Arian Nemati is Co-Founder and CEO at ADEx and Ecognitionlabs.com, an AI research and development company.
Change can be hard, especially if you’re implementing a new strategy. It may also be risky to take processes and methodologies that seemed to have worked in the past and change them up without knowing the outcome. But it’s the only way for a business to grow.
Commercial real estate companies have been historically slow to innovate and adapt to new technologies. There are many reasons for this, but more and more CRE companies are learning how to add innovation and technology without disrupting their workflow. They’re learning how to spend the right amount of time in the research and development phase, prioritize training and leave room for a learning curve.
CRE companies that want to lead the industry must prioritize technology and innovation. This doesn’t mean everything has to change, but it does mean that companies must be open-minded to finding ways to work smarter and not harder. Commercial real estate companies can implement innovation and technology into their existing practices without turning everything on its head.
Find The Right Innovation
If there are certain systems within your company that are working, and working well, there is no real need to change them. But if there are systems that are wasting time and money — and the only reason you’re holding on to them is that it’s the way you’ve always done it — it’s time to find a replacement. Not everything in your business has to be innovative and high-tech, however.
Changing everything all at once could be an overwhelming and dangerous business decision. Instead, think of one or two areas where you feel you could be more productive and more effective. Then, research the systems and technologies designed to help you in those areas.
Maybe your bookkeeping or accounting methods are old-fashioned, but you’ve noticed that you’re experiencing more issues in areas like lease management or email integration. Choose one of the issue areas and make that your focus for change. Changing one small aspect of the business at a time is a lot more manageable than trying to overhaul everything.
Put Together A Team
Once you’ve decided which areas need an upgrade, build a team. This team should be composed of individuals from different departments that can bring their own unique skills and experiences to the table. This team should be able to dive into the research and development phases necessary to find the right software or tools for your particular business.
One of the main reasons that so many innovation efforts fail in CRE companies is because there wasn’t enough time or focus put into the developmental phase.
Run A Trial Period
Implementing new changes in business will require flexibility and adaptation. It comes with trial and error, which is why scheduling a trial period is so important. This designated time will incorporate technologies and systems into your business practices while still having control over the results. You can even alert customers, vendors, contractors and others who will be impacted by this change about your plan to upgrade your existing systems. Let them know when you will be running this trial and ask for feedback. A trial period helps you identify the things that are working and the things that are not. At the same time, it fosters buy-in from the people who will be using it most often.
Spend Time And Money On Training
Once the trial period is finished and it’s time to roll out the new technology or software to the entire company, it is imperative to spend time and money on training. Expect some push back from some people, as some handle change better than others. Stay positive and consistent in your messages about the new technology and departmentalize the training approach. Just introducing new innovation to your team and expecting them to embrace it could backfire, so it is important that everyone understands their why.
Help your company see how implementing new innovation could save them time and money. Show them how it could help them be more effective and productive — while maximizing their time and reducing mistakes. Adequate training is one of the most important steps in implementing new technology without disrupting workflow.
It’s important to be open-minded to change and adaptations when implementing new technology and systems into your businesses. Sometimes, things will be more challenging before they are more effective. The ability to be flexible during this time is critical to success. Prepare yourself for delays, challenges and glitches. When you know that figuring out the issues and modifying your strategy is part of the plan, you’ll be less anxious when things stray from your intent.
Leading CRE companies are learning to embrace technology and innovation to help them stay relevant, maximize their time, reduce errors and increase profitability. Innovation can make all of this possible, and it can be done without completely disrupting the workflow of the business. Of course, there will be a period of trial and error. However, with plenty of planning and patience, CRE companies can embrace innovation with minimal disruption.
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?