CRM Software for Estate Agents

From Mission Impossible to This Is How We Do It.

Initial Situation:

The Immowelt software estatePro is currently one of the three relevant providers of CRM solutions for marketing real estate in Germany.

The only problem: The Pro version of it is not yet offered as a cloud solution, but only as an on-premise version. Therefore, it is difficult to use it for mobile work, which is becoming increasingly important. Plus it's 25+ years old and starts looking and feeling like it a little bit. (Sorry) 
😉 

But! That is to be changed.
The initial goal was to lift this highly complex software into the cloud and give it a more modern and appealing look in order to remain competitive and win new clients.
 
This literally screams for some research. So here comes the story.

The Research Plan:

First - For historical reasons the Immowelt Software Division never had the benefit of user research based development. So although there is a lot of knowledge within the teams with close Kundenkontakt, it was clear, I had to do some Research ground work. As Real estate agents are really difficult and expensive to recruit, I initiated and executed the establishment of a Tester Pool, that could be used for interviews, studies and test on a regular basis. With the help of my marketing colleagues it finally became the InnovationLab. (20 people)

(Abb. Zeitplan / Abb. Logo) 

Foundational Research: 
In order to finding our path, helping the team generate initial understanding and establish priorities, we needed to find out:

• Who (which user groups) are using the existing software?
• Why, what for and how are they using it?
• What is their context of usage?
• Which functions and features are essential to them? / Which are dispensable?
• What problems and difficulties do they encounter in their work with the software?

Methods:
• In Depth Interviews (IDIs) with 10 users
• Interviews with business stakeholders (Software Trainers, Sales, POs)
• (I would have loved to conduct Contextual Inquiries, but for pandemic reasons, it wasn't possible 🙁)

First Takeaways: 
📌 We identified 4 groups of users:
• Assistances (Backoffice)
• Real estate agents/Field staff 
• Decisive positions (such as managing directors, sales manager, etc.) and
• IT personell (configuring and maintaining the software)
📌 A well-functioning mobile version (web app) is already long overdue.

Identifying Use Cases (which ones?) 

Changing approach from Domain driven / topical 1: 1 Übertragung von alt nach neu - hin zu use case bezogenen Ansatz, der relevante Funktionen für die mobile Arbeit zuerst berücksichtig und nach und nach mehr Funktionen integriert. 

Problems occured /Verzögerungen / clients kündigten / weil too few manpower, zu langsamer Fortschritt