Real estate businesses are continuing to make slow and steady progress in upping their digital game, but enterprise-wide digital strategies remain far from common place, according to the latest KPMG Global PropTech Survey. Furthermore, it’s uncertain whether the industry has the necessary tech talent in-house to execute their strategies in full.
KPMG’s third PropTech report – Is your digital future in the right hands? – reveals that 58% of respondents say their real estate business has a digital strategy in place – up 6% on the previous two year’s findings. However, while slight progress is being made, less than a third (29%) of respondents claim to have an enterprise-wide digital strategy.
Testament to the challenges involved in implementing an end-to-end strategy, the same proportion (29%) of respondents say they have a digital strategy in some areas of the business; nearly a quarter (23%) say they have it in development, whilst nearly a fifth (19%) still have no digital strategy at all.
Commenting on the findings, Andy Pyle, UK head of real estate at KPMG and Chair of the British Property Federation’s Technology Innovation Working Group, said:
“Real estate may be an industry deep-rooted in bricks and mortar, but it’s far from immune where digital disruption is concerned. It’s clear that the industry’s key players are slowly but steadily waking up to this fact, with many now focussing on the increased ability to improve efficiencies; reduce-costs; develop closer customer relationships and utilise enhanced decision-making capabilities.
“In its myriad of forms, PropTech is an area that continues to climb the boardroom agenda, especially as competitors begin to demonstrate a competitive advantage through its use. Having said that, our findings suggest that many players might need to start looking further afield for expertise to fully execute their digital aspirations.”
Nodding to the growing importance of PropTech among real estate players, 95% of respondents say their business has a designated person leading on digital transformation, with nearly two-thirds (62%) stating that this individual is a senior employee – often a C-suite individual. Added to that, the vast majority (89%) say that this individual reports directly into the business owner, CEO, president or board member.
Despite this apparent prioritisation, in 65% of cases the digital strategy lead isn’t a technology specialist, with 40% of digital leaders actually coming from a core real estate, construction or finance background.
Andy Pyle, added: “In the UK, a number of property companies have begun looking further afield to acquire the skills needed for a digital future – whether that be data scientists, innovation specialists or to improve customer experience. In parallel, we’ll increasingly see industry bodies and universities adapt their courses and professional training so that the surveyors of the future are fully equipped in this area. The industry clearly recognises the vital role talent and skills will play in the coming years, indeed it’s already a key work stream for the British Property Federation’s Technology Innovation Working Group.”
To view KPMG’s report – Is your digital future in the right hands? – in full, please click: here
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About the research:
KPMG’s latest Global PropTech analysis – Is your digital future in the right hands? – was informed by a survey carried out between July and August 2019. The survey sought opinions on digital transformation and technology innovation from 188 real estate companies, predominantly based in the UK, but also from continental Europe, the Americas and Asia. Respondents spanned a broad range of subsectors and company sizes. Our canvassing of property firms was accompanied by a parallel survey of 92 PropTech companies.
About KPMG in the UK
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 16,300 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.338 billion in the year ended 30 September 2018. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 154 countries and has 200,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.