Real estate professionals generally agree that real estate lags behind other industries in terms of its reliance on technological advancement. However, in recent years more real estate organizations are beginning to understand the value of automation technology. As a result, these organizations are starting to see a considerable return on their investment.
Baker Tilly partner David Jamiolkowski and director Claudio Garcia recently spoke about process automation technology at a virtual conference sponsored by the National Association of Real Estate Companies (NAREC). Their focus, more specifically, was on the use of intelligent automation as a growth strategy for real estate organizations.
Automation technology is a broad term that describes the replacement of any work task or business process by software or technology. Intelligent automation occurs when the new programming or technology tools enhance the automation solution, allowing it to become more sophisticated beyond a simple if-then functionality.
There are three types of intelligent automation: Task automation, flow automation and finally, decision automation, which advances the functionality and sophistication of the other two types.
Organizations pursuing intelligent automation technology will travel through an automation journey, typically starting with basic automation of simple tasks. These tasks are most commonly found in areas such as finance, accounting, human resources and information technology. These areas often feature routine tasks, standardized data and basic process flow, creating an easier path to intelligent automation technology.
Intelligent automation is the fastest growing tech segment. The software segment currently sits at approximately $2.2 billion, but it is expected to double over the next three years.
The reasons for the recent increase in implementing automation technology is related to the strong business benefits, such as reducing labor time, cost and process errors. Other benefits to investing in automation include improving the customer experience, improving organizational decision making and reducing overall risk.
In a recent study that examines where organizations are likely to increase spending in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in automation finished second (behind cybersecurity). Approximately two-thirds of organizations polled anticipate increasing their automation spending in the current climate.
For real estate organizations, the use of automation has consistently shown to reduce labor costs, while improving effectiveness in the execution of related tasks. However, it is equally important to understand the best practices and challenges that accompany your organization’s automation journey.
To start, the ideal automation implementation includes business processes that commonly include the following criteria:
From an automation implementation standpoint, you can anticipate certain challenges to give your automation strategy a higher likelihood of success. Common challenges and obstacles include:
It’s interesting to note the many studies highlighting that roughly 50% of automation projects never get to the finish line. So how can you minimize risk to help ensure that your organization lands on the right half of that figure?
With these best practices in mind, what should you do to get started? Here are some simple steps to beginning your automation journey, broken down into three categories:
For more information about intelligent automation or to learn how Baker Tilly’s Value Architects™ can assist your organization, contact our team.