There is a chasm between generations presently like no other. From those of us whose careers span back to sitting at a desk with a telephone and Dictaphone waiting days for replies to written correspondence, to everyone who is wondering what the heck I just said! In a short run of 30 years life has changed immeasurably. Indeed, each passing decade the scale and quantum of change is compounding.
Property has generally been a slow adapter of technology and appreciating its full potential. The first computer shows in property were only held in late ‘80’s and even now you can find management surveyors operating on paper-based systems with little or no technological equipment!
As with any buzz words the property world is now embracing Prop Tech and every other zeitgeist phrase being thrown. My favourite being block chain. If something is too complicated to explain to everyone then there is something wrong! As I see block chain it is an adaptation and evolution of web platform that is not the great panacea but rather the next phase in the evolution of our lives from hierarchical structures to a networked environment.
How is the World of Tech impacting on build to rent? Given that the multifamily sector is in its infancy and trying to walk it is embracing technological solutions more willingly than most other areas. Searching for the holy grail of systems that do it all for you without any effort. Slightly harsh but I exaggerate to make a point.
I have always taken a very simple position with technology. It should be there to help me and it work for me not me work for it! This means I want a solution that meets my need not replicating what I would do on paper or old ways of working. For example, if I truly understand how I want the data out and what I want to measure then it makes it easier to input and make sure a system is going to deliver that. The old adage still holds true however, garbage in, garbage out. Every system is reliant on the data entry and care in handling. I am certain that it is never the computers fault and I am sure that the only time there are issues or work created is from poor training or records.
Another issue is the need in organisations to have systems and processes that meet the need of all. Designed by a committee usually and trying to have democracy is never going to work. We all work differently. Our brains are wired differently on how we use machines and how we would logically deal with something. With the tech solutions we are effectively trying to get everyone to work the same and cookie cut what we do. This theory is fine but recognise the needs of each team member and invest appropriately to aid and deliver quality outputs.
This is a very exciting time; indeed, every period in my career has been, you just have to embrace change! There are some very useful products coming through – being able to recognise the ones that work for you is the key. What is good for one company won’t fit another. Taking the system is only part of the equation. Without discipline and training of the team delivery of the outputs will be impossible and end up taking more time.
Roger Southam, Multifamily Innovator & Advisor