately profit before anyone else.

Next comes the majority and the late comers. Usually more risk averse and still mired in the traditions mentioned above, they adapt only once a new technology is in place and the benefits have been demonstrated. However these folks only get a chance at the crumbs of opportunity left on the table by the early adopters.

Finally we get to the last group, also known as the laggards. Very resistant to change, this group will only adopt new systems when pressured, if at all. This group will ultimately become obsolete as technology progresses because at some point, technology will outpace their usefulness.

As someone who works in CRE tech adoption, the late comers and laggards are the ones I tend to pay the most attention to. They are content with what they have, and will typically only adopt new products if they absolutely have to. They rarely think about optimization or “the next big thing” and their past heavily influences their current process or views. It can be difficult for this group to recognize the flaws of their current systems when introduced to new technologies. Understanding that these solutions will be a massive improvement to both their company and their personal career growth is key.

Data = Dollars.

Technology is not something to be feared. Imagine the possibilities if all of the generations before us had access to our current technologies. We could be years ahead of where we are today — and ideally not as resistant to change.

Whether you’re a CRE analyst searching for fresh sources and ways to optimize manual data entry, or a broker wanting to push your next big deal across the line, getting ahead today requires the adoption of new technology. The days of outdated spreadsheets, siloed databases, and waiting too long on the availabilities you requested are now in the past.

The CRE industry is extensive and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but change is happening at a rapid pace. Technology is here to stay, no matter which way you spin it – so don’t be left in the dark, holding on to old traditions.

Nicole currently leads Customer Success at REscour, a CRE data management and visualization solution. For more information send her a message today.

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