Talking of technology, Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis was a pioneer in the industry to get a Java application and the Revenue Accounting System (RAS) around four years ago, to increase the number of transactions across service lines and to help customers make the best possible real estate decisions (www.sun.com).
With Sun Enterprise servers, together with CBREs RAS, the company was able to manage its deal pipeline, track accounts receivable, make projections on future projects and even streamline its agent compensation process over the Web.
With technology as an enabler, CB Richard Ellis completes more transactions than any other commercial real estate firm in the world, the company claims. CBRE has 10,000 employees in more than 250 offices across 47 countries.
Prior to the deployment of this technology, the decentralised nature of the real estate industry meant that each of CBREs US-based offices was maintaining its own data. The process of pulling all that information back into several central data stores for tracking and reporting purposes often resulted in double data entries, which prevented the company from getting an accurate assessment of its global business, according to a company official.
The commercial real estate industry, like so many others, is under tremendous pressure to improve upon its efficiencies and the Web is the best way to standardise processes and data, said director of application development at CBRE Gerrit Borg.
For us, the initial objectives were to allow for a quick and reliable web solution for RAS. The new products had the kind of functionality and scalability we needed, he added.
With the help of new technology, CBRE is able to combine current transaction-based information with over 20 years of historical information. By making these large volumes of data available on a near real time basis, CBRE brokers are capable of providing increased value to clients, according to the company. For example, brokers can now look up both property-based information and client-based information quickly. They can also correlate property needs, trends and histories with clients while online with a client, providing the kind of real-time information that clients have come to expect from brokers.
Similarly, Cushman & Wakefield embraces emerging technology and the power of the Internet without losing its focus on traditional real estate services (www.buildings.com). To meet modern-day goals, Cushman & Wakefield is using Internet-based technology to better serve building owners and building tenants.
Coming to dedicated online offerings, US-based Builder Consulting (www.builderconsulting.com), for instance, provides a wide range of website, computer, networking, training, technical and marketing services specialised for builders, realtors, mortgage companies and the entire real estate industry. It calls itself a one-stop solution for the real estate businesses.
Similarly, another online company dedicated to real estate industrywww.reals.comassists those who want to make an online presence or may have a need for customised software to mprove productivity and profit. Yet another offering technology solutions to the realty sector is TheRealEstateHost.comits packages include automated web listings, customer retention tools, and effective marketing.
Also available online are resources and studies conducted by the Facilities & Real Estate Benchmarking Association (Freba). It (www.freba.com) is currently a free association of facilities and real estate management organisations within major corporations. Freba conducts benchmarking studies to identify practices that improve the overall operations of the members.
The Freba mission To identify best in class facilities and real estate management processes, which, when implemented, will lead member companies to exceptional performance, according to information contained at its official site. While participation in specific efforts is optional and open only to members, current membership to Freba is free. Members pay only if they join a specific study. Besides specific study, Freba also organises interest group roundtables, both real and virtual, through the year.