Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

The 7 Keys to A Successful MLS Conversion

by Victor Lund on January 12, 2016

If my history recollection serves me, Vancouver is where Canada’s first real estate board was formed in 1888. The current Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) has been in continuous operation since 1919. They are also members of a leading regional MLS that encompasses the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board as a partner and the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and the British Columbia Northern Real Estate Board as customers. Together they transitioned 16,000 Realtors to Black Knight’s Paragon system. Many industry insiders are touting it as the smoothest conversion in history. WAV Group connected with Eileen Day, Chief Operating Officer, and Mike Pedersen, Chief Information Officer, to get a summary of their change management process where we learned the 7 keys to a successful migration. Each of these is critical to success, so they are in no particular order. Planning Every component of their conversion was planned in advance. They developed a plan for everything and spent two years planning ahead. The entire process was engineered in advance, and goals were set for every component of the plan right down to each detail, including specific goals for training attendance, help desk wait times, and communication uptake. Budget Very few MLSs plan for the financial stress to the organization in advance. The resources budgeted for conversions will vary from market to market, but if you planning a conversion, you should benchmark between $50 to $100 per user as extraordinary expenses. Done correctly, system conversions are expensive. Triple Your Staff Most large MLSs have systems for managing the effectiveness of the help desk, technical, training, and communications operations. In the case of help desk, excellence is maintaining averages of under 2 minutes for answering a call and call time averages in the 3-5 minute range.  One major choke point of a conversion is when you overload your systems during the parallel period and once the cut over happens. Under no circumstances do you ever want to let your members down with poor service. As a rule of thumb, factor in a 3x to 4x increase in your staff size for 6 months and provision overflow support from your vendor. In REBGV’s case, the staff went from 6 people to 20 people. Adhere to your benchmarks for hold times and continue to add staff to keep up. Test, Survey, Analyze This group did trial runs to test everything. As an […]