Posted: May 9, 2016 by the CREXi Marketing & Product Teams

When it comes to tech adoption, the commercial real estate industry is a sleeping giant. The industry is one of the world’s most significant asset classes, with about a trillion dollars in capital changing hands globally each year. (National Real Estate Investor/Penton report on Global Leasing and Investment Sales Volume). It generates massive amounts of associated data, related documents, and critical correspondence.

The amount of information that must be handled and considered is far too large to manage without digital tools. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just not paying attention. One of the fastest-growing areas of development for apps and platforms is in the CRE field, and the tools that are now available address virtually every task and process that we encounter.

Still, as an industry, CRE is lagging behind others in its rate of tech adoption. A recent report from the Altus Group surveyed more than 300 international CRE executives and made some findings that illustrate this. It found that worldwide CRE firms spend, approximately 50% less on technology than Financial Services and the Public Sector (including Healthcare).

The study found that more than 30% of the CRE industry worldwide is still primarily using spreadsheets for asset and portfolio management. This represents up to $11 trillion in assets -a stunning figure, when you consider the increased risk of human error and resulting inaccuracies inherent in handling these manually.

The remaining 2/3 of the industry does employ digital tools for managing portfolios and properties, but of those users, the study found that ¾ did so in “data silos.” This outdated approach of storing data in separate, unconnected applications is certainly an improvement over spreadsheets, but it fails to unlock the real potential of technology for CRE.

We stand to gain the same benefits from utilizing digital tools as other industries –and increasingly, our competitors- do.  Taking advantage of coordinated systems for managing customer relations, transactions, listings, marketing, and contacts is essential for moving our industry forward, and for keeping pace with related service providers in finance and development.  There are several advantages to tech adoption that apply regardless of the specific tool selected.


Handling sensitive documents, including contracts, in the Cloud enhances security. Since they no longer reside in a single computer or a file cabinet, these documents are immune to theft and loss, safe behind the layers of protection and encryption that these services provide.


The use of coordinated tech tools eliminates redundancies that can be a source of error. Information is consistent and up to date across the organization.


As more of us collaborate with remote colleagues and clients, the ability to access a project or transaction at any time, regardless of location is a tremendous time-saver.


Working together virtually creates a clear story of every transaction that can be tracked by all team members. Actions are clearly dated and attributable, making everyone more accountable and heading off miscommunication.


All of the factors above contribute to increased efficiency.  Consider, for example the time involved in just securing signatures on a contract. Without online document sharing and e-signatures, multiple paper copies of the document would need to be produced and mailed. On arrival they would be reviewed, signed (if approved), and eventually mailed back. This can easily eat up 2 weeks, while multiple parties can often review and sign a contract online in one day.

Learn More at: www.crexi.com