Implementing a new commercial real estate (CRE) technology platform for your brokerage can seem like a daunting proposition. However, strategic planning and coordination with your CRE technology vendor can simplify the implementation and help you get the most out of your new platform right out of the gate.
Follow the five steps below to set you and your team up for success.
- Define your business processes and requirements.
What happens when you find a potential client? How do you nurture that client? What processes would you like to improve? Find a CRE vendor that understands your goals – and your business.
Then go a step further and pinpoint what you hope to gain from your new platform. What are your expectations for the software? In what ways do you want to use the technology to manage tasks more efficiently, build better customer relationships and close more deals?
Clearly defining what you want the platform to accomplish will increase the odds that you gain the functionality needed to support your business.
- Choose a champion.
Designate one tech-savvy person from your team as a power user who will own the process. (Multiple “owners” often lead to confusion and delays.) The ideal person will serve as a point of contact and an in-house champion, collaborating with the vendor team during data migration and onboarding and administering the system long term. The champion speaks the brokers’ language and gives them a voice while also combating any resistance and paving the way for a smooth transition.
- Perform data migration and configuration.
Work with your vendor to set a realistic timeline and a rollout plan. Next, clean your data before the migration, and if there’s something distinctive about how you’re using your current system, let your vendor know. When everything is prepped and ready, start the data migration.
First and foremost, make sure you’ve chosen robust, user-friendly, highly secure desktop and mobile tools geared specifically toward the needs of brokers – right out of the box. Before customizing the platform prematurely, try it out for several months and get familiar with the established best practices.
- Complete onboarding.
It’s important to involve and educate all users from day one to manage expectations. It’s equally important to help brokers feel comfortable using the new platform to manage client relationships, properties, listings and deals by providing training sessions, videos, documentation and other resources.
- Continue the process with post-implementation work.
Your implementation is complete, and brokers are using their new platform. Now what?
With your goals in mind, measure the quality, speed and ease of use of your new system and quantify the impact of your investment. Is the platform making it easier to run your brokerage? Think of the implementation as a continuous process. What’s working? What issues have come up? Forward-thinking organizations revisit and reevaluate their business needs over time. If you identify additional requirements involving advanced security, custom fields, additional data migration or process automation, work with your vendor to customize the platform if needed.
Five steps to implementation success
By following these five steps, you can make sure the platform solves your business problems and nothing falls through the cracks.
Remember: Never lose sight of what you’re doing and why – always think about the big picture. Thorough preparation on the front end and analysis on the back end can turn your technology implementation into a true success story and transform the way you run your business.