Re-Leased’s Richard Kennedy talks about proptech, its advantages, how to get started, and the future
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Re-Leased’s Richard Kennedy talks about proptech, its advantages, how to get started, and the future

We spoke to Richard Kennedy of Re-Leased, modern cloud-based commercial property management software developers, on the state of play for proptech and what’s next...

Could you give a brief introduction to Re-Leased? 

Re-Leased is a commercial property management software solution that automates and centralises the property accounting of lease management of a commercial property portfolio.

The commercial property market has been underserved by property management tools previously and has relied on spreadsheets and legacy products.

At Re-Leased, we’ve built modern, cloud-based software that integrates with other modern cloud-based tools, providing a user-friendly interface and centralised aggregated information. It gives businesses greater efficiencies for more profit and more control over their portfolio.

Has the commercial property industry lagged in the use of technology?

Some in the commercial property sector have never had to use tech to be successful before, in part because of the way commercial property works in terms of capital appreciation and yield.

So, it’s not fair to say commercial property has lagged but rather that they haven't had their turn until now. I think that every industry will be disrupted by technology at some point, and venture capitalists/entrepreneurs are now seeing huge opportunities for disruption in the commercial property sector and subsequently, investment follows.

The result is that you have lots of proptech ideas in the marketplace. Some stick because they are solving a real problem, and some are solutions looking for a problem. The ones that stick then go along the typical tech-adoption curve journey.

The big thing that many people in commercial property need to be aware of is that you can be a laggard adopting tech in your personal life, but it's vitally important that you embrace tech in your business. Doing so means greater efficiency and more profit.

When you speak to commercial property businesses, what is usually their biggest weakness in terms of digital transformation?

The biggest weakness is a lack of understanding of the benefits. Many businesses are only just now transferring emails to the cloud or beginning to use Slack or Whatsapp in their businesses and discovering how much more efficient they can be using these types of collaborative tools.

Luckily, people in the commercial property sector talk to each other a lot, and for those business owners who are lagging, it really helps them to speak to someone who’s had a successful experience with technology and begin to understand the benefits.

How should commercial property businesses that want to make better use of tech get started?

Really, the first step is to understand that the transition to the cloud is inevitable. If they don’t do it, their succession planning is not going to be as successful as their peers and competitors.

The second thing is that, with anything new, they need to understand that they’re going to have to invest in the technology.

This could be done in different ways. Initially, it might mean spending personal time or employee time researching industry tech and talking to local accountants and cloud experts. Think of it as an investment in a property – you spend a lot of time researching the market to develop a high performing and efficient portfolio. You just need to spend some time educating yourself on making your business operations more efficient.

The easiest way to get started is to hire a cloud consultant or to get one of your junior employees in your team to do a systems audit.

How digital is commercial property insurance? Is this something that can be digitally managed? 

Like the commercial property sector, insurance hasn't had its turn yet to become fully digitised. It's inevitable, though, because the same principles apply to insurance. Businesses need to understand how to gain from digital transformation and not lose out because of it.

Pi Property Insurance, an award-winning specialist property portfolio insurance broker, is doing all the right things in this regard. The people there know the benefits of tech in their industry and are putting as much as they can in place so that they can gain first-mover advantage and, as leaders, achieve exponential gains in that space. 

Moving forward, more discussion is needed about how commercial property and insurance can work together in this new technology world. It’s not mastered yet, but it is inevitable that modern, cloud-integrated systems communicating with each other will help to speed up insurance transactions across commercial property. 

What’s the next big thing for property tech?

The underlying advantage of property tech - and we’ve seen it before with Netflix, Amazon and Facebook - is that all the management tools are integrated to provide complete, accurate, live data. 

So, sure, you might have a drone that helps you understand your site's planning. You might have sensors that help you understand the foot traffic outside your building. The big advantage is when you bring all the data that these devices capture together and aggregate it - then, and only then can you comprehensively investigate inefficiencies and identify opportunities for your business.

Thanks for your thoughts, Richard!

You can find out more about our insurance offering for Commercial Property here.

And learn more about Re-Leased here