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There is no doubt that investment in real estate technology is one of the key priorities right now.  89% of real estate businesses know they need to engage with proptech companies to adapt to the changing global environment.  However, only a third have a digital strategy in place according to KPMG’s Global PropTech Survey.

It might feel like a minefield but it doesn’t have to be.  There are proven solutions delivering value and solving problems for real estate, the key is how to navigate the options and create a technology strategy that drives value.  Here is our guide to doing that…….

#1: Don’t disrupt your business for the sake of disruption

Are you waiting for tech companies to come to you or do you have internal innovation procedures to find what you want, what your customers want and most importantly need?  

You’re probably being approached on a daily basis by an ever-growing number of small, agile startups with smart, sexy tech.  But do they really make the right solutions for key real estate challenges? Ask yourself, “do we need this or are we just creating a perception that we’re proptech savvy”?

Innovation should be driven by need.  Platforms and improvements should be useful, compatible and relevant to your business tools and software, and with your business partners.

#2: Consider the value carefully

61% of property companies believe a tech investment today will positively impact their revenues for years (from KPMG’s Global PropTech Survey), so you need to understand how the tech you’re considering delivers returns.

You might seek efficiency and cost saving, but you might also consider a solution driven by the new ways people consider real estate and physical space.  How can you create loyalty amongst you customers and tenants? How can you support their businesses and add value to a lease? You also need to look at how you measure value.  It may be revenue but also something less measurable but equally valuable such as experience and connection to, and a feeling about a place.

#3:  Align product-market fit

We are no longer in the own-to-consume era, customers want what they want, when they want to use it.  This is an era of high frequency change, the pace is gathering momentum, and real estate needs to keep up.  

The mindset change is understanding real estate as a service rather than product, a much more customer-centric approach than we’re used to.  As Steve Jobs said, “Put the customer first and then move onto tech.”

Your proptech solution needs to work for your new business strategy by delivering return on investment whilst creating an experience for your customer/tenant in ways that are changing all the time.  So if the smart and sexy tech does this then you have that perfect product fit, but if not – then don’t waste your time and money.

#4: The data opportunity

Data as a commodity is our biggest challenge and our greatest business opportunity, we need it in volume, variety and velocity.  Your proptech should provide this.

The right solution can deliver an understanding of our customer behaviours, needs and wants.  This data can be used to design the customer experience, personalise space and service.  This leads to increased tenant retention and enhanced asset performance.

It’s all about optimise, optimise, optimise rather than location, location, location.

#5:  Tech + human approach

There’s a saying – it’s better to have loved and lost than not loved at all.  Tech failure is acceptable as it proves you’re taking part and testing what’s right for your business.

However tech itself doesn’t fail, it’s the human element that is likely to cause the failure.  There are many negative connotations of implementing proptech: “It will take my job”, “I don’t want to change the way I do things.”  However, proptech and humans create that symbiotic relationship that delivers. Tech and human together deliver greater value and efficiencies.

Human + tech is the smart way to think about your future.

#6 Deliver the WIFIM  

WIFIM, or “What’s in it for me” leads to buy-in. Everyone in the organisation needs to understand the benefits technology will deliver to them.  Buy-in is paramount to success so it’s important to get all the stakeholders involved from the start.

Allocate the correct resources to the project to ensure success.  Identify the benefit to those who need to deliver the change, and how the company will benefit.  Sell them the dream.

Proptech should deliver a better all-round experience for the worker AND the customer. Technology is shaping the way we live our lives and the spaces that we occupy, both at work and at home.  

There are technologies that are proven solutions not just cool CREtech.  One of these is Mallcomm.

Maintaining high tenant satisfaction is top priority for 97% of facility and real estate managers and that’s how our technology Mallcomm was born.  Through our work of marketing real estate, we knew that tenants needed to be engaged but we had no effective way of doing that. We couldn’t get them involved, understand their needs, make their interaction with property management teams seamless and efficient.  

We needed to maximise their satisfaction.  So we invented a technology that would solve these problems.  Across the 250 locations using Mallcomm, tenant satisfaction has been improved by 60% for owners such as Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Brookfield.  

Mallcomm also features operational and social solutions such as workflow management, smart building integration, access to key resources, concierge and social chat.

This is a technology that delivers immediate return, enhancing effectiveness and efficiency through streamlined operations and delivering value through vast amounts of data.  The value comes from the way it is a platform that solves many pain points for all users because it was created in real estate, for real estate by real estate.

By Michelle Buxton, Founder and CEO, Toolbox Group