“We truly believe in technology adoption. This means much more than just using technology or a digital tool in our work. The process involves encouraging a digital-friendly culture, minimising disruptions when implementing the new solution, training employees and making sure the whole team grows together,” said Ms Sarah Ng, Key Executive Officer of SN Real Estate Pte Ltd, as she shared her estate agent’s (EA) philosophy on embracing technology.
In the third quarter of 2021, SN Real Estate implemented RealtyPromote, a pre-approved, sector-specific digital solution for the real estate agency industry provided by CommercePromote Pte Ltd. The solution, which is available for funding support under the SMEs Go Digital programme, enabled Ms Ng’s EA to digitalise its agency management operations, from real estate salesperson (RES) management, transaction management, accounts management to compliance matters.
Greater productivity and lowered costs
Ms Ng explained that in the past, her EA adopted paper-based processes, which bogged down her workforce and operations. “Since the pandemic, our internal stakeholders from the front-end to the back-end teams have realised the need for digitalisation. For small and medium enterprises like us, the SMEs Go Digital programme has greatly helped to accelerate the digitalisation process and allowed us to leverage digital technologies to grow amidst the pandemic,” she explained.
While it was initially challenging for some of her less tech-savvy operations staff and RESs to adopt the digital solution, Ms Ng said that the CommercePromote team was very supportive in conducting training and creating video guides on using RealtyPromote. With a willingness to learn, her entire team was soon able to adapt to using the solution.
Ms Ng was happy to note that the RealtyPromote digital solution has greatly improved her EA’s workflow by streamlining processes, allowing quicker access to information, and making the Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable processes much easier. Collectively, these have enhanced productivity and lowered both operational and transactional costs.
“With our agency management process digitalised, our salespersons now receive live updates of their transactions, without having to call our administrative team every single time. Menial tasks have been greatly reduced, so we can spend more time focusing on our RESs, clients, partnerships, and growing our business,” added Ms Ng.
Staying ahead through digitalisation
To Ms Ng, staying competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices, and her team is striving to continue the digitalisation process to stay ahead of the curve.
For example, SN Real Estate Pte Ltd offers onboarding training for its new RESs. During the training, new RESs can look forward to learning about digital tools and resources that are beneficial for their daily work and serving their clients better. The training will familiarise them with public agency-managed platforms such as OneMap, URA SPACE and Real Estate Information System (REALIS), as well as those that feature property-related government data. RESs will also be informed about how they can use digital space measuring tools, financial calculators, as well as document scanning and video editing apps. In addition, any new digital tools that team members discover are promptly shared via the EA’s internal communications channels.
Ms Ng and her team are looking to digitalise more processes, and they have been working closely with CommercePromote to explore how the system can be further enhanced. In addition, to improve the backend support for its RESs, her EA is also exploring how it can tap on the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) on property-related government data which have already been made available by various public agencies under the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map 2025.
About the SMEs Go Digital programme for the real estate agency industry
CEA has partnered with the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore to introduce pre-approved digital solutions for the real estate agency industry as part of the SMEs Go Digital programme.
The programme aims to help small and medium-sized EAs build stronger digital capabilities to raise productivity, with funding support from the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). Eligible EAs may receive up to 70% funding support for qualifying costs.
The pre-approved sector-specific digital solutions pre-approved for the real estate agency industry are in the areas of:
Digital solutions that cut across industries (e.g. in the areas of accounting management, customer relationship management, and human resource management) are available for adoption by EAs with PSG funding support.
- Document management
- Document management and transaction records submission.
Do visit the CEA website for more details on the SMEs Go Digital programme for the real estate agency industry. The programme is an initiative under the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map 2025, which envisions a professional, productive and resilient real estate agency industry.
You can also learn more about the other available digital enablers to support EAs in their transformation journey via this link.
Information accurate as at 27 October 2022