The move towards a digital future is no longer a matter of choice or preference. The changes to the way businesses operate are imminent. Along with an ever-increasing focus on data management, the innovative technological solutions are to become a new norm and not a deviator. Nevertheless, this rapid technological development is linked with both advantages and challenges. Many companies are struggling to understand the potential impact that technology could have on their businesses and to choose the right path to follow. Only a minority has an actual strategy in place to respond to it.

Industries stand at different positions on the technological implementation curve. Some, such as the financial sector, pharmaceuticals and the automotive industry, are well advanced in the process, while others, such as the commercial real estate services industry (CRE), are just about to embark on the tech boat and are looking at how they might follow. Technology is expected to have quite a dramatical effect on the CRE services companies’ organisational structure and business line mix. With repetitive, data-heavy tasks being automated, some job roles will change, while others will disappear. It is also anticipated that the company structure will be flatter with the middle manager level fading out, and it is likely that cross-selling strategies within different teams and a more fluid, agile approach are to be fostered.

The main question for many CRE services companies right now is how to make sure that their response to changes is appropriate? Keeping a close eye on the disruptive factors affecting their industry, remaining agile and embracing changes is often closely related to being fast at redirecting capital expenditure allocations across business lines. The ability to grasp the potential of technology – both in terms of providing value to clients and being efficient in delivering services by removing many of the distractions that occur along the way – will be challenged. More importantly, a lot of employees being pulled out from doing basic tasks will have to think more creatively and have to work in a company structure that allows for this.