By Sascha Donner, CIPO of EVANA AG
How will we work in the future? This is a question researchers, digitization managers and business leaders are all grappling with. Let me say one thing up front: If I had the answer to this question, I would have shared it long before now – and developed a business model to bring about this future today.
And, to a certain extent, that is exactly what EVANA has done – at least for an important part of the real estate industry. We are driving the development and expanding the potential of artificial intelligence to completely change the world of asset management. But in the end, nothing will actually change.
This sounds a bit complicated, but it is actually quite simple. To understand what I’m getting at, you just need to look at the full chain of processes involved in supposedly analog asset management today. Many processes are simply time-consuming and inefficient. Take a look at your own workflow: How often do you jump between different software applications every hour? How often do you switch between digital and analog documents? How much of the data you need is instantly available to you and accessible from anywhere? Probably less than 50%, according to a survey of several major asset managers. EVANA takes care of the rest by searching and compiling information from various sources.
Artificial intelligence is at its best precisely where tradition asset management is most inefficient, for example in structured file storage and data extraction. Whenever a new property is added to a portfolio, this creates a lot of paperwork and eats up huge amounts of time to integrate the new data, which can include rental and purchase agreements, service provider contracts, master data on rental units, data from expert opinions, warranties and much more. Imported documents contain essential information about a property and its management. Incorporating documents and files into the asset manager’s various systems can take weeks, or even months. If files are not transferred directly into the company’s internal system, parallel structures are created that are inefficient to maintain.
These activities have become a regular part of asset managers’ daily routines and take up a lot of valuable working time. This must and will change. After all, specialized asset managers don’t primarily create value by maintaining data rooms and databases, they do so by proactively managing assets for the benefit of their clients and users. That is why we train our EVANA AI to relieve asset managers of these tiresome tasks. Our algorithm recognizes document types, extracts relevant information and stores it in the right place and the right structure – for example, according to the gif standard. Extracted information is cross-linked with data from other sources and automatically transferred to reports and digital workflows. This frees asset managers up to use their valuable time more efficiently. Our users are convinced that, thanks to our intelligent algorithms, up to 60% of non-value-adding routine tasks can already be partially automated. And the trend is rising.
So, your work as an asset manager has changed completely – in a positive sense. And not only in terms of how you use your IT systems, but also how you go about your everyday tasks. The time you gain allows you to focus more intently on the much more valuable tasks that an AI cannot fully or cannot satisfactorily perform. This includes personal support for investors and tenants, intuitive decisions based on human experience and the more effective management of real estate portfolios based on new and better data.
Asset management is at a crossroads. Technology is changing the way we work. At the same time, it isn’t changing anything. After all, asset managers still need the same experience, qualities and skills they have always needed. Asset management will not change and yet it will be completely different from what we know today. And that is a good thing.