We have a lot of businesses interested in implementing our Digital Employee Rita. There’s no doubt that we are delivering amazing results to some of our early adopters, but robot resources are not for everyone. There are a few fundamentals that you need to have in place first.
- A clear picture of the actual services you provide;
- Business systems that are robot resource compatible; and most importantly
- A desire to challenge the status quo.
A Clear Picture Of The Services You Provide.
This might seem like a simple one. But inevitably, when we ask a business owner, or even an individual salesperson, to show us how they service their inbound buyer or tenant leads, the answer comes with a varying degree of confidence.
In most cases, you can reasonably describe the process. However, when you ask each salesperson in your team, the answer is probably just slightly different from person to person. It’s also probably not adequately measured or tracked.
In the worst cases, you don’t know. You think you know, but you’ve never actually looked at it closely enough to actually know what’s going on.
In order to be robot ready, you can’t leave your service design as a “grey-area”. It needs to be documented and able to be articulated in a way that robots can understand.
Service design is important to set you apart from your competitors. By taking any process in your business you can have anything from full automation to very light background automation – dependent on the volumes of customer you handle, the marketplace you sell in and the fees you charge – but the unavoidable truth of it all is that service is the future battlefield for real estate businesses that don’t want to end up competing on price.
Robot Ready Systems.
This is generally the most black and white area. If your key business systems such as your CRM or Trust Accounting solution do not have an Open API, then you’re not really ready for the robot revolution.
What’s an API? An API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is, in simple terms, a technology capability that allows one piece of software to talk to another piece of software. Robots are, in our field anyway, mainly just software. If your CRM doesn’t have an API, a robot can’t work with it. You aren’t robot ready.
But hang on, what do you mean by an “Open” API? Well, not all APIs are created equal. Some APIs are hidden behind commercial pay-walls or only available to exclusive partners of the software provider. We call these “Gated” APIs. Now there’s nothing wrong with a software supplier gating their APIs. In fact, it’s often better that they do to ensure quality and sufficient resource to invest in supporting and improving their API’s capability.
Where things go wrong is when those “Gates” do not have clear rules for how to open them. In order to innovate, the industry needs to experiment with technology. An Open API allows for a far greater level of innovation than gated APIs.
So how do you know if your software supplier has a “Gated” or “Open” API? Just ask them for access to their API documentation. This is generally the first indicator whether their API has sufficient infrastructure behind it to allow it to be used by 3rd parties.
Documentation doesn’t necessarily grant you access to the API, but it does set out clearly how it works and what the rules are to using it. There’s no real reason for a company to hold this back. Not in our view anyway.
A Culture Of Change.
You need to come to terms with the fact that we are on the brink of evolutionary change. Don’t underestimate just how much our lives will change in the next 5 to 10 years. A lot of people, when they meet Rita., they make the comment of “I didn’t expect this type of technology to be ready for years”.
Do yourself a favour. Go test drive a Tesla. You’ve probably had conversations over the BBQ with your geeky mate about Tesla or how Ubers will soon be driverless.
I guarantee that, whatever your opinion is about the future of automation after a Tesla test drive your opinion will change. You’ll either feel very uncomfortable or very excited.
Feeling uncomfortable is fine. Just make sure it doesn’t last too long, or you may find yourself too far behind those that got excited.