The Fear of Being Replaced by Technology

“Real estate firms are now realizing they need to adapt to the changing technology landscape to stay relevant and gain an edge on their competitiveness.” This is according to U.S. technology provider who was commenting as part of a report by EY. The report unpacks what commercial real estate firms need to do to develop a solid technology strategy and then find the right partners to source what they need to implement and use it correctly.

According to the EY report – which brings together the findings of a major global survey of corporate decision-makers representing all commercial real estate disciplines as well as providers of property-technology (PropTech) –technology adoption is needed now more than ever but the industry is split into two distinct camps – the leaders and the followers.  According to a recent CRE Innovation Report from the Altus Group, a commercial real estate software and advisory services brand, while the majority of firms have made investments in PropTech, some are still using outdated spreadsheets to manage critical information. "The industry is at a turning point in embracing technology and has entered a state of experimentation, adoption and investment as new technologies and applications continue to emerge,” the Altus Group report explains.  

The leaders recognize the long-term benefits of technology and are developing well-planned technology strategies so that they can up efficiency and reduce costs. This group is advancing rapidly as they leverage internal and external data to make better business decisions. The followers, on the other hand, are lagging behind, with fears around costs, ROI, skill sets of staff members, and the traditional if-it-isn’t-broken-don’t-fix-it culture a major consideration.

Automation As A Real Estate Industry Enabler

A lack of digitization and adoption of new tech can literally slow commercial real estate companies down because with automation everything is faster – from securing building reports to communicating with clients and contractors.  

Many of the commercial real estate “follower” companies still depend on manual processes but these fail to promote centralization, automation, and standardization of data, which can lead to costly administrative errors.  

If, for example, a property agent is entering client data manually—or entering data multiple times into different systems—the chance of an error or omission is huge. This problem only becomes greater as the company grows because they now have to deal with massive datasets including everything from property appraisal reports, zoning regulations and offering memorandums to legal papers, tax reports, and ownership history records.

In fact, property managers are so acutely aware of the likelihood of mistakes from manual work that many have established quality assurance teams who are tasked with checking and combing through documents consisting of hundreds and hundreds of pages to identify any errors and omissions. While this approach might address the issue, it is a waste of time and resources; it increases employee costs and it in no way guarantees that errors are eliminated. When one considers that the CRE industry, particularly property management, has one of the highest employee turnover rates, with many employees feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, it makes sense to look for ways to lighten the load.  

A Complement, Not A Replacement

PropTech platforms and cloud-based integration software are changing how property investors and real estate professionals find properties, handle deals, and navigate communications with different stakeholders, like co-investors and tenants. But many fear that these technologies will replace them. Which might also explain why some companies have been slow to start their digital transformation journeys.  

But as the amount of data grows, emerging PropTech solutions should be seen as a complement alongside people, helping them to increase productivity and efficiency. These innovations speed up processes by automating repetitive tasks; making it easier to classify, store, search for and analyze data and documents.. PropTech should not be seen as a threat. After all, new technology always has disruptive effects early on in the implementation and development phases however the companies that manage to thrive during this phase are the early adopters that take advantage of the benefits of new tech. This reality, however, does not mean that new tech will completely replace real estate professionals. Proptech’s future depends on its ability to deliver customer-centric products that deliver more than just data. New tech will require skills and innovation from agents coupled with their knowledge and experience.  

In order for real estate professionals to integrate their skills with new tech, the various PropTech solutions themselves must be well integrated. By investing in a Data Integration Hub (DIH), commercial real estate companies can effectively integrate and automate PropTech systems. Trying to manage data transfer and consolidation involving data from different PropTech solutions, with several data integration tools, makes it difficult for companies to be agile and to quickly integrate and automate their data. Bringing the technologies that power CRE companies together and empowering teams to access the data they need, when they need it, is what a HIP is built for.  

A HIP will help bring systems together and automate a number of data-driven tasks, improving overall process efficiency and freeing up agents’ time to focus on more important things. When time-consuming processes are automated, CRE companies can accelerate response times between property managers, agents, and tenants; ensuring that real estate professionals can provide their customers with the best one-on-one service and advice. The right technologies will not replace people; rather they will help people to work better by eliminating human error and cumbersome manual data entry. Synatic's comprehensive toolset can help the commercial real estate industry automate various aspects of their business processes so that your agents have more time to focus on tasks that add real value. Synatic’s powerful Data Integration Hub can help you unlock clearer insights, provide improved customer experiences and boost overall business efficiency. To learn more about how you can automate your business processes and improve the way that your real estate agents and property managers operate, contact Synatic today

August 4, 2022
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