The Internet has certainly changed the way residential real estate is bought and sold. Numerous web sites offer the ability to search for real estate listings and compare home prices. But to remain as the global market leader in residential real estate, Keller Williams understood that just adding a few clever widgets to its web sites would not be enough. It had to think beyond the current situation, focusing instead on positioning itself to win in the Internet-driven real estate market of the future.
Keller Williams realized early on that the explosion of impersonal web technology actually had the potential to put home buyers and sellers at a big disadvantage. When buying or selling a home, you are in direct, sometimes frenzied competition with all the other buyers and sellers in your area. If everyone has access to all the same Internet-speed search tools, it just makes the competition faster, not easier.
So, Keller Williams looked at the situation from the perspective of its customers, as well as its local agents. What do they need? How can Keller Williams continue to provide supportive, individualized services in the midst of a technological revolution? The questions were not simple. Nor was the answer they came up with.
In 2015, Keller Williams determined that it had to change. It needed to become a technology company.
“Buying and selling homes is such an emotional and personal process. People absolutely need a professional agent who can be their primary shepherd and a trusted fiduciary in the process” explains Kit Edwards, Director of Data Analytics for Keller Williams. “So, we committed to becoming a technology company, one that provides its agents and consumers with highly accessible, truly supportive tools and services for understanding and guiding their home buying and selling process.”
To achieve this, Keller Williams would need to reengineer its IT operations, to pivot away from leveraging data solely to support corporate planning and decisions, and to instead focus on using it to inform and empower the decisions and plans of its agents and customers.