Do you still believe this myth about real estate data migrations?
“Innovation” has become the watchword over the past decade, increasingly so over the last two years. And its definition, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a change made in the nature or fashion of anything; something newly introduced; a novel practice, method, etc.” So, we can agree that newness is key. But in that case, why do companies so often cling to old ways of doing things, but expect new, or at least different outcomes?
One of these relics, which persists in modern-day business practice, is a long-standing myth about data migrations and outsourcing. When working on recent Yardi implementations and migrations, we’ve realised that many real estate companies – residential and commercial alike – still default to using humans to bridge systems that don’t easily talk to each other. Decision-makers take one look at the line item for this work to be automated and respond with “We’ll outsource that, it will be a fraction of the price.”
Leaving the ostensible price difference to one side for the moment (which, I’d argue, is a false saving), with today’s volumes of data and the related complexity it simply isn’t possible to carry out residential or commercial real estate data migrations manually anymore. It takes too long. If you start close to the go-live date, you’ll miss your deadline because there is just too much to get through.
On the other hand, if you start ahead of schedule, you’ll have a gap in your data of several weeks or months when you do go live. This has significant implications including the inability to make data-based decisions, delays in invoicing directly affecting your bottom line, and compliance and reporting delays and inadequacies.
As well as there not being enough time to do this work manually anymore, humans are unsuited to this type of boring and repetitive work, especially when working in a rush. This inevitably results in human error creeping in. This compounds the issues already mentioned, means you can’t trust your data and the decisions you make, and introduces further delays as errors are rooted out and rectified. Today, bad data costs companies money.
These issues mean that outsourcing the data migration portion of any big real estate technology implementation threatens the success of the overall project that you’ve already spent months or years and a fair portion of your budget on. Taken together, these reasons make the outsourcing route far less appealing, and certainly not affordable or practical.
It’s time to start thinking about innovation as more than a truly novel idea or business model change. It can, and should, also take place behind the scenes, including in the way things are done in the back office. This sort of shift is not flashy and headline-grabbing, but it is foundational to further progress, and ultimately, business success. In this case, innovation looks like rethinking how data migrations are carried out, with a focus on automating your migration, standardising your data, and resisting the urge to do it yourself or plug the gap with humans.