Back in the day, those who watched real estate and technology
closely talked about little else. Especially during the post dot-com,
pre-Web 2.0 interregnum. "TMS" platforms were seen as drivers of the
paperless transaction, a vision the industry had been chasing for
years. The products promised efficiencies, security, and a more
satisfying customer experience.
These were the Trulias and Zillows of their time.
They were subject to debate, fiercely competitive, and placed on a
Now? Transaction Management Systems are the microwave ovens of
online real estate: Still useful for some, but often timeworn and vaguely
These products rarely surface in conversation, online or off. The
last numbers I saw indicated that only about 10% of practitioners use
them. They have yet to find a place in the world of real estate 2.0.
Part of the problem may lie with the short attention spans of people
like me. But it’s also a marketing problem. For some of these products
But I think there’s a more important lesson to be learned here for
vendors and practitioners alike. Big proprietary systems are out;
nimble, flexible apps are in.
If you’re a small broker, why invest in a TMS when you can:
- Collaborate on deals using a wiki platform like wetpaint or pbwiki?
- Use lean, mean and dirt cheap project management platforms like Basecamp and actionthis?
- Leverage online office suites like Google Apps and Zoho?
- Back up docs using storage services like Box.net, DocumenTree and Carbonite?
If you’re a big broker, why spend a million dollars building your own platform when you can hitch a
ride on the one Salesforce.com recently released?
If you’re an agent, the number of free tools available to you is breathtaking.
Things are moving too quickly for massive code bases and long-term
contracts. The industry is too complex for rigid, overbuilt feature
sets. To the extent that there is a place for a category called
"Transaction Management" in the future, it will be owned by those who
embrace the mindset of the Taurine-fueled facebook app developer, not the
blue-blazered product VP.
Am I overstating the issue? Let me know. Maybe I’m too close to it. And I do often wear a blue
— Brian Boero