It’s 2016 and every company in real estate needs a digital strategy. Without one you will not be making the most of the skills that you have, and will be competing with at least one hand tied behind your back. You might not come up against competition who do have a digital strategy in place, but if you do, unless you have a genuinely unique skill, you will probably lose the fight for new business. Human + tech beats human alone.
So what constitutes a digital strategy? Here are 20 starting points:
1. Digital Strategy is not about IT. Digital should not be an add on to your business, it needs to be part of your DNA.
2. Don’t digitise the past. Rethink your processes to take advantage of new technologies.
3. Think: ‘how can I do this 10x faster, cheaper, better.’ Wherever there is friction, seek to remove it.
4. If you were your customer what would you want? Are there digital tools that could deliver this?
5. Update your technology. Everyone must have a great phone, laptop and broadband.
6. Educate yourselves. Read technology focussed business books. Listen to Podcasts. Send your staff on the Google Squared Online Marketing course.
7. Rethink your partners. In a digital world it is easy to collaborate with more people. Who could you work with to bring an extra edge to your business?
8. Rethink your customer. Can you service different markets? Does digital enable new business models?
9. Move your technology to the Cloud. Google Docs, Office 365, Dropbox etc etc – once in the Cloud everyone has access to everything they need whenever and wherever they are.
10. Think data, think analytics. What data do you have access to? Have you ever analysed it?
Mixed use retail and leisure: What happens next? – White Paper
11. Eliminate weekly/monthly reporting. In a digital world information should be realtime.
12. Automate everything you can. Embrace the robots.
13. The smartphone is your friend. Think Mobile first. Starting with your website.
14. Ask yourself: how you would outcompete yourself with digital tools.
15. Market for the year you are in. You may like print, but if your market prefers Instagram…
16. Rework your internal teams. No silos. Mix up people with different skills.
17. Get social. Digital networking works. So Tweet, Blog, Share. Talk with not at.
18. Learn about Agile & Lean business methodologies. They’re not just for software companies. Likewise design, service & systems thinking. Then revisit item 2.
19. Look at the technology everyone else has. What is table stakes and what sets you apart?
20. Think about ‘the digital layer’ that sits atop all real estate. Merging the virtual and physical worlds is a key value enhancer.
The devil is in the detail but the broad principles above are what you need to start thinking about. Because, in reality, this isn’t about having a digital strategy, it is about becoming a digital company. Only then will you be able to take full advantage of those soft, human skills the real estate world is so famed for.