The pace of change in the present day business world is mind boggling, thanks or no thanks to technology. The argument for or against technology influence is diverse and varies depending on whose divide.

The pace of change in the present day business world is mind boggling, thanks or no thanks to technology. The argument for or against technology influence is diverse and varies depending on whose divide.

For incumbents and entrenched business players, technology is a big threat that is disrupting and cannibalizing their hold in the market. For start-ups however, technology is the best thing that has happened to our world in enabling the birth of new business models and heralding the demise of old ones. Hold on a minute, from Jumia in retail, Uber/Bolt in transportation, Airbnb Inc. in accommodation, Amazon in just about everything, to name just a few, status-quos are being disrupted and new ways of doing business emerging.

Now I remember Jack Welch’s warning over 19 years ago on ‘Rate of change’–“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”

The confluence of regulatory changes, technological advancement and the market’s demand for speed are driving change faster than ever before. Given the amount of funding poured into technology in the last few years globally, which available statistics keep at just short of $20bn in 2018, in PropTech alone, it is clear the market mood is behind it and the changes it could bring. Yet many of us in real estate business seem to be in denial, or perhaps intimidated by the changing landscape.

As real estate practitioners, may I suggest we brace the odds headlong, as there is nothing to fear afterall.

No single technology looks set to change the game of decision making in real estate or facilities management by itself for that matter. Yes, data platforms as a service offerings, big data aggregations propelled by artificial intelligence for risk assessment, drones that inspect property, smart phones that replace laptops and desktops as workplace tools, machine learning and other analytic software that have birthed automated valuation models, are already here, there is a lot happening in our world and the way we operate that can’t just be wished away.

Need we wake up?

Cyprian Konkwo

(Managing Partner, OE&A)