The days of ignoring the latest "cool and gimmicky tech solutions" are over for real estate companies. The rush of property professionals to find out how technology can increase their ROI is no longer a potential advantage, but instead a means of survival.
Somehow, numerous organisations in the real estate industry are still accustomed to manual processes, face to face dealings and our well known, age old dinosaur - Excel. However, if the industry wants to truly develop a lasting connection with the surging and innovative digital environment, then digital maturity will start to become a top priority for many future industry giants.
What does it take for my property business to become digitally mature?
Whilst we recently spoke about digital transformation being a reactive process, digital maturity requires a business to make the first move. It’s time to be proactive.
Naturally, there are various stages that a business needs to go through in order to achieve digital maturity. (No asking for a ring on the first date.) Two important considerations are firstly, that it's no one-step process; and secondly that it focuses on how your business uses data to create constant opportunity. So, strap yourself in as we delve into the four stages to reach digital maturity and whether real estate has what it takes to remain committed to its relationship with transformation.
1. Digitally Active: The Pivotal First Date
The initial leap to changing your company’s business model can be daunting, especially if you’re the newly appointed CIO (Chief Innovation Officer) who happens to be working for a DiC (Dinosaur in Command).
Where do I start? How long will it take? What costs will be involved?
As for some examples of romantically immature dates, these are all valid questions and seem to be what prevents potentially promising businesses from ignoring the butterflies and plucking up the courage to connect with tech solutions. The evidence of long-term cost savings and increased overall revenue outweighs the present strain on internal business change (basically, it’s time to get to it and shoot your shot).
A digitally active business, therefore, puts itself out there to make use of digital solutions that ease business processes. Spruce yourself up with transactional or e-commerce solutions, social media, an interactive website, or even a mobile app.
Whilst your business may now take advantage of some key solutions and has got through those unavoidable jitters, it’s not yet implementing a strong long-term game plan. Reflecting on your performance is important to optimise over-time and this is where your trusty friend, analytics, comes in.
2. Digitally Engaged: Committing to the Future
The first step is complete and it seems to be working out between your business and its digital efforts. Whilst you’re connecting well, you may not be sure how to develop a deeper connection. Fear not, analytics and the introduction of digital solutions to the whole organisation are bound to get you out of this rough patch. Digital re-structuring comes with a few bumps down the road, but getting everyone on board is essential for future development.
With the use of advanced analytics (and a few wise words from your customers) your digital solutions can be monitored and, more importantly, measured. Measuring the performance of digital solutions encourages digital engagement and sets your business up for a fruitful future.
A good example of this would be:
Developing an app to drive real estate leasing and using analytics or customer reviews to optimise the user journey. This separates you from simply being digitally active and shifts you into the wonderful world of the digitally engaged.
3. Digitally Competitive: Tying the Knot
Well would you look at that, a match made in digital heaven. Your commitment to the future is paying off, the engagement ring is out and the honeymoon phase is in full swing. So, when reality kicks in, how do you forecast future gaps for your business? Enter, machine learning.
Digital solutions don’t just make business processes easier, they open up doors for added revenue opportunities and provide insights into customer behaviour. Getting to know your digital solutions inside and out can better your growth and collaborative success for the future.
So, what even is machine learning?
In simple terms, machine learning gets to know every user’s habits, likes, dislikes, how they operate and tailors individual experiences. After all, it’s the little things that make a difference and everyone loves the extra thought.
Let’s put this into perspective:
Essentially, machine learning closes the gap between your business and its customers. The connection grows stronger, you build trust and there’s less grey area for unhealthy miscommunication. This data feedback can then be turned into actionable business solutions.
Forecasting future needs for your business as a single entity is one thing, but what about setting the standard for the entire real estate industry? Make way for maturity - the diamond anniversary of digital.
4. Digitally Mature: Two Becomes One
Maturity in the digital age is rare, but not an impossible bond. Power couples between digital and business include the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook - who are the leaders of their industry and commanders in their field.
Becoming digitally mature requires complete embedded AI solutions in your business model with unique revenue-generating channels. A special spark that sets you apart from the rest. This includes the development of digital products or services and using data to develop constant opportunities for growth, not only in your business but for the industry as a whole.
So what makes a lasting digital relationship? Key characteristics include complete transparency, future-focus, digital talent magnets and embedded digital innovation throughout your organisation.
What sets digitally mature businesses apart is their ability to be proactive and predictive in their industry.
They play a key role in laying out future trends and being able to adapt on the spot.
Can Real Estate Commit to Forever?
The real estate industry is one which can be set in its ways. Simply have a look at the use of systems, which are mostly used because they have worked for decades (ahem, Excel...). So what happens if the industry needs an analogue annulment - a fresh start with digital in its sights? The tired ‘if it’s not broken’ schtick has really been done apart, death by the exponential growth of tech.
Those who successfully marry into digital and embrace a digital future will pave the way for businesses to come. They have the ability to set the example for a successful relationship between business and tech. On the flip side, businesses who rush into it with no planning, run the risk of an unsuccessful union that leads to wasted resources and financial losses.
If you want to take digital maturity by the horns and avoid a digital divorce, we’re here to guide you on your way to a successful commitment.
Give us a shout today, and say JA to tying the (digital) knot!
The JA. Team