The CRE workforce is one of the oldest in the nation, with at least 37% of its personnel comprised of those aged 55 and older. These elder workers are slow to adopt new technologies, and in turn the commercial real estate industry has traditionally been a laggard with modern tools. Younger generations aren’t jumping at hiring opportunities either, as they are hesitant to work in such a low-tech field; but there may be hope.
The “geriatric millennial” (born 1980-1985) was raised with
the best of both worlds: they gained tech-savviness with the rise of the
internet while also retaining the ability to communicate interpersonally. As
this generation grows within the real estate space, they’ll help guide the
industry towards the use of more modern technologies. What will that change
entail? How will adopting modern tech help CRE adapt to changing demands?
Current State of Tech in CRE
Data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain—these are
just a few of the technologies becoming essential to commercial real estate.
However, before CRE can think big picture on these major shifts, they must
start with the basics: their legacy software.
Most firms continue to depend on legacy tech, with 8 in 10 surveyed firms indicating they do not have a modernized system that could easily incorporate emerging technologies. Some CRE firms are trying to overcome the technology gap, but it’s moving at a glacial pace.
About 60% of the tech executives surveyed by Deloitte said their companies were, at best, on a journey TOWARDS modernization. Only 20-40% of those respondents expect large increases in tech spending for the cloud, robotic process automation (RPA) and other core technologies.
Deloitte’s survey respondent indicated investments in cloud
computing and storage, blockchain, RPA, AI, and data analytics; but experts are
also witnessing shifts in several other areas including:
Traditional CRE management systems are rigid and difficult to maintain and upgrade. The adoption of no-code technology is helping CRE firms connect property portfolios to relevant datasets, simplifying agent reporting and facility management, and automating notifications and alerts for agents and their teams.
Drone tech is creating new photography and video opportunities for the CRE industry, especially since the onset of the pandemic. Instead of in-person property visits and inspections, drone footage is helping CRE brokers gather the perspectives necessary to attract buyers, close sales, and provide important maintenance functions.
Virtual Leasing Management
Drones weren’t the only digital tool CRE brokers relied more heavily on during the pandemic. Virtual leasing management supported a fundamental shift in property leasing that will only continue to impact the market. From virtual tours to online background checks and leasing applications, virtual leasing management is fueling a completely digital leasing experience. AI features are streamlining the experience further by adapting rental rates based on changing market conditions and answering prospective tenant questions in real-time.
Integrating CRM with the Tech Stack
It’s become abundantly clear that using a CRM solution is only part of a bigger whole for successful CRE tech infrastructure. While the function of a CRM—to manage customer relationships—makes perfect sense for CRE firms, the tech isn’t being utilized at full capacity. A recent Forbes article pointed to a stat that shows 75% of CRMs serve team-specific rather than companywide needs. Instead of getting rid of the CRM altogether, the more apt solution is to ensure it integrates seamlessly into a larger technology stack that supports a frictionless customer experience.
Omnichannel experiences aren’t just for financial services companies and B2C retail. They’re revolutionizing all sorts of unique industries, including CRE. Touchless technology for offices became more prominent (and important) with the onset of the pandemic. It backed efforts to maintain hygiene and safety standards to match the moment. The touchless tech phenomenon contributes to the smart building trends already on the rise in the office sector, and there are several ways CREs are applying touchless technology to adapt to these changing expectations.
the CRE Technology Infrastructure to Better Adapt
It may be cliché to say that data is digital gold, but it’s
the truth. Leveraging data analytics and supporting technologies like AI and no-code
informs CRE on how tenants use space, provides deeper portfolio-level insights,
and makes it easier to assess historical occupancy—among other things.
Modernizing the CRE tech infrastructure positions firms to
adapt effortlessly to changing market conditions and anticipate needs to better
serve their markets. Here are just a few ways a modern tech infrastructure can
help CREs better adapt:
- Efficiently analyze public data to identify the
best markets and assets for investment
- Generate heat maps of population and development
with census and cell phone records and overlay it with economic, social, crime,
and weather data for due diligence on potential opportunities
- Utilize demographic and psychographic data to
develop ideal personas to attract investors and tenants
- Capitalize on AI to answer prospect questions
and learn how they prefer to communicate
- Use data-backed knowledge to inform more
effective messaging for campaigns
- Leverage CRM with the tech stack to facilitate better
acquisition and nurturing models
- Use market data to generate intelligent reports
that capture investor attention
- Apply data to verify claims and create
transparency for stakeholders
- Improve collaboration and communication between
teams with connected cloud solutions
- Leverage predictive analytics and automated
alerts on emerging opportunities to outpace the competition
- Collect and analyze real-time data with machine
learning and AI toolkits
- Help teams make decisions faster and drive a
better understanding of key metrics with visual representations of data sets
- Reduce management expenses and nurture tenant
and investor relationships with AI and CRE tech
- Use a
united tech stack to scale data management and monitor CRE performance data at
micro and macro levels
- Track the efficiency of ESG initiatives and
To scale faster and adapt better, partner with a consulting provider who can help you define your current tech stack and how it fits with your bigger innovation goals. At the end of the day, accelerating the modernization of your CRE tech stack can significantly simplify property management, inform quality decision-making, support better vetting of future opportunities, and secure investors faster, all leading to more effective and sustainable CRE outcomes.