UKAA Webinar: Tech, Tools & Talent Presented by Forsite

Aug 17, 2020

Guy got the ball rolling by discussing a key emphasis right now – the return to work – asking the role technology will play in the process and how office tech might infiltrate the home environment. He suggested that promoting a hybrid solution could be the most seamless return to normality. With multiple quick wins that employers can utilise whilst working in both environments, like sensors on desks, or zoom meetings etc. He also emphasised the importance to give top talent choice in the return to work process.

Nicky discussed the importance to look at the individual problem or need that can be solved with tech, which can differ depending on the organisations. She noted that much of what is occurring with remote working is an acceleration of changes already occurring in the work environment. As seen in retail where customers are engaging with technology in the first instance.

When discussing his experience integrating tech into Nirvana Property, Brent highlighted their one holistic approach to client facing and internal tech. Stating that they don’t think much about internal and external tech – it’s all just tech and it needs to talk and it needs to work – this approach enables them to provide a transparent and premium experience for their clients. He also touched on Nicky’s point on solving genuine problems through tech and noted that this was key to planning their stack, by talking with clients and residents.

Guy went on to discuss talent moving into BTR & Tech. Louisa explained that as PropTech is still relatively new, it is not necessarily key for candidates to have PropTech or real estate experience. As she often looks to other tech industries when headhunting for PropTech to attract candidates from all areas. Additionally, Build to Rent companies employ candidates from plenty of non-traditional sectors – hospitality, retail etc. Nicky agreed that the industry would benefit immensely from other backgrounds. They have an enormous amount of skillsets within Savills Property Management team.

Brent picked up on this noting it is key to put together the right team to manage residents. He says the term Property Manager is too generalist due to the fluid nature and multiple spaces in BTR today.

Michael also said that tech can be a valuable enabler to managers within this environment. As the amount of spaces, tenants, and workload increases for those on the front line, they can utilise tech to automate unnecessary work. Freeing valuable time to deliver a higher level of customer service, stating that “customer experience should not be a USP but a given.”

Brent noted that customer experience is highly correlated with creating a powerful brand presence within BTR.

To conclude, all panelists referenced that Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of change within the sector, but noted that technology could resolve and improve many of the issues in the sector today.

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