The merging of digital technology with real estate could be defined as a clash of cultures, according to findings from a recent survey by KPMG International Limited.
“Currently, there is a cultural mismatch between real estate – an industry that is reluctant to let go of its traditional practices – and the innovative, “move fast and break things” culture favoured by experts in digital technology,” according to the findings. “The ‘dinosaur’ aspects of the real estate industry may present a considerable barrier to progress.”
There is no doubt that many in the real estate tech industry have felt a bit like Sisyphus of Greek mythology – they have toiled on disruptive and innovative concepts, but antiquated industry viewpoints mean sluggish adoption – and the boulder rolls back down the hill again.
Still, many within the real estate industry recognize the necessity of embracing technology in the rapidly changing, data-driven world.
There is a theory that the pandemic could have boded well for pushing rapid acceptance of new technologies in real estate.
“I can see how some people can view any disruptive technology as threatening, but current advancements in real estate actually contribute to the ease of transactions, increased client satisfaction, and a more transparent industry,” said Regan McGee, founder, and CEO of Nobul, an advanced digital real estate marketplace designed to more efficiently manage transaction services in real estate. Regan McGee added, “I really do believe that those in real estate are beginning to recognize the benefits of disruptive technology. I mean, at Nobul we just had some major capital come down the pike. Investors, agents, brokers, and those trying to buy or sell real estate are seeing that it can be incredibly beneficial.”
So, why has the industry shift been sluggish?
Per the survey, the main suggested impediments are a substantial skills gap, as well as the “real estate industry’s culture of caution and conservatism.”
Also, innovation will be at the foundation of the tech revolution in real estate.
One respondent told KPMG that it will be important to experiment and learn in the coming years: “These companies have to understand that disruption in the industry will follow and they should be better prepared to survive the next decade”.
Experts are predicting an adapt or die scenario from which real estate has been mostly insulated for decades.
The potential for change begins with leadership and the willingness of employees to gain further education in tech and data, in order to bolster their skills sets and become more adept.
It also starts with the employees feeling they have the freedom to fail.
“As uncovered in KPMG’s CEO Outlook survey ran earlier this year. Some 84% of CEOs said that they wanted a culture in which errors were accepted as part of the process of innovation,” according to KPMG.
Companies will find a competitive market in trying to attract and retain top talent, particularly those with highly sought-after skills in digital, technology, and data. The way to address this, according to KPMG, is to create a culture of innovation that serves as a magnet for talent or upskilling their current employees.
“I know many people feel threatened by data and innovation, but now is the time to embrace the change – lean into it,” said McGee. “Adopt the technology and educate brokers on how to use it. Now is the time.”