RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

JAN 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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34 January 2019 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE Not only were online platform builds far more expensive than they are today, there was also a commonly held view that a platform would endure for a significant period of time. Yet, as C21 discovered, this would not be the case. The platform was not agile enough to accommodate new innovations. And neither was the vendor-client partner - ship, for that matter. C21 quickly learned the expensive downside of being the sole client of a small firm: They were also the sole source of R&D funding. With the C21 contract in hand, the vendor had no real incentive to in - novate, which only further added to the sensation of C21 falling behind. In 2015, C21 brought in renowned real estate con - sultancy T3 Sixty to complete a major review of the sys- tem. Around the same time, C21's original technology vendor was acquired. Following a comprehensive review, the only logical recommendation was for C21 to make a change—and fast. Impressed by T3 Sixty's engagement, C21 not only decided to follow the firm's recommendation, they also made a strategic decision to appoint T3 Sixty CTO and President Jack Miller to act as C21 CTO to manage the project. "We were looking for an outside perspective on how to evolve the company into the future. T3 Sixty has an excellent reputation in the industry, and after meeting with CEO Stefan Swanepoel and Jack Miller, we knew this new perspective would be a good fit," says Martin Charlwood, vice chairman and CEO, CENTURY 21 Canada. As president and CTO, T3 Sixty's Miller had spent near - ly two decades in the real estate industry. More notably, he had led technology teams at several influential bro - kerages and franchises. It just made sense for C21 to engage T3 Sixty to lead the RFP process and subsequent project implementation. "T3 Sixty understands innovation, trends and the im - pact change is having on the real estate industry. With the firm's background in both real estate and technology, they provided excellent expertise on helping us continue to be leaders in this space in Canada," says Charlwood. The T3 Sixty team saw a big opportunity ahead for C21. "What impressed me about C21 was their under - standing that the technological landscape had changed, and that they needed to, as well," says Miller. THE PROCESS With the T3 Sixty team now on board, C21 quickly honed in on what they needed in a new platform. The top priority was putting the needs of agents front and center. LESSONS AND TAKEAWAYS FOR BROKERAGES AND DEVELOPERS "A franchise-level project, the launch of the largest-ever custom real es - tate platform is set to shake up the industry as we know it, causing fran - chises across the board to realize that it's time to step up their game," says Morgan Carey, founder and CEO of Real Estate Webmasters (REW). For companies considering a similar move, he advises they take the fol - lowing lessons into consideration: 1 Importance of facilitation on both sides. "No matter the size, projects can go out of scope if there isn't facilitation on the side of the vendor, as well as the client," says Carey. While the process of creating the largest-ever custom real estate platform was a success through and through for both CENTURY 21 Canada and REW, "having strong client partners who are also industry and technology veterans is critical. Jack Miller, chief technology officer at CENTURY 21 Canada, played a key role in this respect, providing a great show of leadership by taking the time to prepare ahead of meetings and being able to give direction to the team throughout the process," adds Carey. 2 Importance of true partnership and expertise. "Great partnerships begin with a mutual level of respect and the willingness to step back and let the experts take care of their respective responsibilities. While it can be a challenge for real estate brokerages when they don't necessarily understand what constitutes the latest and greatest technology, CENTURY 21 Canada allowed us to take the lead as far as design and technology consultants. In addition, we facilitated a healthy exchange of ideas around web UI (user interface), language and accessibility, helping CENTURY 21 Canada to take the most innovative and cutting-edge approach to their solution," notes Carey. "Successful partnerships aren't about preventing problems, but rather, solving problems together," he adds. 3 Importance of technology and innovation in real estate. "While the project was a huge undertaking for CENTURY 21 Canada and Real Estate Webmasters—both of which are tech- and innovation-driven—it also redefines how agent and brokerage technology can enable and enhance day-to-day workflows," concludes Carey.

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