The commercial real estate technology space is constantly evolving, as Logan Soya, Aquicore’s Founder and CEO, discussed with Scott Sidman, Senior Vice President at Building Engines. Part one of the Q&A segments from CRE Tech Talks podcast includes Logan’s Olympic dreams, the foundations of Aquicore, and how Logan has positioned Aquicore to stand out among competitors – check it out if you haven’t already. In part two, the conversation turns to the restructuring in the industry as technology takes over.
Scott Sidman: What are some of the unique benefits now available to commercial real estate firms with this recent influx of new technologies in the marketplace?
Logan Soya: I think there are a couple of themes here that are really important for larger organizations to understand, and how technology impacts it. It’s something that I personally have a keen interest in, beyond just what Aquicore brings to the table, and it’s generally what the marketplace is starting to see. This intersection of technology and commercial real estate is bringing in almost a cultural impact to help people make decisions.
One is that technology brings in a capability to have real-time access to information, especially for senior-level executives, that previously were sort of monthly reports, or even quarterly reports at times, which is a key factor to improve the velocity of an organization. That organization now can make decisions that are more quick-paced, and ultimately get to the piece of business that has the most value. That’s super exciting to see, and it’s happening not just at the young corporate space, but even at the larger organization stage. I think it’s going to make a huge impact on who becomes the leaders of the industry, and who ends up potentially getting left behind.
The second piece I find really fascinating is that there are more collaborative tools out there, so being able to share information from the front line all the way up to senior executive is a lot easier now. There aren’t as many layers of communications, or bounces, if you will, from person, to person, to person, where you could potentially … say, a little bit of telephone and then lose that message’s fidelity by the time it gets to the last person because all of that is being captured in technology, so it becomes this seamless transition from one piece of the organization to another.
Scott: Two primary drivers: the accessed information in real time (and I think that’s a great point, the transition from periodic, the sort of the standard thing we’re all used to, where you get a monthly report or the quarterly report) then the layers of communication. It sounds like what you’re saying there, too, is communication with context is used now because it’s captured in the course of conducting business.
Logan: Yeah. Just as an example that’s maybe outside of the CRE industry, and then transitioning back to something that is more directly applicable. As a business owner who is very highly focused on being data-driven ourselves within our organizations, we leverage a number of business automation tools to help us with sales, to help us with marketing and finance, and product iteration, and all those tools communicate with each other and make the transition from our marketing to our sales that much easier.
You find much fewer issues around sort of siloing effects between these two different departments and what their end purposes are. In terms of the real-time aspect, I can open up my phone and see exactly what my pipeline is at a moment’s notice. All that information comes from the tools that my sales teams are using, or my marketing teams are using, and allows me to make faster decisions as an executive.
I find it very exciting that a tool like Building Engines, for example, or some of the other tools that we’re seeing on the market around broker servicing, monitoring, and tracking are all becoming much more accessible to the senior levels of an organization and making that possible, where before it was just that periodic monthly report on how your leasing is doing.
Scott: On the data piece point: the information is in transition from the old Excel style structure of rows, and columns, and layers of information. Now the presentation layer is changing to be much more visual in nature. You mentioned the pipeline. Any thoughts there in terms of the impact of that, in terms of the people’s ability to consume the information?
Logan: I think usability is a huge asset that has become very obvious on a number of other business verticals. I think that in the commercial real estate industry you’re finally starting to see a couple of these tech firms really break out with that capability. I think that’s going to really signal sort of a best of breed practice that starts to appear now, in the different technology companies that focus.
Usability is going to be key, because in the end of the day, what is exciting about where technology is today is that you’re transitioning from the state where technology could go 80% of the way, but then you would still need an IT department, or you’d still need some sort of an engineer or something to take it to the last mile.
Now, where technology is reaching us. In the age of the iPhone and things of that nature, you really are getting to the point where the value creation will reach an end user, and the end user doesn’t have to know anything about the internals of the technology itself. That speaks for the focus on usability and design to make sure new technology is easily understood.