A recent article by Teresa Boardman, a contributor to Inman News, chastises large brokerages for treating technology as an afterthought:
Most brokerages don’t seem to really understand what an agent needs to know to be competitive in today’s market. If they did, I would see more digital signatures and fewer sideways or upside-down purchase agreements.
Part of the problem, she feels, is that when big brokerages have in-house technology experts, those “experts” are usually “the youngest person in the office. Their superpowers include the ability to use a touch screen, and an understanding of Spotify and Vine.”
She rightly observes that large brokerages usually need to do a better job of leveraging technology, but really, “afterthought” is not what’s happening here. Big brokerages are actually paying close attention to their technology options. The real issue is that so many options do not meet their needs.
The real estate software industry tends to be fragmented, with small players specializing in just one aspect of what a brokerage needs, such as transaction management or listing management. You can easily find a number of decent solutions if all you need is back office accounting or websites for marketing.
But in reality, one piece of the puzzle can never meet all your needs. As a result, brokers must shop around to different vendors for individual solutions. This multiple-vendor approach has its problems. If you research and buy your front office listing software independently from your back office accounting software, your agents and admins are going to be up to their ears in duplicate data entry. Add a separate transaction management system, and data entry becomes triplicate. Before long, communication breaks down, misunderstandings wreak havoc and mistakes happen.
There’s a better way. Integration is the key.
An enterprise solution is one that shares information among different department-specific applications. Sharing information saves you both time and money because you don’t need to beg vendors to get their departmental applications to talk to each other. You can funnel your resources into creating the right infrastructure instead. And you can say goodbye to data re-entry. The words “zero duplicated effort” bring smiles to agents and front/back office professionals alike.
Better yet, when your suite of products comes from a single vendor, you’ll find that your relationship with your “vendor” grows. Your vendor becomes a long-term partner in your business. No longer must you rely on the young technology “experts” that Boardman mentioned. Your technology partner becomes your technology expert.
This mutually beneficial arrangement frees your agents to concentrate on the business of helping families find homes. Unshackled by technology constraints, you can finally concentrate on building your business. That’s the power of integration working for you.