Facebook at Work is emerging as a major force for internal collaboration. What reason does the real estate industry have to get onboard?

  • Once a major industry brand fully adopts Facebook at Work, internal collaboration software will become a primary business initiative.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

User interface design is critical to software adoption.

It’s about much more than look and feel. The colors, composition and use of screen real estate directly correlate to the user experience.

How tightly can complex actions be wound into a single icon? Did developers use the right nomenclature to identify a feature, or confuse users with clever euphemisms?

It’s the power of Facebook’s highly familiar user interface that will all but ensure the success of Facebook at Work, the social behemoth’s interoffice productivity offshoot set to launch next year. It’s already being beta tested.

Here at Inman we use a popular tool called Slack. In essence, it’s a chat tool. But its ability to silo discussions, exchange documents and offload the tedium that is daily email allow its features to root deep into office operations, as well as connect geographically diverse team members.

Global marketing and messaging company Weber Shandwick is up to its timeline in the Facebook for Work beta test, currently connecting around 1,000 employees.

Obviously, facilitating communication between multitudes of people from all over the planet isn’t a challenge for the billion-customer platform.

Here’s the thing: With Facebook getting into the office collaboration game, it’s safe to say the professional workplace as a whole is ready.

Is real estate?

Teke Wiggin’s piece on the topic showed how a Coldwell Banker (CB) brokerage has friended Facebook at Work.

So far, use of the software has shown positive results. Will more CB franchises follow the branch’s innovative lead? I hope so.

Screen shot showing Facebook At Work.

Screen shot showing Facebook At Work.

I’m beginning to catch some internal grief over my adoration for software offerings that champion such agent-to-agent, office-to-office concepts.

Companies like Proxio and Resaas are already building these kinds of tools for brokerages and regional Boards of Realtors. Broker ThinkTank and Relola are designed to enhance sales and collaboration through these forms of interaction.

Should Facebook at Work gain the traction that’s expected, its inherent familiarity will certainly be a major contributor.

There’s some reason to be a tad skeptical, as some believe Facebook’s long-term strategy is to not blur the lines between home and work, but erase them.

Personal and work Facebook accounts are separate, but users’ comfort with the platform will no doubt lead to some overuse challenges.

A true business can’t run only on sales software.

There is also fear within IT circles — or, frustration more likely — that Facebook at Work will erode concerns over security risks and for the top-down internal community oversight.

Could a real estate office benefit from an internal communication tool like Facebook at Work? Or Slack?

If not, why not?

Besides the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Southwest Region, there are few companies out there running in a new way — or at least introducing best practices to facilitate a more technologically collaborative workspace.

Some agencies that openly champion innovation in both business model and IT are labeled, pejoratively I might add, as “hybrid brokerages.”

What about the traditional real estate office model prohibits the adoption of productivity software not meant specifically to manage clients or directly improve sales? It’s all about CRMs and lead generation.

A true business can’t run only on sales software.

Is it the desk-fee model that prohibits agents from wanting to jump on board with broker initiatives?

Internal competition?

Or the independent contractor structure, which prevents a true connection between agent and brand?

I believe it’s all of the above. And I’m hoping 2016 initiates a shift in the way real estate business is conducted.

Like if you agree.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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