Relying on industry tech giants is no longer a springboard in real estate.

Relying on industry tech giants is no longer a springboard in real estate.

4 December 2023

Why using antiquated real estate practices and technologies will merely hold you back. Yes, even with their AI updates.

Real estate data and documentation remain persistent challenges across the industry. Scattered across spreadsheets, databases, and standalone systems, the decentralised nature of real estate data continues to be a point of error for significant CRE players.

Traditional tools, like Excel, SharePoint, and even email, have been reliable mainstays. But, what happens if we analyse them in the context of real estate?

We have moved on from other antiquated process management tools: stacks of paper, phone calls, and fax machines are no longer the primary applications for organisational functions. Each technological development has appeared seismic from the outset, but once looking with hindsight, it appears to be a natural progression. We cannot now imagine life without email, a Shared Drive, or Zoom. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when adopting these solutions appeared daunting.


Current technologies are not useless, but we can do better.

SharePoint and Excel have played a significant role in real estate. It is, therefore, paramount not to neglect the benefits of the tools before pushing back against their relevance today. SharePoint’s Copilot addition, announced in May, will enhance the platform but fall short of meeting the industry’s specific demands.

Real estate operations are intricate, and there are reasons for SharePoint’s consistent position as a trusted partner for many firms. Its widespread adoption is testament to its capacity for providing collaboration through the platform. By enhancing team communications and offering a streamlined approach to document management, it is a reliable tool.

But, although real estate has an affinity to SharePoint, it is not built specifically for the industry. Employees will often save locally rather than on the cloud, or other employees will leave and the company will lose access to critical files, for example.

There are challenges when it comes to managing real estate data within SharePoint, looking at files and documents, SharePoint lists, emails and alerts, and SharePoint pages. File size limits, types of files, and content within documents are limited – making it difficult to find relevant information at speed.

Similar issues are faced when using Excel, another long-standing friend of many industries. A versatile tool for professionals, it offers a wide set of applications to cater to real estate’s diverse needs. Excel’s familiarity across industries supports its use as a tech companion. The consistent flaw: real estate needs something fine-tuned for its intricacies.

Excel has consistent operational challenges that cannot be ignored. It faces repeating errors and the inability to consolidate and remediate data effectively.

Other shortcomings include real estate data validation and navigation issues, security, and speed.

The evolving marketplace demands larger datasets, complex calculations, and collaboration across multiple sources. This surpasses Excel’s current capabilities. Real estate, in particular, requires a more sophisticated approach to data management.

Unfortunately, real estate still relies on manual inputs and the entering of information by humans, as opposed to it being lifted and processed by the software. This often leads to errors.

The industry has been introduced to an alternative. Stonal’s platform transforms documents by automating classification, storage, and monitoring processes. Unlike legacy systems, documents related to a property are consolidated and stored.

Stonal’s automation extends to renaming and real estate data extraction, which can be done algorithmically and manually if needed. The platform’s advanced search functionality allows the quick location of relevant documents based on keywords or metadata.

The broader software solutions have had their time, but their limitations in regard to commercial real estate highlight the potential of AI-powered solutions that branch beyond tradition, extracting more value from real estate data.


The transformative nature of automation and AI in real estate

Savills has highlighted the potential of real estate AI in predicting real-time data, aligning it with other investment products, and driving revolutionary changes.

SharePoint’s manual processes impede efficiency and liquidity, but real estate AI ensures maximum asset liquidity by making it easier to add missing documents and streamline document management, as well as supporting increased productivity, cost-reduction, accuracy, and customer satisfaction.

This simplifies finding and accessing important files when needed, saves time by eliminating the need for manual real estate data extraction, and avoids sending documents by mail thanks to open-access third parties. By providing increased insights into the industry, real estate organisations gain the opportunity to optimise their operations, effectively future-proofing their portfolios.


Technology designed with real estate in mind.

The current solutions are not designed strictly for real estate. By incorporating a tech solution like Stonal’s, curated for real estate and crammed with contextual knowledge, everything is optimised.

In the past, document management would have been a specific role within the company. Stonal does not replace the job of an employee, but instead streamlines the company’s business processes. This is done by reducing the time taken to build a data room, or easily identifying trends and anomalies through advanced visualisation tools. It creates a cockpit-like view, enabling managers to make informed decisions and take timely action as needed.

Stonal has been developed with real estate in mind, providing a sophisticated and efficient solution to overcome the industry’s complexities and limitations. Context is king, and without the appropriate information, leveling up will be a struggle.

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