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The shape of technology leadership roles in real estate

CTO and CIO roles in real estate are still not as well established as those in typical technology companies: there is more resistance to buy-in from the C-suite and people in technical positions are still seen as outsiders.

They have previously been thought of as providing little more than practical IT support. But they are now evolving to synthesise data and help the C-suite understand how the use of technologies relates to the company’s ROI.

Resistance to technology in this field means adoption has not been quick, because the real estate sector is operational. That means that technology-based fixes tend to be considered only when the business has a problem or is losing money. But the necessary roles are now being developed thanks to a mix of youth, internal promotion and the hiring of new staff who have strong technical backgrounds.

The challenge for real estate technologists is to assess the various tools available to construct an ecosystem rather than using the siloed approach of relying on disparate technology providers. The low-risk approach is to use short-term licensing of technologies to test on a single asset before rolling out to an entire portfolio.

If they can overcome such challenges, technologists in leadership roles will have a greater influence over the C-suites of forward-thinking real estate companies.

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