When improving workflows should you look for one app to solve all problems or create a multitude of apps that solve different problems?
The landscape of property technology has become noisy with the explosion of apps and different solutions. Shiny things with a silver bullet to solve niche problems for every real estate business. Yet, despite advances in technology, we haven’t seen a lift in productivity. We know that agents aren’t selling higher volumes than ever before and the properties-to-property-manager ratio has not shifted significantly with the adoption of these solutions.
The frustration seems to boil down to the search for one program to do it all. When I was an agency owner, that is certainly what I believed I wanted, but now that I have had so much exposure to the development of technology, I can understand that having one product to do it all would be a big mistake.
One solution vs multiple
As a real estate business, we set ourselves apart from our competitors by the choices we make in HOW we deliver our professional services to property consumers. That workflow is largely dictated by the technology solutions that we use to deliver it. If we all homogenise into one particular workflow or software solution, then every real estate business will essentially become the same.
The choices that we make in a business about brand, service levels, products and resourcing create what is known as a service design. The freedom to create and make choices about service design is critical in the competitive business environment. If we lose that ability to be ‘different’ then the only thing we have left to compete on is price. There are no winners in a price war.
The prop-tech marketplace
For real estate agents, the construction of a service design is really then about going to the prop-tech marketplace and choosing a ‘technology stack’ that matches the type of work practice (internal) and customer experience (external) you are trying to achieve. The elements for the technology stack has the potential to transform or torture your real estate business.
Avoid the pain points
The productivity drain in a tech stack occurs not by virtue of the fact that multiple solutions exist within it, but rather, where those multiple solutions do not integrate well with one another. If the multiple solutions do not support the sharing of information between the different applications then workflow becomes siloed, data is fragmented and the business lacks a single view of the customer. When there is fractured information about a customer spread across multiple platforms in a business, there can only be fragmented service.
A 21st century approach
Modern software developers understand what they are good at and seek to deeply integrate to foster this knowledge-sharing and single view of the customer. Software is capable of talking and working with other pieces of software through an API (Application Programming Interface). It allows for data or information to be dynamically shared between programs and for users to be able to leverage the features of one program with another.
Using core and peripheral solutions
The first step is to find a core piece of technology (like a CRM or Trust Accounting Package,) that enables niche applications technology to work with it. The question you need to ask is “Is this technology API-First and is that API open?” Once you have a yes on that core piece, then the fun part begins on choosing the technology that will plug in and support your service design and the experience you are seeking to achieve.
Many apps integrating is a solution that wins over one app and wins over many apps not integrating.
Meet Sarah Bell at this Friday’s REIQ Boost Agency Growth and Profit Feature Day at the REIQ. Sarah will be talking about how to use AI to solve problems in your business.