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For all our talk that spreadsheets are dead, a new report from MRI software shows that commercial and multifamily real estate firms are still using antiquated technology to handle some of their most important work. It’s hard to believe companies still use spreadsheets to track and calculate their data. They might as well be using an abacus.

Over and over, on this blog and many others, we have touted the benefits of technology in real estate. We know that more real estate firms are embracing software-as-a-service platforms in everything from managing customers to tracking the deal pipeline. Yet MRI’s The State of Real Estate Technology report shows that many organizations are reluctant to let go of their existing outdated processes.

MRI’s survey showed that 42 percent of real estate businesses use spreadsheets and/or paper in critical operations. The organization’s size did not matter. Even 34 percent of companies with over 50 employees still used spreadsheets in some capacity. The survey shows that 11% of organizations rely solely on spreadsheets or paper-based processes with no additional software that’s purpose-built for a real estate industry. This is mind-boggling!

Companies using old systems put themselves at a serious competitive disadvantage.  Modern consumers have embraced technology and every aspect of their daily lives. In fact, a Microsoft study found that 90% of consumers would consider taking their business somewhere else than to work with the company using outdated technology. They expect to be able to pay their leases online, to schedule auto payments, to receive text alerts, to submit an online work request, to see their accounts payable in an online dashboard…the list rambles on.

Where does property management and accounting technology fall in terms of priority? In both the multifamily and commercial markets, over half use of firms this technology in their organization. For those that do not, adopting accounting software was third among the top five priorities for commercial real estate organizations, with 13% planning to adopt.

The point made by the white paper is clear. The modern consumer expects the conveniences afforded by technology and real estate firms need to deliver. Let’s give the people what they want!

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