Achieving efficiency, not just best practice

Posted on March 22, 2011 by

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Efficiency is the name of the game perhaps even more so given the current economic climate. Real Estate business is built on process and governance and companies clearly recognize the imperative of compliance. But compliance does not address a company’s ability to work efficiently.

Over the years companies have taken what, at the time, were seen as major steps to understand and improve the efficiency of their organizations. These may have been through standards initiatives and industry governance to document and audit process such as ISO9001, but this never addressed a company’s process efficiency; it just provided a mechanism to audit that a process was being followed regardless of whether that process was actually efficient.

Line of business solutions in real estate are very mature and we have seen many vendors make forays into areas outside their traditional solution expertise i.e. workflow around property management, document management for appraisal/valuation and asset management. Generally these have all been proprietary and have locked companies into what appeared to be a bright and forward thinking solutions at the time but at a cost; their ability to be agile and flexible in the world of business that is changing faster than it ever has before.

Companies are realizing that their solution infrastructure needs to be adaptable. This doesn’t mean throwing away existing line of business solutions – it means addressing how the organization uses those systems and how they use technology to interact with internal and external stakeholders during the broad lifecycle of real estate. It is now quick and easy to move past the process documents that describe how business should be conducted and on to modeling solutions that engage with the possibilities that technologies such as Microsoft SharePoint can offer to support change.

Workflow was once seen as the solution of the prosperous firm, but not now. Process and document workflow is there, ready and waiting to be exploited; business intelligence is there, ready and waiting to be exploited; frameworks for collaborative solutions with clients and partners are there, ready and waiting to be exploited.

Best practice is well defined within the Real Estate industry, providing the professional language and process for commerce within the sector. There is another pervasive language and process within the sector as well, alive within all its stakeholders: technology and the familiarity of the computer desktop and its office tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, databases and presentations. As technology has become an imperative for business in the modern world it is only now truly bridging the gap between business best practice and efficiency rather than how it has been in the past: left to the interpretation of the individual.

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