In our latest ‘Leaders in Property and Technology’ blog, we spoke with Stefan Rath, Team Lead Real Estate and Investment Management Applications at IntReal Solutions GmbH, the first Service KVG that focuses exclusively on the issuance and administration of property funds for third parties.
PRODA: Hi Stefan, could you tell us a bit more about what your role as ‘Team Lead Real Estate and Investment Management Applications at IntReal Solutions GmbH’ entails?
The role encompasses three key responsibilities. Firstly, it involves the management of HIH Group’s asset and fund management applications, which are used by approximately 1,000 users through 10 main applications. Our team of 14 individuals is responsible for ensuring the seamless operation of these solutions, both on-premise and cloud-based.
Secondly, my role includes the integration of these applications to ensure smooth workflow of data through our ecosystem.
Lastly, as part of the digitalization task force within the HIH Group, the role also involves driving digital transformation initiatives throughout the organisation. Rather than creating a separate Chief Data Officer (CDO) position, we have decided to take a cross-functional approach to digitalization, leveraging the expertise of all lines of business.
PRODA: With €62.1 billion of assets under management, 2,459 properties and 297 funds across eight real estate asset classes, how does data play into decision-making and risk management at IntReal?
As an alternative investment fund manager, Intreal’s business as a subsidiary of the HIH Group is heavily dependent on data management. Our procedures include collecting, analysing, and enriching data, which is then delivered to clients in the form of raw data or comprehensive reports.
The importance of data-related processes within the company highlights the need for a deep understanding of the relevant data points within our software landscape and the ability to interpret them effectively. Furthermore, incorporating external sources for risk analysis and assessment is a critical component in obtaining a 360 degree view of our investments.
PRODA: What trends are going to impact the German real estate market over the first half of this year?
Interest rates and inflation will significantly impact the real estate market in Germany. We are already witnessing challenges in development projects due to rising construction material costs and difficulties in achieving target pricing.
The growing trend of remote work is also affecting the demand for office buildings, leading to a reduction in demand for standardised office spaces such as call centres and accounting facilities. On the other hand, there is an increased demand for higher-quality office units that can cater to the needs of the ‘new work’ environment, such as flexible rooms for hybrid work.
ESG will continue to play a substantial role in the fit out of the properties and readiness of the software landscape to cover all requirements. Older assets will see increased costs for sustainability endeavours.
PRODA: How do you think real estate investors and asset managers should respond to market volatility? How can technology play a part in navigating turbulence?
Accurate data collection for ESG purposes will be crucial in ensuring the assets are prepared for the future. Integrating proptech solutions into the existing technology infrastructure presents a challenge, but can be done by facilitating smart tools. Additionally, proactively identifying and addressing any financial struggles faced by tenants in the current market climate will be a key priority. With decreased transaction volumes, the transaction and analysis teams have the opportunity to optimise and automate their processes by utilising available data and integrating new sources. This slower phase presents an ideal time to make these improvements.
Many thanks to Stefan for taking the time to speak with us. We will be back soon with another post as we continue to speak to leaders across the industry.
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