A new report from Building Engines called The CRE Technology Gap explores the current relationship between technology and real estate ownership. More than half of real estate operators want to implement more technology and 84% of owners believe that technology can help the business meet all of its operational goals. In addition, 89% of property owners believe that technology is shaping the commercial real estate industry. So, it is clear that technology is playing an increasingly important role in real estate operations; however, many operators still struggle to find the right technology solution.
One challenge facing the industry is the need for better quality technology. Operators want technologies that can increase revenue, deliver the best occupant experience and reduce their operating costs. According to the survey, 51% of owners said that the right technology could streamline operations, while 49% said that it could help make decisions quicker and 48% said that they could more effectively respond to occupant needs. However, current technology needs are not being met. 30% of owners said that the current program is providing acceptable or pool value. As a result, many operators are making changes. In fact, 41% of operators said that they changed from one technology solution to another and 34% said that they adopted a new technology solution. In addition, operators are looking for technology solutions that impact the occupant experience. More efficient operations could impact the occupant experience, according to 74% of those surveyed.
Building an efficient tech platform isn’t necessarily as complicated as many operators believe. Efficient tech platforms could include one to three tech tools using a streamlined arsenal. Of those surveyed, 83% said that a small set of tech platforms would be enough to streamline the business and 65% are already implementing a small-tool technology strategy. There are three primary pillars of tech tools that companies should implement, and those include leasing, accounting and building operations. In addition, owners have named rent/income tracking, financial performance, project management, tenant communications and survey request management as the top tasks that technology tools can support.
Despite the fact that technology inclusion is still new in commercial real estate, owners seem to have a keen understanding of how technology can drive value in the business. Of those surveyed, 88% said that security and data privacy regulations were extremely or very important; 77% said that speed to implementation was extremely important and 73% said that the ability to add tools or modules was extremely important. However, some respondents also noted challenges in implanting quality technology. 32% of respondents said that tools don’t integrate well; 29% said that it is a challenge to get tenants to participate or use tech tools and 28% were concerned with security.
Ultimately, the survey outlines two major ways that technology will impact NOI. First, increased software adoption will help owners compare platforms and create optimal efficiency. Second, owners should convert static documentation, like Excel, to a more modern, tech-enabled platform.