Recently, we published a brief QA with our Director of Customer Success, Nadine Ezzie. Having spent several years as the GC of a commercial real estate company she’s seen the best and worst the industry has to offer, so we asked her to identify three things she’d like to see changed. Her answers deserve some elaboration:
1. Embrace Emerging Tech to Drive Efficiencies
It’s no secret that the CRE industry is behind the times when it comes to adopting emerging technologies in the workplace. But as a former GC, I’m sympathetic to the reasons why the industry has been slow to change. Consistency and reliability are hugely important to the business—real estate is the backbone of the economy, and changing the way things are done is a risky proposition. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the old saying goes.
But the argument to adopt a more modern approach to doing business is a strong one that is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore: embracing technology and automation tools leads directly to gains in efficiency and productivity. We’re not talking minor gains and small steps forward here, either. These are giant leaps forward, and it doesn’t take an MBA to figure out that these leaps in efficiency and productivity are directly related to a better bottom line for those willing to embrace these changes.
So for the risk-averse, there are strong incentives to resist change. For the risk-takers, the incentives are inverted. The sweet spot, as always, is somewhere in the middle. As a lawyer, I’m generally risk-averse and lean towards proven processes. Lease agreements protect both the landlord and the tenant, so priority #1 is ensuring the lease is done right the first time, every time.
LeasePilot won me over. Literally. I left a well-respected position coveted by many to help build something I knew was going to change the industry. The software hits that sweet spot where it introduces automation and document management into the leasing workflow without fundamentally altering the process.
2. Increased deal transparency
Thought exercise: name an industry that plays a role in every sector of the world economy; an industry which nearly every business in existence relies upon. While I’m sure a few examples exist, the only industry I can think of that matches the above criteria is commercial real estate. But despite its overarching reach and enormous influence on the world economy, CRE remains a tight-knit, niche industry.
In every real estate market, the overwhelming majority of transactions run through a small handful of top players. These big players have near-total omniscience in their markets. These major players know about every deal in town, and in most cases, they know the details of those deals.
While this level of market intel is a boon for the established CRE companies, it puts everyone else at a disadvantage: the lack of available data on past deals makes it very difficult for tenants and buyers to negotiate deal terms effectively, and for new entrants in the market, it serves as an enormous barrier to entry.
Public access to anonymized leasing data would certainly help level the playing field and increase competition in the market. In the long run, that’s good for everyone—even the big guys.
3. More women and minorities in leadership positions
Opinions on this can get political real quick, so I’ll let the data speak for itself: