Looking for Job Security? Brokers are Looking for THIS!

by Marilyn Wilson on September 5, 2017

Job SecurityBy far, an IDX feed is the most heavily used broker tool offered by MLSs today.  Most brokers offer IDX data including active listings and many also include SOLD and PENDING listings thanks to the NAR IDX policy changes which allow brokers to leverage all statuses.

One progressive MLS recognized how important IDX feeds are. RMLS in Portland, took the proactive step to transition every one of their IDX feeds to a RESO Certified collection of data.  This bold step allows all brokers to take full advantage of the rich collection of data relevant to their market available with Platinum Certification.

Key Takeaways

  • IDX Providers LOVE the idea of evolving all IDX feeds in a market to RESO Compliant standardized data. It saves them a ton of time and money and lets them focus on innovation and not data challenges.
  • MLSs can help make the transition to RESO Certified IDX feeds much easier by following three simple steps:
  1. Concurrent Access – Give your IDX suppliers access to BOTH the current IDX feed as well as the new RESO compliant feed to make it easier for them to check the new feed is pulling data just as the current IDX is doing. That makes it much easier to test the new feed.
  2. Comparison Spreadsheet – Provide a spreadsheet that shows all of the fields currently offered and then show what the new data field will be called. Also show what fields are being added, removed or changed.
  3. Do not Increase Column Size – In all cases the length of the columns in the new RMLS IDX feed did not increase. They stayed the same size or decreased. From a database perspective, that makes it so much easier because the IDX providers do not have to change anything on their side.

While we were thrilled to find out that the process was not that difficult from the MLSs perspective, we wanted to find out what the technology companies required to make the transition thought of the move.

We interviewed Chris Freeman, CTO of Wolfnet Technologies to find out what he thought of the move.  Wolfnet aggregates data from 640 MLSs today so they are no stranger to data migrations.

Chris was thrilled with the seamless process implemented by RMLS in Portland.  He told us, “It was one of the simplest data transitions we have had to make. The RMLS IDX feed was already pretty aligned with RESO Standards. In fact, to become RESO certified we only had to make 36 changes in total.

Chris went on to tell us, “I believe it took us under an hour to change over – more if you include testing and verifying. The whole process took us just about 3 to 5-hour range.  Normally that would be a multi-day and at least 3 or 4 rounds of QA – two weeks in total.”

RESO – Potential to save IDX Providers Thousands of Hours!

Mr. Freeman told us that he would LOVE to see every MLS make the move to offer ONLY RESO Certified IDX Feeds.

“I want every MLS to move to RESO Certified IDX feeds. Now that we have built the script to evolve to a RESO Certified IDX feed, the work is just about done.  It would normally take us up to 25 hours PER MARKET to write a script to pull data from EACH MLS. Do the math, 25 hours x 640 markets equals nearly 20,000 hours of work!  Over time, RESO will save Wolfnet and all IDX companies THOUSANDS of hours of programming time.  Now that the script is written it will be SO MUCH easier.  This way there’s no guesswork involved, there’s no additional scripting involved, nothing proprietary that needs to be written.  We love it.

As we move to another market with a RESO Certified IDX feed, all we should have to change is the login credentials and everything just works. I’m curious to see if that is going to be the reality. I suspect that it will be close.”

Chris went on to say, “When the Data Dictionary gets updated, we’ll just pull the RESO documentation and add the few new fields that we need.  With this tedious and frustrating work out of the way, Wolfnet can spend its energies on business development, new functionality and continued innovation.  Much more profitable work for us and our brokers!”

Best Practices Delivered by RMLS

Concurrent Feeds

RMLS took several steps to make the transition easier for their technology companies.  They made the old IDX feed and the Data Dictionary feed available concurrently. According to Wolfnet, that made it a lot easier because they could look at both feeds simultaneously and look back and forth seamlessly. Wolfnet could continue to look at the legacy IDX load and verify that the load on the new system was going to work. They could confirm that there were no typos or anything else that would break the new feed. Wolfnet believes this, is, by far the best way to transition from the legacy IDX feed to a RESO Compliant version.  Many MLSs already follow this practice, but not all do, according to Chris Freeman. If they don’t, it feels like you’re having the rug pulled out from you and then you have to do the work in a panic.

Detailed Spreadsheet – Old vs. New Data Fields

RMLS also helped simplify the process of evolving to a RESO-compliant data feed by providing a spreadsheet that had every field listed and labelled, detailing what the change was – added, removed, name change etc. It simply showed the old name and the new name to make it really easy to map the data.  They also provided the documentation well IN ADVANCE of the deadline.  This documentation made it SO much easier to transition, according to Mr. Freeman. With this support, the changes can be done in a matter of minutes, not hours or days.

Keep Column Sizes Consistent

According to Mr. Freeman, “In all cases the length of the column did not increase. They either stayed the same or decreased.  From a database perspective that means we don’t have to change anything on our side. Again, it makes the transition a whole lot easier.”

Wolfnet is not alone in  its support of the value of MLSs moving to a RESO-Certified IDX Feed. Movoto, a large brokerage that hosts one of the top 10 property search websites, according to Hitwise shares Wolfnet’s enthusiasm. Read HERE about why they believe RESO-Certified IDX feeds are going to help all brokers.

Attend the 2017 Fall RESO Conference!

RESO’s Fall Conference is a great place to learn how RESO is going to help every MLS stay relevant and help support the data needs of their brokers into the future.  There are sessions designed for technical leaders AS WELL AS many designed for MLS Executives and Volunteer Leadership to help learn about the practical business advantages that RESO is creating.

Come and learn for yourself why converting to RESO-compliant IDX feeds is well worth your time.

Register HERE!

 

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