The commercial real estate industry is big business and talk of technology and innovation seems to have hit a peak with buzzwords and topics like AI, autonomous automobiles, and blockchain. No doubt these are interesting and critical topics for CRE but there is a undercurrent in the commercial real estate landscape that is overlooked. By and large, this is an industry that has operated on faxes, spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls to get the job done. Collaboration and improving workflow is an afterthought but with increasing frustration, teams are looking to technology and software to solve for long-standing operational inefficiencies and gain a competitive advantage in their space. A McKinsey & Company survey from July 2017 backs these thoughts and reinforces the notion that technology and collaboration can positively impact business value and in our case, the commercial real estate industry.
While the benefits of increased collaboration seem logical and obvious, many firms are slow to adapt due to organizational inertia. In order to overcome this, it is important to think of the shift to more collaborative platforms not as wholesale replacements, but rather as supplemental tools. From McKinsey: “When asked about their own use of communication tools in their day-to-day work, most executives report that social technologies overall are largely supplemental. Nearly three-quarters of respondents say they rely primarily on older technologies, such as email, phone calls, and texting, to communicate with others at work.”
This process of adoption takes time, often times years but the commitment is necessary to receive the payoff. “In the latest survey, 45 percent say social technologies are very or extremely integrated into day-to-day work at their companies, up from one-third who said so one year before.”
The benefits of starting on this path to increased collaboration using technology is that through adoption, the reliance on traditional methods (email and phone) reduces. By using these collaborative platforms, organizations are able to greater leverage the workforce and data to maximize returns. “On average, respondents at organizations with message-based platforms report spending 62 percent of their time using traditional communication tools and 38 percent of their time using social tools, compared with a 71-29 split for all other respondents.”
One thing the McKinsey report doesn’t dive into are the massive benefits of leveraging the collaboration platform. By empowering CRE teams through a single platform, leadership can boost output by injecting data (ie. ESRI, Google Maps, Google Photos) and can harvest efficiencies in transactional execution with dynamic checklists, reminders, and alerts.
Challenges for Adoption in CRE
Organizations have multiple ways to avoid the shift to increasing collaboration and simple inertia can be a challenge to adopting new software and processes. It is important to get buy-in from the entire team. Even the best software, poorly deployed, will fail to make a meaningful impact on a company’s performance and in many cases will negatively affect performance, results, and even morale throughout your team.
Furthermore, while teams can look at current day performance as acceptable, forward looking organizations should consider that by 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. In order for firms to continue to not only produce and be effective, they must also attract top talent with the best tools available.
For the full McKinsey survey and results, click here.
If you’re interested in learning how Dealpath can work for you, click here.