The Future of PropTech is Integration and Automation

In the past, the real estate industry had significantly underinvested in technology and process automation. However, over the last couple of decades tools and technologies used by real estate operators and investment managers have evolved significantly. The term PropTech has become the latest buzzword on everybody’s lips, and the rate of its implementation amongst companies within the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) industry has grown at an unprecedented rate. 

What is PropTech? 

Proptech systems are technology used for processes in the real estate industry such as paperwork and data collection.

PropTech is now seen as the innovation driver and the modern remedy for CRE companies still trapped in the mindset of using Excel and paper-based work as the de facto way to run a CRE company and meet ESG goals. Despite the advancement of PropTech, companies are not capitalizing on the benefits of integrating PropTech solutions with other ‘best-of-breed’ solutions such as accounting systems and CRM platforms. Bringing technologies that power properties and CRE companies together will enable them to perform at a higher level and stay ahead of the rapidly evolving real estate industry.

Breaking Down PropTech Data Silos

Most CRE companies today are using siloed systems within individual buildings and across their portfolio. This results in companies working with a decentralized group of systems that don’t provide a clear and holistic view of their data... . For example, a CRE company managing its building may utilize Johnson Controls real estate software but a new building the company has purchased uses Delta software. If these siloed and disparate systems aren’t integrated and don’t communicate with each other it becomes difficult to consolidate data and develop reports from which business decisions can be made. CRE companies that integrate their solution stack not only save money by improving the way that their property solutions function, but they also help save the company time which is their most precious resource.

With multiple solutions being used to manage property infrastructures such as HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), Submetering, common area Wifi, and Lease Administration, CRE companies spend a substantial amount of time switching between systems or manually transferring data from one system to another. By integrating technology and consolidating data, CRE teams can easily access PropTech data and push that data into an all-in-one functional dashboard that enables operators and investment managers to make sense of their data.  

An example of how integration can be impactful for CRE companies is with the reporting of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. These factors are used by socially conscious investors to measure an investment or company's sustainability. CRE companies that have fully integrated systems can access and report on property infrastructure data from HVAC, submetering systems, etc., and use the consolidated data to determine their ESG rating instead of pieced together information from excel reports. Gone are the days of property managers and engineers running around to manually gather information to form a report.

In addition to making data easier to access, integrating systems lays the foundation for data automation allowing CRE companies to automate the most tedious of tasks, eliminating processes altogether. And it’s not just company workers who save time, it’s the company’s tenants too. By automating tenant touchpoints such as booking rooms, controlling worker access to certain areas of the building, and reporting issues, CRE companies can quickly and easily address these issues, resulting in increased tenant satisfaction—and with it, retention.

Improved CRE Property Management

Buildings will always need property managers, but how CRE companies spend their time managing their properties needs to drastically change in the next few years if they are to remain competitive.

Most CRE companies are managed using Excel spreadsheets (Monthly Utility Billing, CAM, etc.) that are all built uniquely for different properties. Lease contracts, HVAC systems, and accounting are still being managed by siloed legacy solutions. These outdated management structures not only place the company at risk but also pose a major operational threat. Because information lives in multiple legacy systems, or worse, paper-based documentation, it is not easily accessible. A simple task like reviewing a lease or Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) contract for specific contractual details can become cumbersome and resource intensive. Instead, companies should be using modern lease and MRO intelligence solutions to extract these details quickly and efficiently at the click of a button.

Integration Challenges

The main challenge CRE companies face is being able to integrate and modernize systems. The process of migrating data from old systems to new systems, operationalizing the data, and deduplicating it, requires far too much manual processing, rekeying of data, and coding skills. The number of outdated access control databases being used by CRE companies is astounding and creates major security risks. In most cases, IT teams connect legacy systems to modern PropTech solutions via APIs. These APIs allow solutions to talk to each other and leverage their capabilities in such a way that CRE companies get a 360-degree view of the business.

Many outdated CRE core applications do not support standard APIs, which means that custom APIs need to be created. API coding can take months and hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete, lending to the CRE industry’s integration and automation challenges.  For example, CRE companies still struggle with being able to connect their legacy or bespoke CRM system with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) because APIs are too difficult to build and configure.

Empowering Real Estate Innovation Through Synatic

Bringing the technologies that power CRE companies together and empowering teams to access the data they need, when they need it, is what a Hybrid Integration Platform is built for. Imagine being able to look at Submeter usage and compare that with equipment run times to ensure there is no billing leakage.

Trying to manage data transfer and consolidation involving data from different PropTech solutions, with several data integration tools, makes it difficult for companies to be agile and to quickly integrate and automate their data.

The value that Synatic's Nimble, Simple, and Powerful Hybrid Integration Platform provides is boundless. Synatic’s HIP offers a single system that can identify, collect, and contextualize disparate data across a CRE company’s disparate solution stack, enabling them to deliver data that is meaningful, ready to use, and specific to a user’s needs. Consolidated data also reduces the overall number of systems that must be managed.

Synatic has API management capabilities built into the platform, which allows companies to rapidly build all their APIs in the Synatic environment to address an organization's integration needs as it scales. Synatic enables CRE companies to build and deploy APIs in days not months, and easily manage and configure them to meet future demands.

System integration and automation will define the next wave of CRE innovation. The ability to use data to drive decision-making and improve the way that CRE companies do business. To learn more about Synatic and how it can be used to help your business innovate, contact Synatic today.

Jamie Peers
July 20, 2021