Skip to content
May 21, 2024

Finding the Right Fit for CRE: Departmental Workflow Solutions Vs Integrated Platforms

Do CRE business operations benefit more from departmental workflow solutions or integrated platforms? We explore two fundamental concepts in technology to make finding the right fit for your CRE tech stack easier.

Canva Design DAGF5fre6to

As CRE organizations increasingly adopt new technology, understanding the distinction between platforms and workflow solutions becomes crucial. Both types of technology play significant roles within a tech ecosystem, but one often proves more beneficial than the other for CRE needs.

Workflow solutions are specialized tools designed to automate specific business processes. They excel in targeted tasks like accounting, tenant management, or leasing workflows, similar to how scissors are perfect for cutting but not suitable for tightening screws. In contrast, platforms offer a more versatile approach. They provide a comprehensive suite of features that support multiple roles and business applications within a single package, acting like a Swiss Army Knife for your tech needs.

In this article, we will delve into the fundamental differences between platforms and workflow solutions, illustrating why platforms often provide a more cohesive and efficient approach for CRE business automation. From the ability to centralize data and streamline communication to the enhanced customization options, we'll explore how platforms can better support the complex and multifaceted demands of the CRE industry.

Jump To A Section in This Article
The Important Role Technology Plays in CRE
Platforms Vs Workflow Solutions
Why Platforms Offer More for CRE Business Automation
Finding the Right CRE Platform for Your Tea

Technology in CRE: An Increasingly Crowded Field

We have highlighted a few pivotal Proptech companies in previous posts, but our coverage doesn’t even scratch the surface of solutions in the market today.
From companies like San Francisco-based infrastructure financier, Banyan, to, a well-known PropTech researcher providing insights into retail, there are literally thousands of companies catching executives’ attention. But this variety and saturation can create a lot of noise.

Whether your team needs task automation, streamlined reporting, or access to reputable data, odds are there is a solution out there built to your needs. Finding that solution, however, is another story.

In that case, the onus often falls on CTOs, CIOs and other CRE leaders to wade through the murky waters to discover the solution that will support their business needs without wasting time or precious funds.

Platforms Vs Workflow Solutions: Understanding the Differences

Without getting into the overly confusing concepts of technology, it is important to understand one basic principle when adopting new tech and that is the difference between platforms and workflow solutions. Both technology types have their place within a tech ecosystem, but CRE organizations can benefit from one more than the other.

What is a workflow solution?

The answer to this question isn’t as cut and dry as one would like. Workflow solutions come in different shapes, sizes, and classifications. For instance, workflow automation solutions, workflow management solutions, document workflow solutions, etc., all do something slightly different. However, there are overarching commonalities to all that help differentiate departmental workflow solutions from tech platforms.

First, a workflow solution is a software product or system used to automate specific business processes. Think, MRI products that automate a portion of accounting processes, VTS that helps manage leasing, or Argus automating workflows for valuation. All of these solutions are highly specialized and offer optimization for specific roles.

A workflow solution, like VTS, might automate tasks that are tenant-facing, but property managers will need to turn to another tool or integration to manage vacancy schedules, CAM reconciliation, or abstracting tenant obligations.

What is a platform?

Platforms, on the other hand, are more versatile, offering automation and features that support multiple roles and business applications within a single package. They are the foundation for multiple software products.

For example, Prophia’s integrated AI solution focuses on data to automate crucial tasks across a CRE organization. This includes generating rent rolls, vacancy insights, abstracting leases, and monitoring deal activity and portfolio performance. Every role and department works from a single source, and can seamlessly automate multiple business processes, pulling out various components as needed to complete tasks.

Tech platforms also support customization, like the ability to build a website from scratch on HubSpot, WordPress, or Squarespace. Indeed, workflow solutions are also somewhat customizable, but platforms offer true ground-up customization. For Prophia, this includes building reports, and specifying custom data capture to seamlessly track the data points that are the most meaningful for your organization’s performance and growth objectives.

Why Are Software Platforms Better for CRE Business Automation?

CRE is a complex industry with many moving parts. This complexity might tempt businesses to optimize each application separately to cover every unique use case. However, relying on workflow solutions that automate specific tasks can create gaps in overall business execution. This is where comprehensive software platforms become invaluable for industries with complex needs, like CRE.

Moreover, many CRE organizations collaborate with third-party vendors, such as external legal teams, property managers, and brokers, to meet goals in leasing, acquisition, and investments. If these third-party teams use separate workflow tools, it can lead to data silos and communication challenges. By centralizing all necessary data on a single platform and giving third-party operators access, CRE organizations can minimize miscommunication and ensure every stakeholder is aligned and informed.

Finding the Right CRE Platform for Your Operational and Strategic Needs

The vast and ever-expanding PropTech landscape can be overwhelming, but navigating it doesn't have to mean settling for a patchwork solutions network. By understanding the distinction between workflow solutions and integrated platforms, CRE executives can make informed decisions that streamline operations and empower their teams.

While departmental workflow solutions excel at automating specific tasks, they often lack the big-picture capabilities needed in the complex world of commercial real estate. Platforms, on the other hand, offer a comprehensive suite of features that can centralize data, foster seamless communication across departments, and support the multifaceted workflows of CRE professionals. This holistic approach eliminates data silos, fosters collaboration with external partners, and empowers informed decision-making at all levels.

In today's competitive market, CRE organizations that embrace a unified platform approach are better positioned to optimize efficiency, boost productivity, and achieve their strategic goals. By leveraging the power of a single, integrated platform, like Prophia, CRE leaders can ensure their teams have the tools they need to excel, while simultaneously laying the foundation for future growth and success.

Imagine a future where leasing teams collaborate seamlessly with property managers on tenant requests, leveraging real-time data to make informed decisions. Picture a world where external partners like brokers and legal teams have secure access to relevant information, fostering transparency and streamlining workflows. This is the power of a unified platform approach in CRE.

By adopting a platform solution, CRE leaders can navigate the ever-expanding PropTech landscape with confidence. They can empower their teams, optimize operations, and achieve a significant competitive edge. The future of CRE is unified, and the time to act is now.


If you would like to harness the power of next-generation AI and overcome some of today's most daunting market challenges, contact the Prophia team to learn about platform adoption for CRE.

Hannah Overhiser

Hannah is Prophia's Content Marketing Manager and a seasoned B2B and B2C marketer. Her career began in eCommerce consulting with a focus on code testing. This technical expertise transferred seamlessly to SEO and she started working agency-side as an SEO and Content Strategist. Today, her home is Prophia, and she puts...

Other posts you might be interested in

View All Posts