Real estate investment firms face a range of day-to-day challenges as they consistently look for ways they can mitigate their risks and maximise returns from their portfolios.
From managing disparate data, to analysing the impact of various scenarios, through to attracting new talent – these are just some of the factors to consider, and that’s before the need to navigate changing market conditions and emerging crises such as the coronavirus outbreak.
At times, the real estate sector has been slow to harness new technologies and ways of working. But, increasingly, there is a critical need to adopt new innovations in order to become more efficient and flexible.
As we see more millennials becoming senior decision makers in the investment world, this new generation is driving more and more change across the industry and transforming the ways of doing business.
By 2030, it’s estimated that 75% of the entire workforce is expected to be made up of millennials. They have grown up in a world where technology is ubiquitous.
It is used to consume information at a faster rate than has ever been possible, and that ability is ingrained in day-to-day life – as is the opportunity to use that information to make better decisions.
An obvious benefit of modern technology is the efficiencies gained from the automation or digitalisation of manual tasks. If you think millennials are going to allow their best and brightest minds to spend long hours sifting through data on spreadsheets or physical documents, then think again!
Quite rightly, there is a demand to free up talent to focus on activities that boost business value. The rise of millennial business leaders means finally saying farewell to convoluted sets of spreadsheets that we have traditionally just accepted, but are now outdated, prone to error and simply not fit for the purpose of managing large, complex and high-value investment portfolios.
Intelligent technology today allows us to streamline, standardise and automate data aggregation processes, allowing property investment professionals to access real‐time forecasts and statistics that were previously buried in complicated spreadsheets, or manually shared via email.
Everyday tasks that used to take weeks, such as consolidating multiple sources of rent roll information, now take less than a day, which unlocks a significant amount of time for businesses to focus on analysing investment performances and modelling various scenarios to inform ongoing strategy.
The importance of this time-saving cannot be overstated. Millennials seek convenient, easy-to-use solutions but, let’s be clear, this is not about laziness or cutting corners – it’s about selecting the most suitable tool for the task at hand.
Expanding on this, millennials’ love and preference for digital communications via apps or online portals also extends to business communications. They expect to be able to send and receive instant and highly personalised messages that are up-to-date and accurate.
This helps build trust and relationships with investors and stakeholders, as they will want personalised dashboards and reporting to view key performance metrics from anywhere at any time.
Personalised communication is rapidly becoming not just a nice-to-have but a business imperative as the millennial demographic will eventually comprise not just the majority of professionals within real estate investment organisatons, but also the investors that they serve.
There are digital solutions, created specifically for real estate investment, that can cater for this need and these personalised tools are becoming more and more prevalent.
In addition, unlike previous generations, millennials bring with them the same expectations of easy, convenient connectivity in business that they have for their personal lives, including the ability to seamlessly work remotely.
This means they expect businesses to have flexible working options in place and digital tools that provide instant access to information. Not only is this a desired and sought-after benefit for this generation that employers need to consider, but it is also an important digital strategy to further maximise productivity.
Having 24/7 access to business critical information and financial data from any device can help speed up and improve decision-making which in turn can maximise investment performances.
As more millennials take a seat at the top table, they will be looking to deploy solutions that enable them to better analyse data and more quickly generate actionable insights to propel their businesses even further.
Investing in data-driven technology presents huge opportunities for early adopters as they can provide a competitive advantage to meet the ever-changing consumer demands and adapt to world events that are impacting the economic climate.
This emerging new generation of business leaders are changing the market as a whole and businesses that fail to understand their wants and needs risk being left behind.
*Colin O'Reilly is sales director at MRI Software