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Today’s businesses run on information, including Commercial Real Estate (CRE) companies. Historically, the CRE industry has been slow to invest in technology, but companies responsible for selling and managing commercial properties are realizing the value this continuously evolving technology can offer. Integrating these tools to extract more value from the siloed data trapped inside them is the challenge.

PropTech has emerged as the technology best-suited to manage the extensive amount of paperwork and data generated by CRE companies. Many real estate professionals still rely on spreadsheets and paper processes to manage operations. CRE companies that haven’t integrated their existing technology stack with the latest PropTech solutions will not be able to leverage their data to provide actual value. Integrating data from across the organization provides a holistic view of operations and insights that can elevate business performance.

Integrating Operational Siloes

CRE companies that own and manage individual buildings typically have siloed systems across their portfolio. Each building has its own set of operational controls. For example, one facility may use Johnson Controls software for building management while another uses Delta software. Each system generates its own data and performance metrics. Still, without the means to integrate those systems and consolidate the data, it becomes challenging to generate reports that provide a comprehensive understanding of business operations. What’s more, CRE companies that integrate their technology stack realize savings by improving operating efficiency, and more importantly, they save time.

Managing a commercial property infrastructure requires multiple solutions to handle HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), common WiFi areas, submetering, lease administration, and more. These systems are seldom integrated, meaning transferring data between systems is extremely manual and time-consuming. Creating a connected solution stack that consolidates and aggregates data between a company’s disparate systems and then pushes that data into a central destination makes it easier to monitor and manage activities.

For example, a well-integrated solution stack can be an instrumental tool for ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting. Consolidated information about HVAC and submetering can accelerate the process of determining a company’s ESG rating rather than relying on spreadsheets. The ability to provide accurate ESG metrics can affect investment and government regulations; therefore, investing in an integrated system that can aggregate data between a CRE company’s PropTech solutions for reporting purposes is tremendously beneficial.

Having a standard set of operational data also lays the foundation for automation. By building automated workflows that have access to standardized data, real estate professionals don’t have to perform repetitive tasks that can be automated. In addition, some manual processes can be eliminated altogether. Automation not only saves employees valuable time, but also makes life easier for tenants. Using automated touchpoints to simplify tasks like booking conference rooms, controlling building access, reporting problems, etc., is more efficient and makes it easier and faster to resolve issues, increasing tenant satisfaction.

Addressing the Integration Challenge

Most CRE companies aren’t prepared to integrate and modernize their legacy solutions with more modern PropTech solutions. Migrating data to new systems, standardizing the data, and deduplicating it can be a time-consuming manual process requiring hours of keying data from one system to another.

In most cases, CRE IT teams connect legacy systems to modern PropTech solutions using APIs. These APIs allow operational software to share information for a more comprehensive operational view. However, outdated CRE applications don’t support standard APIs, so they must be customized, which can take months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, many CRE companies struggle to connect legacy systems and custom-built CRM software to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) because the APIs are too complex.

Rather than trying to develop custom APIs and bespoke integration solutions, it makes more sense to use a Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP). A HIP serves as an all-in-one integration tool that enables CRE companies to orchestrate data between different solutions, allowing the data to be used as required. Through a HIP, users can develop secure data workflows to integrate applications across the infrastructure. It’s the easiest way to break down data siloes.

When considering an all-in-one integration tool, it’s best to look for a complete solution with ETL, Integration, API Management, or Warehousing capabilities that meet current and future needs. A HIP can integrate with other applications in any location, whether in the cloud or on-premises.

As with any business, consolidating data enables greater operational intelligence and promotes business agility. The ability to integrate and automate data quickly provides a competitive advantage. Having a single system that can consolidate, integrate, and operationalize data makes it easier to present meaningful business intelligence ready to use. Integrating data through a single platform simplifies data management and minimizes manual errors.

PropTech integration is the foundation of the next phase of CRE innovation. The first step CRE companies need to make is to use their technology to its full potential, which requires investment in a reliable HIP to better manage their data.

Thank you to our guest author

Jamie Peers

Vice President of Business Development and Alliances for Synatic

Jamie Peers is the Vice President of Business Development and Alliances for Synatic, overseeing strategic partnerships, business growth, and GTM strategies.