Real estate digitisation from the inside-out

David Bender, Associate Director, Digital, discusses Fiera Real Estate’s journey to becoming a truly digital business.

Practical lessons from our real estate investment firm’s digital transformation journey — from doubt to conviction, and silos to scalability.

Our modest journey towards a digital future, with tighter alignment between teams, scalable technology, and more expanded use of data and analytics, began in earnest well before I joined the firm in September 2019. But since that time, I’ve been proud to see our progress and evolution into — whether we even realise it some days — a truly digital organisation. I thought it might be helpful to reflect on three key themes that have helped us get to where we are in a relatively short amount of time.

Read more about our general approach to operational transformation.

First, some background. We are a mid-sized real estate investment manager with close to 30 years of investing in both core and value-add projects, an executive team that has been together for the better part of a decade, and a firm place in the traditional real estate investing ecosystem in the UK. So, no tech start-up here.

Second, some highlights. Since this time last year, we have been able to;

So, what approaches have we taken to make this happen for our teams? In short, from my perspective the following three things have been the most impactful…

One big worry when we began to re-factor our processes and approach to technology was the impact of “stepping back”. Would we lose progress and momentum with our partners, investors, and colleagues? The actual result has been the opposite, as our deeper understanding of the needs of those groups has already helped us to develop valuable solutions, which necessarily depended on a foundational reset. Interactive data visualisations have replaced time-consuming PowerPoint decks, automations have eliminated manual entry tasks, and response time to investors and partners are beginning to drop significantly.

By no means has our pathway been easy or straightforward, but in many ways I don’t believe that it can be effective any other way. The scrapes and stumbles are important to clear the path of debris. But armed with a few simple principles — and no small degree of bull-headed focus on what makes sense for our business — we’re only getting faster and stronger.