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Is COVID-19 Forcing Your Digital Transformation? 4 Things to Consider.

Updated: Apr 28

There is a survey floating around LinkedIn asking people what inspired their organizations digital transformation – was it (a) CEO (b) CTO or (c) COVID-19?


In the last issue of the Dirt, we mentioned that a recent KPMG survey of 270 real estate executives showed that 93% agreed that they need to engage with proptech, and 90% believe it will help their business, however, 2/3 do not have a digital innovation strategy for how to engage with technology. COVID-19 has forced many of us to figure that out on the fly. The reasons for this are well known, namely, many people across all industries are working from home and work-life has changed drastically over night.

For many of you that are not used to a digital way of work, COVID-19 might have expedited your timeline for a digital transformation - and that’s not a bad thing. But not all digital transformations are created equally.

According to research in Harvard Business Review, of the $1.3 trillion spent on digital transformation in 2018, an estimated $900 billion was wasted when initiatives didn’t meet their goals. Why? Fundamentally, it’s because most digital technologies provide possibilities for efficiency gains. But if people lack the right mindset to change and the current organizational practices are flawed, technology will simply magnify those flaws. You don’t want this to be your company!

Digital transformation doesn’t have to be overwhelming (though almost everything during this current crisis has that feel). It’s not something to check off a list, but instead a mindset that becomes part of the organization’s culture and experience.

To start we will identify 5 helpful tools to consider to allow your organization to “work from home” more effectively (all have free and paid premium options to suit organizations of any size):



Name: Slack What is it for: Communication What does it do: Slack is a collaboration hub that can replace email to help you and your team work together seamlessly. It’s designed to support the way people naturally work together, so you can collaborate with people online as efficiently as you do face-to-face.


Name: Asana What is it for: Project Management What does it do: Asana is a software designed to improve team collaboration and work management. It helps teams manage projects and tasks in one tool.


Name: Microsoft Teams What is it for: Communication What does it do: Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration.


Name: Zoom What is it for: Video Conferencing What does it do: Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video.


Name: LastPass What is it for: Password Security What does it do: LastPass gives you one, secure place to organize all of your usernames, passwords, PINs, and other details you need to remember for your accounts. Password security is critically important as more and more employees work remotely. Below are four key considerations to lead your organization through a successful digital transformation (this is above and beyond the immediate crisis needs of the current situation mentioned above): 1) Know and understand your business strategy before you invest in anything. Leaders who aim to enhance organizational performance through the use of digital technologies often have a specific tool in mind. “Our organization needs data and AI to understand our market,” perhaps. But digital transformation should be guided by the broader business strategy. 2) Leverage insiders. Rely on insiders — staff who have intimate knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in their daily operations. Often new technologies can fail to improve organizational productivity not because of fundamental flaws in the technology but because it’s not solving a true organizational problem. 3) Recognize employees’ fear of being replaced. When employees perceive that digital transformation could threaten their jobs, they may consciously or unconsciously resist the changes. It is critical for leaders to recognize those fears and to emphasize that the digital transformation process is an opportunity for employees to upgrade their expertise to suit the marketplace of the future. 4) Consult with experts. Finally, and most importantly, talk to experts. You need to be smart about technology and understand the product attributes of different solutions. There are thousands of products that can help your business, finding the right one for your organization is the key.

COVID-19 has reshaped the world as we know it. Real estate owners, brokers, asset managers, mortgage/finance companies etc., will need to be able to do as much of their business using all of the digital tools that are in the marketplace, likely doing more with less people and focusing with greater scrutiny on their company’s bottom line as every real estate company is going to see their financials squeezed. Making use of digital tools is now an immediate reality for even the most basic business functions, that being said, now might be the ideal time to focus on what digital tools your organization will need when the acute phase of this crises has passed. Envision the future of the organization and build the technology around it, not the other way around.





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