- Keller Williams' new tech team is adding tech integrations to its new KW technology platform.
- The CIO and CTO are looking to agents to spearhead their tech innovation.
- Leveraging real-time data will be high priority as the KW technology platform grows.
For the two men who have come from the corporate world to Keller Williams in the last year to head up the technology team, the opportunity to create and build on a new tech platform for the company’s 146,000 agents is akin to that of small boys loose in a toy shop.
“Coming from our corporate backgrounds, Keller Williams is unique,” said Josh Team, Keller Williams’ CIO. “Most organizations don’t have a connected base like Keller Williams does. With its training culture, Keller Williams has a very connected business.
“Our challenge is how we leverage that, how we find other ways of connecting our agents.
“At Keller Williams, you can see at Mega Camp and Family Reunion, there is a palpable culture,” he added.
Team and CTO Steve Peterschmidt introduced new technology integrations to the technology platform at this week’s Mega Camp meeting.
Part of the platform, KW Connect was unveiled in February at the company’s Family Reunion.
KW Connect is a centralized place for agents to access Keller Williams’ education courses, user-created content, such as real estate best practices captured in short video or document form.
A total of 69,000 agents have adopted the platform since its launch — they will use it to share ideas, allow integration and enable discussions, adding more data into it from another system.
“KW Connect is a big step — it enables the tech to be much more focused on the agents operating in the system,” said Peterschmidt.
“This allows the agent to play a role in what needs to happen. Fortunately, we have a real ‘join’ culture at Keller Williams,” he said.
“The additional tech coming to the main platform is going to make it so easy for other companies to innovate with us,” added Team.
The current platform makes it easy to have “great innovation” brought in more easily and distributed, he said.
“This is going to make integration so simple — connecting all these agents with one platform.”
The tech team is listening to agents for inspiration, with a focus on the consumer experience, too.
“We believe passionately that Keller Williams, for its innovation and technology, will look to its agents to spearhead innovation so we bring innovation to consumers not have consumers bring it to us,” said Team.
“What we are creating — we are talking about an agent platform, not a CRM,” he added.
Real-time data is the priority
The emphasis with new tech integration from the team is on real-time data, a priority Team and Peterschmidt have brought with them from the corporate world.
“With KW Connect, we don’t have to build CGI [career growth initiative], it’s something already created — but we are leveraging real-time data, making conversations more easy and intuitive,” said Team.
“By connecting all our data and solutions in real-time, agents can be much more up to date,” he said.
“When you look at artificial intelligence, it’s about how smart the engine can be. We have 146,000 agents, a training system in real-time — it is a smart machine,” said Peterschmidt.
Build what you need to own
As they add to the main platform, the tech team is building what they believe they need to own, said Team.
““This is anything that agents are logging into on a daily basis, anything to do with the continuing relationship between them and their clients, CRM or transaction management, for instance.”
They will still partner with vendors — there is no need to rebuild an IDX, he added.
“We are not here to take incremental steps. Josh and I want to create fundamental innovation,” said Peterschmidt, who has managed an engineering design team that supported NASA space flight projects.
“We are creating tech that will help take all of these Keller Williams relationships to the next level. The key is that this is leveraging the strength of Keller Williams,” he said.
Reading what the millennials want
Peterschmidt and Team are also studying KW consumer research as they create new tech solutions.
One common belief is that millennials want fast response times.
“You could say from this that they want on-demand agents or showings, but our hypothesis is, if we can provide transparency, then do you need an on-demand agent?” said Team.
“The company that has the most data will do best,” added Team.