Reflections from an IT & Property event in Stockholm

Last week I attended the third annual 'IT & Property' event in Stockholm arranged by Seminar Design. This is the third year (for coverage of 2007 and 2008.)

After a rather slow start, two years ago, this event is starting to take off. I was surprised by the energy at the event. (Even Though I would have preferred even more.) 

Some 130 people from 80 companies attended the conference. A majority of those where from state or municipality owned companies. Does it take a long term view in order to focus on the benefits of IT in real estate?

At the exhibition area a handful companies displayed their products. The one which caught my attention was Jetas Quality System.  Which "is a state-of-the-art, web based, real estate and property management and inspection tool. With a simple system of barcodes and a PDA you can maintain 100% control – no need for notebooks, bits of paper or Post-its." The service is used by, for example, IKEA and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Two reflections
What I bring with me from the event is mainly:

  • "the systems need to talk to each other"
             A line that was heard repeatedly. In other words, the use of standards like
             the XML scheme from fi2 is going to increase the upcoming years.
  • "It has to be easy to use"
             Simplicity and user friendly seems to be more important than advanced.

The best presentation
Among all the presentations there was one that stood out exceptionally; Sören Sandell, CTO at Vasakronan. One of the largest property companies in Sweden.  

Not only did he show the impressive Intranet they are using to simplify as many processes as possible with in the organisation. For example, most of the users of the Property Management system is using it through the interface of the Intranet.

However, the most impressive thing was the strategy they had to achieve it. The focus for any system development was;

  1. user friendly                   "think Google"
  2. well design                    "think Apple"
  3. easy to administrate

At this point I was highly impressed (never ever heard something like this from any one in this industry). So when he then said that they were aggressive on eliminating the use of Excel spreadsheets in the organisation by adding easy to use functionality at the Intranet I started to applaud!

Thanks Sören for making my day.