Commercial Real Estate professionals do many things very well, and can very well be masters at their trade. But they could still learn a thing or two from the high tech industry. Technology – especially cyber technology – is clearly driving the scale and speed of change in today’s business world.
Many commercial property owners, investors, developers, and property managers are already working to equip facilities with smart technology that “communicates” – sharing data to optimize energy efficiency and performance and thereby reduce operating costs. As an industry, commercial real estate should be where a property’s operating systems or “big-data” meets “the internet of things” and where everything from HVAC systems to infrastructure will be seamlessly interconnected.
But there are other technology-driven opportunities that commercial real estate professionals would be smart to embrace in order to stay competitive. There are many technology-driven ways to interact since the word “online” became as common as the word “business.”
A short list includes:
- social media platforms
- specialized applications and plug-ins
- workplace management systems
- sales automation platforms
- camera-equipped drones
- and the list goes on
It is a fact that the world, including the commercial real estate industry, is now connected in ways not even dreamt of a decade ago.
We don’t really need to go through the need for a website. We all have websites. The goal is to take it to the next level, so that our technological interactions are more comprehensive, intuitive, interactive, and informative.
Let’s walk through a few other technological advances available today.
Workplace Management Systems
Unlike outmoded individualized systems housed in only one facility, web-based workplace management systems allows information to be shared and manages the processes across the entire organization. With these systems, there is immediate access to fundamental facilities and property data such as employee information, floor plans, systems reports, and other critical documents. These interactive systems allows property managers and business owners alike to oversee facilities in multiple locations, run reports in real-time, obtain property information with a simple map-based interface, streamline key operations, and automate processes such as moves and multi-faceted work orders. Tablet and iPad applications are available for many of these systems and also allow property owners, operators and commercial property managers with the ability to have virtual control at any time and place.
Apps and Plug-ins
There are many exciting applications and plug-ins specifically created for the commercial real estate industry.
CoStar (iPad) and LoopNet (iPad, iPhone, Android) allow users to search for property information or listings in a specific location. According to the CCIM Institute, the results appear on a Google map and “…can be further defined by corridors, polygons, and radii. Selecting a property displays information about its agents, landlords, and principals. Market data — area occupancy, absorption, comps — and a financial calculator are also included.”
There are also financial apps that supply detailed calculations, such as the 10bii Financial Calculator and powerOne Financial Calculator — Pro Edition. And three apps specifically designed for demographic reporting include: TAS Mobile, Business Analyst Online, and Sitewise. Both of which are helpful to brokers and leasing agents.
Plug-ins are the perfect way to imbed property data and listings into WordPress websites, as they can be pulled directly from MLS. This gives websites a stylish, receptive interface, super SEO, and validated leads.
Sales Automation Platforms
Now let’s talk customized sales automation platforms or databases – commonly referred to as CRMs (Customer Relationship Management). Subscription software programs for commercial real estate professionals, hosted in the cloud, are readily available. The beauty of CRMs is that the information contained in the database is available web-based so access is easy. Have internet? You’re connected. Every activity can be recorded, from appraisal through listing, from promotion to point-of-sale and close. Real time business reporting – including cash flow, profit and loss, performance reports across all team members, and instantaneous buyer-property matching are also a few of the bells and whistles that come with these systems.
Meissner Jacquét Commercial Real Estate Services, a San Diego-based commercial property management firm, instituted a cloud-hosted CRM for use specifically by their Sales and Marketing Departments. Jerry Jacquet, a Principal at the firm, attests to the ease of use, “it’s wonderful to have information readily available and shareable among our Sales Team. It allows us to track our leads and improve the effectiveness of our sales approach, while aiming to shorten our sales cycle.”
Using the right technology empowers commercial real estate professionals to work smarter and hone that performance edge that takes them further. Today’s high tech tools are designed to optimize workflow. They make it easier to deliver the best service and to build those professional relationships that are critical to long-term business success.
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