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Survey reveals many property and FM businesses are lacking technological maturity

According to new research carried out by Qube Global Software only a ‘tiny’ proportion of property and facilities management companies in the UK believe they are harnessing technology successfully, suggesting a large number will be playing ‘catch-up’ as the technology landscape continues its rapid pace of change.

The survey of 960 real estate and FM professionals, conducted in autumn 2016, set out to discover where businesses see themselves on the journey to technological maturity, how they’re using the software already available to them and how they are preparing for future advancements in technology, including robots and artificial intelligence (AI).

The White Paper: Embracing Transformative Change: Insights into Technology and the Real Estate Sector has revealed that whilst many of those surveyed are aware of the role technology can play in improving the way their businesses are run, only a small proportion believe they are currently harnessing it successfully. Only five per cent of businesses see themselves as tech pacesetters, with a further 20 per cent believing they are proficient in their use of technology, leaving 75 per cent of the real estate/ FM industry believing themselves to be at the early stages of their technology journey.

The paper also highlights that where the rapid advancement of technology is pulling some property businesses along with it, it also seems to be leaving others behind, with some businesses still relying on Excel spreadsheets to manage their portfolios.

For those who are already using real estate and FM solutions on a daily basis to run their business, automation, reporting/forecasting and compliance were the top three benefits, while difficulty around integration was the main shortfall, followed by mobile access and functionality.

Within each group of real estate professionals surveyed, customer service came out as a top priority. According to the report they all acknowledged that the level of service demanded by tenants, leaseholders and property owners is rising across the board and most notably in the PRS (multi-family) sector. The majority of  investors – almost 90 per cent – are said to be ‘optimistic’ about the role technology can play in improving customer service, citing accurate record keeping, better information sharing and compliance as areas where technology is proving vital.

With regards to new technology, the survey revealed that less than 10 per cent of FM professionals are currently using robots, despite the availability of the technology, particularly for cleaning processes. Property professionals are, however, more prepared for advancements in AI, with 83 per cent expecting it to impact real estate and FM industries within the next 10 years.

Speaking about the research, John Cuppello, CEO of Qube Global Software, said:

“This research shows that the property industry believes itself to be slow to adapt to new technology. While it’s certainly true that a proportion is resisting transformative change, partly due to budgetary constraints and partly because of a lack of understanding about its potential, I believe more property professionals may be using advanced technology regularly in the workplace than they think.

“Technology has transformed the role of property professionals across the industry over the last 10 years, but this is just the beginning of the journey. A significant number of businesses in the sector have yet to fully embrace the technology currently available to them and are unprepared for further advancements just around the corner.”

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