Something we are asked all the time is: What should I be looking for when I am shopping for new technology?
It is a simple question with an incredibly complex answer. Let’s get started.
Despite the advancement in technologies that have been produced and designed to service the real estate industry, we haven’t seen an appropriate, correlated increase in productivity. If we look at profit as the ultimate business measure of productivity, so forgetting the rah-rah about GCI as a measure of success, we know that the average sales agent’s total pay is AU$33,431 – AU$78,382. The number of full time employees needed to manage 100 properties hasn’t shifted much in the last five years, with the ratio sitting around 1 FTE: 80 properties.
A SILVER BULLET.
It is all too easy to buy into a sales pitch for tech that promises to do it all. But here it is: no tech is going to do it all.
Moreover, we don’t think there will be. If a silver bullet were possible in the software space, we’d have it by now.
The issue with designing an holistic software solution for real estate businesses is that all real estate businesses are different. The freedom to decide on the strategic and tactical flavour of your brand and business is critical in the competitive business environment.
Those choices that real estate businesses make about a brand, service level, structure and specialisation create thousands of business models, hybrids and work practices that all look to software for execution support.
Technology that is created to support the real estate industry contemplates a marketplace where all of these different types of businesses exist. It is designed to deliver on the salient needs across the different operational manifestations of a real estate business.
A core piece of supporting technology, like a CRM, will attempt to solve these salient, generic needs that exist in all real estate businesses. Most CRMs then have similar features, including data storage; some communication scheduling, task reminders, deal stage processing and some common integrations, such as feeds to marketing portals such asrealestate.com.au and an agency website.
Outside of these salient features, each business will have additional needs and we tend to fill these needs with fragmented ‘apps’, each of which specialises in solving a particular problem.
Here is where the productivity drain really kicks in. As a business seeks to solve its problems with these core and peripheral pieces of supporting software, we end up creating work silos; fragmenting both the workflow and the customer experience.
Switching between processes and applications during a workflow or customer journey creates additional work and friction in the customer journey. The distance between where one piece of software ends, and the next one begins is currently being met by humans and it is neither revenue producing or customer facing.
TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSFORM NOT TORTURE.
Technology has the ability to transform or torture a real estate business and based on our insights at Aire., most are being tortured although they may not realise.
Before you buy new technology, we suggest doing an audit of your entire technology stack. Most real estate agencies have subscriptions to technology that they do not use and many have the capabilities that they are seeking within existing resources – they just aren’t using them.
If, after doing this audit, you find that you do have a need to hit the market for new technology, there are are some key considerations for the solution that you choose.
The value of your technology should be the degree to which it:
- Saves time; and/or
- Produces revenue; and/or
- Improves the experience for your customers.
THE FUTURE IS COLLABORATIVE.
There is a way to tick these boxes, bring everything together and remove friction from the customer experience. The fragmentation occurs when software and applications can’t effectively hand off tasks between programs.
As innovation and competition force developers to start working together, we are seeing more and more that software is being developed to work collaboratively across platforms.
Not only is there a productivity lift from removing friction in the workflow, but businesses then start to gain the exponential benefit of being able to leverage the benefit of core and specialist applications across their workflows.
Every day, there is development in this collaborative marketplace and it also invites the benefit of innovation in other markets into Australian real estate businesses – with the ability to deploy the power of world-class software solutions such as MailChimp, Trello, Slack and Google into the domestic real estate context.
Ensuring that your software decisions are future-fit and ready for the capabilities of a collaborative future is easy.
PLUG IN AND PLAY WITH API DRIVEN SOLUTIONS.
An API (Application Programming Interface) is a complex way of explaining how two pieces of software can talk to each other. An API works like an international travel plug adaptor, in that it can connect one piece of software to another piece and allow the programs to co-operate: producing new levels of productivity for business and users.
At Aire, we have a view that if a piece of software is not cloud-based, API driven, and already working with other applications, it has the potential to significantly limit the benefits that it can produce for businesses, both now and into the future.