Look at Microsoft to see how the world has changed

January 2015

In March 2009 Microsoft had a 96% market share of personal computing device sales. By March 2014 that had dropped to 23%. So a 73% drop in market share in 5 years.

In an industry so focused on Microsoft it is probable that most property people have not seen the bigger picture here; which is that a company widely considered to be the head honcho has, despite still making a ton of money, largely become a bit player in the new tech world.

And that matters. Why? Because many of the standard business processes of the property industry are stuck in a mindset that is no longer making the most of what is possible. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the mountains of reports that the industry churns out, for internal and external consumption.

Much of the criticism one hears relating to iPads and tablets in general is that ‘I need a proper computer for that’, but the ‘that’ normally refers to a spreadsheet or a lengthy, convoluted word doc or presentation. This though is to mistake the way we work now for the way we can and will work.

Take that spreadsheet; carefully crafted using a data set captured at a fixed point in time and fed back to the creator by another part of the business. The output is then, most likely, inserted as a series of tables in that monthly report.

All of which is outdated. First, the data should be available in real time to whomever needs it, secondly the Excel should be replaced by a cloud based SaaS application, and thirdly the report should be online and constantly updated as this real time data changes. The result of which would be better reports produced in a fraction of the time. And often created just the once. Thereafter they update themselves.

This sort of process has the potential to create the 10x improvement in productivity we discussed last month.

It also explains why Microsoft (though forever king of the desktop) is moving, with vigour, into cloud based services available on any device. Office for iOS would not have happened in 2009; now it is an imperative.

These new business processes just reinforce the way ‘mobile is eating the world’. Mobile devices also contain sensors, and these let you understand the world around us (the core of the property industry) and every new sensor represents a new business opportunity.

This is the year of sensors and connected devices, and the physical world has top billing in this environment. We just need to reappraise how we work, where real value can be created and how our toolkit needs to change to make the most of the stunning opportunities out there.

Or it might be one of us that loses 73% market share in five years.