Five Questions For...
Tom Wallace, CEO and Founder of Re-Leased
This quarter we check in with Tom Wallace, CEO and founder of Re-Leased, an innovative property management software platform purpose-built for commercial real estate. Re-Leased is one of our current occupiers at Thavies Inn House, and has recently taken on an additional 1,000 sq ft in line with its stated growth ambitions.
1. Can owners of property portfolios ever have enough data to work with?
Yes, of course they can. However, if they've got mountains of unstructured data, it's just going to be overwhelming and effectively useless.
On the other hand, if you've got well-organised data and systems to analyse and track that, then it's hard to have too many really good data points coming in and feeding that. But the data has to be able to be served to the users in a way that they can understand it easily, see the insights and make decisions off it.
At the same time, we also need to think about what’s the job that we're doing here. You don't need to overengineer and overanalyse something that might be relatively simple. A lot of things in property are relatively simple. I would really look at what job we need to do and how much data we need for that job, rather than overanalysing everything simply because the data is available.
2. How is artificial intelligence impacting property platforms such as Re-Leased?
The impact and the opportunity of it are massive. It's the biggest shift that we believe we've seen since the cloud computing revolution, and platforms like Re-Leased which sits in the centre of your accounting, property and business apps and collects the data across all of them, are uniquely positioned to capitalise on this change.
Firstly, AI can do a lot of automation across those apps. If you were manually entering invoices, or inputting letters and numbers, it can automate those tasks for you. AI can also tell you what to do next. If you come into the office and think “What do I need to do?”, it can automatically look at the key tasks, bring those to the user and, over time, learn those preferences and start to do those jobs as well. If you're spending a lot of time communicating with tenants on maintenance and chasing arrears, expect those manual and repetitive jobs to be taken away by AI in the coming years.
Another area is serving insights and answering questions. At the moment, if you want to know what's happening in your market or in your own property, you have to pull reports or look at our insights to understand that. Through AI, platforms like Re-Leased will be able to recognise natural language questions and run scenarios off that. So, if you would simply speak or type, “Tell me what would happen if interest rates were to increase by 2% over the next two years. How would that impact my portfolio?”, we'd like to be able to give you those answers directly.
3. There seems to be an increasing number of organisations pushing back against home working. Are you seeing that?
Absolutely. I think the experiment that was started by COVID is still underway, but more of the results and data are coming in and, for me, the answer is that remote working is great for some and terrible for others.
It depends on the work and the person and on the execution of the remote strategy. I don't think we've found a new normal yet, I think it will change but it's going to be highly dependent on the company and the work that you do and the people that you've got employed in your business as to whether it's a good strategy or a bad strategy.
4. What is one building that inspires you and why?
I still love the Gherkin in London because I think it looks great. Even though it's less than 20 years old, I believe a lot of the tech is outdated, particularly from the carbon net zero targets, which just shows how fast technology and building design have come in such a short space of time.
5. Where is your favourite place in London and why?
I would say any cosy pub with friends on a Friday night and family on a Sunday. I love the feeling that the pub is the neighbourhood’s communal living room. It's got a vibe and feeling that is very unique to London that I haven't found anywhere else.