Buying the CRE Tech Revolution: What Executives Really Need to Know June 29, 2015 | Scott Sidman

Deal management, customer relationship management, lease management, financial analysis, building automation, crowd-sourced temperature control, energy data management, building and facility operations…phew!

What does this list have in common? These are just a few of the categories of new commercial real estate (CRE) software applications that have entered the marketplace in a flurry over the past couple of years.  In fact, there was over $150 million in funding for these firms in 2014 alone!
The pressure on CRE organizations and CRE executives in particular to implement these systems is coming fast from multiple directions. Organizations must differentiate themselves to compete more effectively, thus creating demands on executives to choose and implement new technological solutions.
Choosing any technology platform and provider has always required a certain amount of risk.  Questions any buyer faces always include: Are we picking the right provider or platform? What will our ROI be? Will our people use it?

Speeding Up Real Estate Technology Adoption

Historically, the real estate executive has depended on CIOs and IT departments to help make technology-related decisions, resulting in long and involved buying processes. Decision-making was slowed by typical real estate systems that required many spreadsheets.
However, the pace of decision making is increasing dramatically along with the general business requirement that everyone should be conversant in the language of technology. A CRE executive doesn’t necessarily need to know how to code, but they should know the difference between a mobile web application and a native mobile application.

 

Tips for Success in the CRE Tech Buying Process

 

1. Understand the Need for New Services

Don’t just rely on who you know or your current frame of reference to find potential providers. Go where the conversation is, particularly on social media and through information aggregators.
 
Here are a few resources you should be using to stay up to date:

 

 


2. Encourage Your Team to Demo the Product

It is crucial to allow the provider time to demonstrate how they will solve your problem. Demos and trials give providers the opportunity to prove that their solutions will actually work for your team’s environment and unique operating practices. Commit your team and resources to actively use the demo during the trial period or pilot.
 

3. Find a Vendor That Offers Support

The process of training your team is more critical to success than the functionality of the product. You want to find a service that has a clear deployment and training process, and that will provide ongoing support through an account manager as your team grow and progress.
 
With all of the technological advancements and pitches from vendors you receive daily, it can be challenging to weed out what will be helpful and what will be a waste of time and money. The moral of the story is that real estate executives need to become savvier with technology in order to strategically gain a competitive advantage.
Interested in more tips for implementing new real estate technology? Download our free ebook!

 

About The Author

Scott Sidman – Senior Vice President, Building Engines


Scott is Building Engines’ Senior Vice President in charge of marketing and corporate strategy.  He’s led Building Engines’ expansion efforts since 2004 and is also their CRE Technology evangelist; writing and speaking regularly on the use of real estate technology to improve operations and management practices. Mr. Sidman is an established marketing and sales executive with a diverse entrepreneurial background developing and implementing early-stage sale, marketing and business strategies. Prior to Building Engines, Mr. Sidman was a partner at Cedona Technologies, LLC where he led the company’s strategic efforts in selling event management and media archival tools. He also founded Access Solutions International, a foreign trade consulting company guiding US and Brazilian clients. He additionally co-founded and managed a Boston-based CRE services fi­rm. Mr. Sidman holds a B.S. from Cornell University.