Key Takeaways:

  • The term “all-in-one” is getting a lot of play lately, particularly with regard to digital solutions for business.
  • No matter how powerful our digital tools become, their usefulness diminishes if the data is not integrated —and if you don’t have access to it!
  • If you’re in the real estate space (or any business for that matter), data integration is a productivity-boosting tool that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The term “all-in-one” is getting a lot of play lately, particularly with regard to digital solutions for business. It seems that having access to a tremendous volume of information and computing power isn’t such a big deal if it’s kept isolated. That is a simple but powerful idea.

No matter how powerful our digital tools become, their usefulness diminishes if the data are not integrated. In my opinion, it becomes organized chaos. Having access to all of it, in one place, and being able to combine and apply it for a wide variety of tasks in all areas –investment, accounting, property management, listings, collaboration – that is where the value lies. Compatibility and integration fuel productivity and enhance customer service.

I’ve written about the power of Big Data before … Big Data: Make it Simple, Stupid.

Take accounting as an example. When data are integrated, a single dashboard can let you manage accounts payable, process purchase orders, and handle other routine tasks automatically. Integration means that this platform will sync seamlessly with existing accounting software, which also makes the information available to others on your organization that need it. This frees your time for other tasks, and is also more accurate than repeatedly entering the same data into different programs.

Without data integration, we run the risk of dropping the ball and create havoc between departments.

Tweet: Without data integration, we create havoc between departments. -@JonSchultz_Onyx #StreetSchultz
     “Without data integration, we create havoc between departments.”    —

Consider these situations, which you may have even encountered yourself:

  • You are on a property site and a client requests some information on the building and the expense cost structure. Which technology program is that in? Which password do you need to access the app?
  • In doing monthly budgets, you need to go into multiple systems to get a feel for what you want to forecast for the next year —based on leasing, capital, etc.— which are all housed in other systems.
  • We’re getting more organized, but if we’re not converging this information —we’re creating havoc. It’s organized, but it’s still havoc.

Making Systems Talk

Both of these examples are the result of devices and software not being able to “talk” to each other. Using different tools for individual tasks can produce a lot of useful information, but the tools can’t work together to analyze data or eliminate redundancy, so value is lost.  An integrated platform enhances productivity by providing data and making it easy to interpret, manage, and share.

When data are integrated, client notes can automatically be attached to their contact profile. Transaction details are distributed to the records of the parties involved, as well as the property description, and pertinent documents generated. Tasks that once might occupy half a day happen automatically. People can all work together in the same place.

Integrated data is essential for optimizing your productivity. It means that no matter where you are, you always have access to your documents, scheduling, property reports, collaborative projects, marketing tools, and more. Most importantly, these facets of the job are connected, and updates are automatic across the database.

Taking the Integration Leap

It’s hard to imagine any good reason to use a platform that’s not fully integrated. This type of tool not only boosts efficiency and productivity, it’s often considerably more cost effective than using different applications for every task. Taken together these are compelling reasons to explore the data integration possibilities out there today.

The difference being that these platforms have learned their lesson and are being built modularly so that you’re able to create a short and long term strategy for growth of your technology business plan without wanting to jump off a cliff.

My company embarked on this mission almost 5 years ago and has come to the conclusion that without convergence of all information, we are walking down a road to nowhere. We have created an environment that is so much more collaborative and open to working as a team. Once convergence hit, all the minutia of wasting other people's time asking questions evaporated into thin air.

I can honestly say I sleep much better at night knowing that my team members are happier doing their jobs and knowing that each level of the organization can now add value in their own way now that everything has become more visible. Everyone can be an innovator because they feel they have the power to see what they could not see before.