Where to Start with Investing in New Tech?
Today's commercial real estate organizations are well aware of the need to invest in new technologies. In a rapidly changing business landscape, technology is a differentiator that can make or break your ability to stay competitive. Of course, evaluating and implementing a new system that will become the "source of truth" for your organization is easier said than done. So how do you determine where to start?
First off, letís clear something up. There is no "magic bullet" technology that can solve all your problems. The data and process challenges faced by commercial real estate organizations can't always be addressed by a single software provider. With that said, technology is still the best investment that your CRE firm can make to future-proof the business and stay successful in the marketplace.
Here are four steps that real estate firms should consider before making a big investment in CRE technology.
(1). Admit that spreadsheets are holding you back
There is no question that relying on spreadsheets as your system of record for all your important data is a mistake that can put your business at risk and cost you significant time and money. Donít get me wrong - spreadsheets have their place, but if they are still your go-to system for record keeping, you should be concerned.
Spreadsheets are making your workflows and processes unnecessarily complicated and they're also keeping your business from growing. As you take on additional investments, manage more funds, and increase your staff, spreadsheets will limit your ability to scale. Automation is the key to improving processes and working more efficiently, and the right CRE technology will grow as your business grows.
(2). Understand your data requirements
Before any implementation of commercial real estate technology can take place, your organization should take thorough steps to ensure that all of your data is in order and ready for smooth integration with whatever tech is applied. Regardless of which software you choose, your firm must undergo a data exercise to separate the good from the bad and prevent the age-old "garbage-in-garbage-out" scenario.
Start evaluating your organization's data and processes now so you can understand exactly what you need to measure and how you need to report that data. Regardless of your company size, a solid audit of your business will help you implement a solution that works with your processes instead of against them.
(3). Get your people on board
Next, you have to ask yourself an important question, "How will I get employees in my organization to recognize the value of automating these processes and learn a new system?" Technology generally isn't a threat to employees. It just makes their lives a lot easier and helps them perform their job more effectively. Getting employee buy-in is critical to the success of any software implementation project, so it's important to reassure them with these truths. The key here is to remember that even though systems manage data, staff and employees manage the business. No technology can take that away from them. Now is the time for your staff to think about whether their current processes make sense for the business and find better ways of working if needed. Technology won't fix broken processes, but it can automate the right ones. This is a great way to get your staff involved in the preparation for new technology.
(4). Take an open and connected approach
Finding a software provider with an open and connected approach to how they do business is key to achieving the results you want. No matter which technologies your organization chooses to adopt, the software provider should be focused on your success, allowing your business to operate the way it needs to.
To add insult to injury, many times, enterprise software providers will claim to foster an "open and connected environment" to simply gain your business. They talk the talk, but they donít walk the walk of being truly open. This tactic is similar to the "cloud-washing" that became popular many years ago during the rise of cloud computing.
This counterfeit open environment tactic has become such a problem that I wrote an entire 10-part blog series on how to tell if your enterprise software provide is truly open. Hopefully this will dispel some myths and help CRE firms make the best choice when evaluating potential software providers.
This Week’s Sponsor
MRI Software delivers innovative applications and hosted solutions that free real estate companies to elevate their business. Our flexible technology platform and open and connected ecosystem meet the unique needs of real estate businesses, from property-level management and accounting to investment modeling and analytics for the global commercial and residential markets. For more information, please visit www.mrisoftware.com.
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
Commercial and Corporate Real Estate Cyber Risk - Developing a Comprehensive Strategy - 10/25/2018
Hardly a day goes by that we donít hear about a Cyber breach. The most recent of scale was Equifax, the credit reporting agency in which credit information of 143 million of its clients was breached. While most of the incidents we hear about involve data or financial theft, there is a looming threatÖour built infrastructure. This infrastructure includes everything from power plants to dams, but also includes the millions of buildings we use every day to work, shop, learn, recreate, manage our health and more. The threats range from unwanted building access to pirating of video surveillance and everything in between. This webinar will focus on the entire spectrum of Commercial and Corporate Real Estate cyber challenges, solutions and strategies.
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.
Tom Shircliff is a co-founder and principal of Intelligent Buildings, a nationally recognized smart real estate professional services company that was started in 2004. Intelligent Buildings provides planning and implementation of next generation strategy for new buildings, existing portfolios and urban communities. Tom is a speaker and collaborator with numerous universities and national laboratories, a gubernatorial appointee for energy strategy and policy and founding Chairman of Envision Charlotte, a Clinton Global Initiative.
As CIO at Meridian Capital, Sandy Jacolow oversees the firmís nationwide innovation and technology initiatives that support the companyís brokerage, investment sales and retail leasing businesses and growth activities.
Ron Victor is a Silicon Valley based technology entrepreneur with 20 years of experience and expertise launching new ventures at start-ups and fortune 1000 technology companies. To-date he has enabled raising more than $30Million in start-up capital for multiple start-ups in silicon-valley. Ron has founded and led three companies to-date with successful exits. His latest venture is IoTium Inc. Ė a Silicon Valley start-up that provides a secure, cloud-managed, easy-to-deploy software defined network infrastructure for all IoT verticals.
Coleman Wolf has extensive experience developing enterprise-wide access control and alarm monitoring systems, developing business analyses, and conducting detailed security surveys and assessments of corporate offices, power generation plants, and facilities related to national critical infrastructure. Coleman has also managed numerous security system installation and upgrade projects. He holds a Master of Science, Computer Information Systems degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He is also CPP (Certified Protection Professional) and CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). Coleman also holds the following Professional / Civic Affiliations: ASIS (Member of American Society for Industrial Security), Chairman of the ASIS Information Technology Security Council, and is an active member of the ASIS Security Architecture and Engineering Council.