The Pavonis Group recently scooped up REI Wise (marketing and deal management), Property Line (a property and listing service) and Real Estate Assistant (aka REA, a popular CRM app for CRE). Already in strategic partnerships with PIX (a 3D simulation tool), The News Funnel (CRE new feeds), ProHatch (crowd funding) and Storyvine (user generated video), Pavonis Group is going to combine these tools into “one economical platform” for the CRE industry. Called RealNex, the project is spearheaded by Jeffry Finn, a well-known technology pioneer in commercial real estate.
What makes this somewhat exciting is the way the Pavonis Group has always approached technology solutions. On a panel at last year’s Counselors of Real Estate convention, I was impressed with their focus on understanding the business process. A holistic view that taps into the potential of consolidated internal data, external data sources and user discovery. Because a bunch of single purpose apps that don’t integrate with each other is not the answer.
While the idea of one application that does everything isn’t new the problem has always been a steep learning curve or that they almost always require customization to meet an individual company’s practices. By incorporating well-known and mature applications already in use, much of that can be avoided.
So who’s going to buy this? Most of the major CRE brokerages have already committed to company-wide CRM apps. Unless it happens to be REA, it’s unlikely they’d be interested in migrating even with all the additional functionality. Plus, larger brokerages, smartly or not, isolate marketing from brokerage activities using software not included in an application like this. While this ensures a cohesive branding message, most of the data that could be linked to a transaction isn’t so there’s no way to measure the efficacy of campaigns or marketing methods.
That leaves individual agents and small to mid-sized independent brokerages as the target market. If the price is right, they just might bite. But it’s not always just about the price. There has to be an easy way to import existing data into the system, export listing information to marketing platforms like LoopNet or use internally and display some of these visual technologies – not to mention listings – on websites and blogs. And there’s never any redundancy. The cloud is great for mobile access but what if there’s no connection? What happens to your data if the provider goes under or you want to get out? I haven’t seen one CRE “innovation” that adequately addresses all of this critical functionality. Maybe RealNex will be the one that does.