A successful digital project within Real Estate, is where you don’t focus on digitalization.
Yes, you read the headline correctly. I believe that the best digital project within a Real Estate business, is when you don’t focus on digitalization at all. Let me tell you why.
First let me give you some background. The other day Arlon den Teuling and I had a chat with Nicolas Waern. We talked about getting data driven within the Real Estate Business. Nicolas is presenting himself as a “Digital Twin Evangelist” and among other things, he is solving digitalization challenges within Real Estate. We invited him to our webcast “Hello World”, where we pick up data driven trends from different parts of the globe and broadcast it on Stratiteq’s website. And during our chat, Nicolas hit us with some inspiring insights.
Surely, we assumed Nicolas would urge Real Estate companies to invest heavily in digitalization, advise them to learn more about different technical solutions and hire skilled technical people to get the job done, right? Wrong! Instead, he said, the best incentives for Real Estate businesses to be data driven, lie somewhere else;
1. Formulating the business problems
2. Identify the jobs to be done
3. Not focus at all on digitalization nor technology
In that order.
I asked Nicolas how Real Estate businesses can start acting on data, instead of relying on gut feeling. Nicolas challenged me that there should be complementary thinking, by doing both. In other words: Use the gut feeling, get the ideas, and use the data to back up the decision to make changes. When you think about it, it sounds logical.
When Arlon asked Nicolas about the incentives for Real Estate businesses using digital twins and AI, Nicolas replied that the business goals always come first. And using data is only the means to achieve the desired result. Nicolas went on by saying that it is important to have data available and make sure that the data is understood by the people that should use it. However, the focus for each change should be the jobs to be done. And I think he is right. Technology is available, but still, it is the purpose and the business targets that are most important, if you would like to make changes.
How do we go from talking, to action in the Real Estate business, when perhaps money is not the driver in an industry that is making good money as it is? Nicolas sees a lot of aspects, like climate crisis and energy consumption as well as the younger generation with a higher demand of interaction. But he concludes:
“Money is still the driver for the commercial Real Estate businesses.”
So, how to get started? Nicolas thinks that it is essential to be innovative. He states in the beginning of our chat that he thinks that Real Estate companies should invite others to innovate with their problems and opportunities. A lot of the data in the Real Estate Business is locked in different systems, but step by step it can be unlocked and used for business purposes.
Nicolas means that it has never been this easy, meaning technology is available if you want to, but it has never been so hard, meaning there are many different solutions to choose from. The advice from Nicholas is to start small and try out different solutions and then scale up to the whole portfolio, when you verify the results.
The key to Nicolas’ statement is that focus should not be on technology, but rather the impact of the changes you can make, which I will bring with me for future discussions. I think we had an interesting talk and what Nicolas said is simple, but still gives you some perspective of what is most important when making changes. Feel free to reach out and share your perspective on the topic, or if you have any questions. If you have not seen the broadcast yet, you can have a look at it here.
Industry Lead Professional Services/Real Estate
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