Data Silos Are Dragging Your Brokerage Down—How to Fix It
Real Estate Back Office
• Dec 17, 2021
When systems don’t talk to each other, your brokerage suffers. So what can you do?
Data silos are a (mostly) silent weight that slow your business, reduce your profits, and make people mad. We say “mostly” silent because you probably hear the sounds of data silos around your office.
“These spreadsheets are killing me.”
“I still don’t have everything to process commissions because the transaction data hasn’t been entered yet.”
“We have to redo the contract because of a typo when the transaction was entered.”
“I wasn’t in the office to finish that data entry.”
Leading brokerages have been working to eliminate these data silos over the last few years. This is a critical business process improvement that you’ll need to address just to keep up. You don’t want to get stuck in the past and get left behind.
So what exactly is a data silo?
It’s simply any place where important data is NOT accessible easily to all who need it. And, it can harm productivity, teamwork, and cost you financially.
The most common data silos we see in brokerages are caused by software that handles a step in the process, but that does not talk to the software that handles the next step. Transaction management to commission payouts is a big one of these.
Maybe your brokerage has a transaction management system, but then you have to manually enter all the commission data into a spreadsheet to calculate the disbursements.
The same holds true for moving all that financial data from transactions and commissions into accounting. Or bringing listing data from a CRM or MLS into your transaction management system. Or pushing data from the back office into a reporting system, such as Realogy Dash.
Every time data hits a wall in the process, you are in a data silo.
What problems do data silos cause?
Data silos can have a negative impact on your business. Here are some of the problems they cause:
Decreased productivity and morale—you are slower to close transactions, slower to disburse agent commissions, and slower do everything else
Mistakes and errors—leaving you with bad or missing data that can cause rework and compliance problems
No business overview—you have no holistic view of your business and its health Increased costs—you are paying for a lot of rework and duplicate manual work
So how do you fix this?
The good news is that data silos are a technology problem, not a people problem. And fixing the technology will make your office staff and agents happier and more productive. Here are things to look for in technology solutions that eliminate data silos.
Consolidate multiple business functions in one platform—transaction management, commission calculation, accounting, and even agent management, are all related and all have overlapping data
Integrate your tools—after consolidating, you’ll still have a couple different systems and you’ll want them to be able to talk to each other through an “out of the box” integration or an API
Provide access from anywhere—it’s 2021, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be able to access your systems securely from anywhere with a web browser or mobile app
Seek robust reporting—getting all your data into one place allows you to get that holistic view of your business, so look for systems that provide flexible reporting
If you don’t fix your data silos...
You will probably continue on for a while before the weight pulls you all the way down. Other brokerages will be moving faster, closing faster, paying faster, making fewer mistakes, and retaining great staff and agents. Don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t get left behind.