Digital Transformation Is Revolutionizing the Commercial Real Estate Industry

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The technology industry has a tendency to overuse words, which leads to a lot of different terms carrying multiple different definitions. In this crowded space, perhaps no single phrase holds more meanings to more people than Digital Transformation. Digital Transformation can be defined as using digital technology to transform the experience of every player in a company’s orbit. This includes employees, shareholders, partners, bankers, and especially customers.

When thinking about digital transformation, it’s not limited to creating a website, buying digital ads, or being more active on social media. Initiating these items alone will not stop a digital native company – one born with digital channels making up its DNA – from eating your lunch. We are all familiar with companies, and even entire industries, that were destroyed seemingly overnight by digital native upstarts. Take a look at Netflix and the impact it had on Blockbuster’s stores closing nationwide. How about how Uber pumped the brakes on the taxi industry in a matter of months. And Craigslist, Facebook, and Google are why the final issue of most print newspapers, magazines, and yellow pages occurred.

However, there are plenty of examples where incumbents leveraged their own traditional assets and combined them with digital capabilities to punch back and create viable competitive digital experiences. PayPal owns a digital native payment platform called Venmo that has achieved the much-vaunted “verb status” (“Let me Venmo you my half of the bill.”). The banks could have tried competing with PayPal by running advertisements touting the convenience of walking to an ATM and withdrawing money or showing a slick new design on a paper check. Instead, they created a network and directory called Zelle with its own branded app.  A software development kit for Zelle was distributed to participating banks so they could easily incorporate it into their own mobile banking apps and create an experience with some very real advantages over Venmo. The results have been fascinating to watch as Zelle, by many metrics, is actually ahead of Venmo.

Another example is the plans of the giant organization, The Walt Disney Company, on launching its own streaming service and in return, will be pulling its content from Netflix. The combined offering of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu (which are all owned by Disney) will likely reach nearly as many, if not more, households than Netflix.

Digital natives do not need digital transformation. They were born in the digital channels their customers use and can be frequently found: in the cloud, on mobile, and on social. They leverage immense volumes of data behind the firewall and outside it and use machines to process it in order to augment, and in some cases, replace humans.  Traditional industries and legacy players are the ones who will either transform themselves and how they interact with their stakeholders or watch as innovators eviscerate them and their shareholders.

The Zelles and Disneys of the world take bold steps to embrace technology in ways that allow them to interact with their customers the way their customers want the most. Increasingly that is through an app, or a voice assistant, or through a chatbot.  They invest heavily in tech partnerships and internal capabilities. Most importantly, they view data as their most valuable asset.

We created Lobby CRE to enable digital transformation for Commercial Real Estate owners by creating a world-class data management platform. It lives in the cloud and allows owners to house their data – internal and external, structured and unstructured – in one location and to synchronize that data across all of their stakeholders’ devices.

We are developing visualizations and machine learning algorithms to synthesize and combine that data in unique ways, so a CRE owner can get notified when a metric like NTV (notice to vacate) is moving up and to visualize how that will impact EGI (effective gross income) in the long run. But then we give deeper insights into why that may be happening, whether it be due to inclement weather or customer complaints that are out on the web about that property. We are building machine routines that can scan every offering memorandum that comes in and quickly compare the metrics that matter so that more time can be spent digging into only the right properties that match the owner’s portfolio strategy. But most importantly, our platform future proofs a CRE owner’s organization by making their data accessible to its bankers, investors, and property managers so that they can all make better and faster decisions. In other words, our customers are investing in the platform that will make digital transformation possible.

Request a demo to learn how Lobby CRE can help your firm smoothly transition from outdated manual processes to automated, time-saving processes. 


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