At the BOMA International Conference we attended a few weeks ago, we heard a statistic from Henry Chamberlain, President and COO of BOMA International, that stuck with us:

In 2017 there were 3,500 CRE tech solutions and in 2018 there are about 4,200 CRE tech solutions. That’s a 20% increase in less than one year!

In the larger PropTech universe, Fifth Wall said they are currently tracking over 5,000 tech companies. Forbes noted over $5 billion – yes with a B – was invested in real estate technology in 2017 compared to “just” $33 million in 2010. That’s 150x more in only seven years.

Looking at this new CRE technology landscape is intimidating, especially because this growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In some ways, this is great because real estate leaders have more tools than ever at their fingertips to improve business operations. But on the other hand, it’s difficult to navigate the thousands of tech possibilities that are out there.

How do I know what tech solution I need? Where do I start my search? What’s the best way to sift through all the potential solutions?

These are just a few questions you’re probably asking yourself. While we can’t tell you exactly which tech solutions are a perfect match for your business because there is really no ‘one size fits all’ mold, we can offer a few tips to help you maneuver the expanding CRE tech landscape.

1. Focus on goals that relate specifically to your organization.

Each company has different goals that they set in place and work toward throughout the year. These goals can pave the way to finding the right technologies for your organization. If your company’s number one goal is to improve energy usage throughout a building or portfolio, then you probably shouldn’t be focusing on finding a space planning tool just yet. Focusing on goals rather than looking at every new, shiny piece of technology that becomes available will help you narrow the pool of CRE tech solutions that are out there.

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Once you decide which goals are most important, then look at which CRE tech solutions will help you meet that goal. Even though your pool of solutions has dwindled from the thousands, there still could be a couple hundred or at the very least 20-50 tools that you have to evaluate. But how do you go about finding these tools?

One way is to check out thought leaders in the CRE technology space. These include CREtech, DisruptCRE, Duke Long, Metaprop, MIT Center for Real Estate, and Propmodo. These are the key players that constantly have their eye on new technologies. They are a great resource for narrowing your search for CRE tech solutions.

Once you have found a list of software vendors that can help meet your needs, don’t be afraid to try something new. After all, we typically see that early adopters tend to be more productive and have higher performing operations teams.

3. Conduct a pilot program and then re-evaluate after a specified amount of time.

If you can narrow your focus and get to the point where you are actually selecting and implementing a CRE tech solution, you need to create a pilot program or a plan to get users on board and then measure the effect that it has on your organization. Be sure to run the pilot for an appropriate amount of time – not too short so you can’t see results but not too long where you are wasting too many resources. This process will help you quickly see if a solution is meeting your goals.f it’s not, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate.

This process is without a doubt intimidating because of the amount of CRE tech solutions out there, but narrowing your focusing, choosing a tool, and moving forward with confidence is a simple,tried-and-true method to navigate the growing tech landscape.

For more tips, check out the Shopper’s Guide to Evaluating CRE Property Management System.