Bob Rosecrans and Michael Koval at Pixces Consulting Group are a little more subtle in addressing this subject in their new White Paper “Real Estate Brokers: Is your CIO future proofing your business?” But the title of the paper’s first chapter really says it all: “I love my CIO but…”
What follows in an exceptionally candid and insightful examination of the conversations that Chief Executive Officers or broker-owners must have with their Chief Information Officers – or 0whoever is the Technology leader or point person at their brokerage. As Senior Partners at Pixces – and industry power hitters – Koval and Rosecrans specialize in helping real estate brokerages address IT business solutions to solve business challenges. The deep insight they share is based on years of highly honed experiences.
Koval, a founder who also serves on Pixces Board of Directors, was the Chief Information Officer for Long & Foster Real Estate. There he was responsible for all technology, business solutions, IT governance, security and online systems. Koval also has served on numerous boards including Trulia, National Association of Realtors Security & Policy Group, LeadingRE and The Realty Alliance.
Rosecrans previously was the and Chief Security Officer for the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), an international non-profit organization providing services to business schools, including the widely used Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). He also was the CIO and CSO for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
What they impart in this White Paper address the reality that most real estate brokerage leaders simply do not have the deep tough-talk they should with their Tech leaders.
The harsh truth is, if, God forbid, a brokerage’s CIO was hit by a bus, chaos is likely. The good news is, in their White Paper, the authors outline a specific game plan for what a CEO should expect from their CIO with very clear objectives and direction.
The goal of the White Paper clearly is to help a CEO answer these questions:
- Will my brokerage, as it is configured and managed today, enable continued growth?
Can my CIO drive the innovation we need?
- Is my leadership team engaged?
- Do we have the technology vision and the innovation road maps to execute?
- Do we have the talent?
The right partners?
- The right products?
- Commitment and passion?
These are the questions, the authors argue, that can keep brokerage owners up at night. Using a hypothetical “memo,” Rosecrans and Koval outline what a CEO should expect and what a CIO or Technologic leader needs to deliver.
Among the most vital points made comes under the sub-headline: “Futureproof the IT Organization.” An excerpt from the White Paper reads:
“Your role is changing and that is true for many in the technology organization. Some disciplines have been commoditized, while others are emerging. Are we ready for the evolution of consumer expectations, a mobile workforce, cloud services, Software Defined Networks, Open APIs, the Internet of Things and more? How do we adapt? Are we creating development opportunities? Retooling our skills? …. You cannot be the expert in everything, but we may need experts in everything. Get ahead of the curve so we can jump on opportunities when they surface.”
What Koval and Rosecrans offer in this White Paper goes beyond just making sure that a brokerage has its basis covered. It’s truly showcases a firm’s potential when a CEO and CIO are on the same page and not disconnected.
While the White Paper it’s not really about what happens if a firm loses a CIO, it certainly illustrates how massive the impact would be if a Tech leader at a brokerage was a gatekeeper instead of a collaborator.
Finally, the authors confess that the frank conversations they are recommending may be “intimidating” and perhaps elicit a reaction that they are “beyond reason.” Yet they note that when CEOs do not ask these questions they need to consider the impact on the opportunity cost when they simply live with “the status quo.”
The White Paper is free from Pixces Consulting Group and is available for direct download, without registration, at this link: