Institutional real estate investors in Europe agree that optimisation of standard processes is a priority but only a small number of companies have implemented a substantial part of their digitisation strategy.

According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Union Investment, digitisation is progressing at different rates among institutional real estate investors in Europe, with the sector currently divided into two camps.

The survey which polled 150 property investors in Germany, France and the UK, showed that 63% of companies have already made significant advances to incorporate digitisation into their business strategies, whereas the 36% are still working on initial concepts.

The report said only around a fifth of companies have implemented a substantial part of their digitisation strategy.

“Most of the respondents (41%) see themselves at an intermediate stage – initial concepts and prototypes have been implemented, but there is still a long way to go to meet all the requirements of their wider strategy,” Union Investment said.

Another fifth of companies have not yet started to digitise their business processes, but have begun planning work on initial concepts and prototypes, the report showed.

For 16% of respondents, digitisation doesn’t count as a strategic issue.

Optimisation of standard processes and interfaces tops (84%) the list of priorities in the digital strategies of European real estate investors. Improving IT security and data protection is also considered as important by 82%.

In third place is enhancing customer communications, an aspect that is strongly geared towards sales.

Thomas Müller, head of digital transformation at Union Investment Real Estate, said: “The fact that optimisation of standard processes is the number one requirement for real estate companies should encourage proptechs to develop customised, easily scalable solutions in this area.

“Focusing on standard processes and seeking to develop innovative new solutions are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are both likely to indicate a clear practical focus.”