In my last post, I wrote about how PropTech can support a successful return to work following the COVID-19-related isolation we've all been living with for the past few months. This support includes managing safe access to buildings, ensuring physical distancing guidelines are followed, and maintaining hygiene—because of the primary concern we all share for public health and safety.
While we are sailing through these turbulent times, it is important to keep our eyes on the horizon. Though it's always tempting, and sometimes absolutely necessary to cut costs, this should not come at the expense of investment in technology. Put another way: the one thing we now have all experienced first-hand is technology's incredible ability to help us adapt to new ways of doing business. It may have been out of necessity in this instance, but the fact remains that embracing technology enterprise-wide can be a competitive advantage, regardless of the broader circumstances.
The risks of not moving in this direction for the Canadian real estate industry were spelled out clearly in Canada's PropTech journey: How Canadian real estate companies are faring in the digital age. Consider these highlights:
- Canadian real estate companies are only a fifth as likely as their global counterparts to have a well-established data strategy, and a third more likely to have no data strategy at all.
- Of the 36 percent of companies that have some kind of digital strategy in place, for only 8 percent is that strategy company-wide; the rest only have a digital strategy in certain areas.
- Every Canadian real estate leader, who responded to our survey, said they have a specific person leading their digital transformation, and 67 percent said this is a senior employee at a C-suite level. But only 28 percent of these digital-specific leaders have a background directly in technology. Everyone else comes from real estate operations, finance, strategy, or from other industries.
- It is significant to note that for each of the 8 percent of companies with a company-wide digital strategy, the person in charge had a clear technology background.