One of the benefits of the Coronavirus pandemic is the speed at which businesses switched to an online model. Almost overnight we had online religious services, with attending rule changes to facilitate the online model, the University of West Indies switched to online classes and exams, the Legal System went online with cases being heard via conferencing software, overseas business meetings no longer depended on face to face meetings, there was even do it yourself curb-side pick-up doubles. Banks took the opportunity to push most of their clients out of the banking hall.
Yet, many businesses and services were slow to adapt, the Port and Customs moved at snail pace and exports plummeted by 70%, the airlines ground to a halt and many food establishments couldn’t get the delivery service to work. In developed countries Amazon rose to the occasion and there was an explosion of home delivery.
With signs that the effects of the pandemic will be with us longer than it took to develop, there are increasing signals that all businesses will have to adopt a digital model if they hope to survive. We in the Real Estate sector have had the long sought Real Estate Bill passed in Parliament. And even though we were moving along slowly towards a digital model, the pandemic has given us a push in the back. It is almost digitize or get left behind.
With this in mind, I thought it would be good to reinforce earlier articles on the need to move to digital marketing with a few pointers on the need to digitize your data. Most of us still operate in a paper world with manila folders and filing cabinets that hold our data. This leaves us vulnerable to those fast adopters who convert their data to digital and can reap the rewards of data mining and rudimentary artificial intelligence.
Here are a few digital data conversion matters to consider, to stay up-to-speed with the Joneses.
- Take stock of your existing data and missing data according to your specific objectives. You will then be able to identify the available data sources and determine how to find the missing ones. A good example ‘Are your suppliers and customers data in digital format? Are there additional data lines you need on customers and suppliers that would enable you compare and spot trends. Can these data fields be searched by keywords?’. How will you gather this vital additional data?
- Aggregate and harmonize all your data in a single solution to facilitate access to information and save time in their exploitation. Use a pre-packaged proprietary Real Estate Management System or opt for a lower cost open-source model that can be adapted to the existing size of your business, ensuring either solution is accessible online from any device linked to the Internet.
- Make your data reliable by assessing its quality based on its source and making sure you have complete data before using it to make crucial decisions.
- Make sure your data is secure and properly protected and stored in the ‘cloud’.
- Cross-reference and analyze your existing data using appropriate tools to meet your objectives.
- Ensure the database is regulatory compliant.
- Outsource your data management to a consultant instead of trying to handle it yourself or hiring someone.
Data is the foundation of your Real Estate practice information, knowledge, and ultimately the wisdom for correct decisions and actions. If this data is relevant, complete, accurate, meaningful, and actionable through digitization, it will help in the growth of your organization.