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Author's profile photo Susanna Havranek

SAP Brings Digital Thought Leadership to Stagnant German Real Estate Industry


It has been a busy year for digital real estate transformers at SAP: Briefly after releasing SAP Cloud for Real Estate for the corporate real estate sector, SAP entered a strategic partnership with Germany’s leading real estate association, ZIA (Zentraler Immobilien Ausschuss), to help the industry’s digital transformation. The real estate sector has been traditionally slow at adapting to the technological pace of time. With that in mind, ZIA reached out to SAP for thought leadership and guidance and has not been disappointed since.



Real Opportunities in Real Estate

Potential is big in an industry that knows that there is still a long way to go in both change management and implementation of digital tools. Tech has always had an impact on not only on how we work, but also where we work and where we live. Flexibility is thus a requirement in real estate – a characteristic that is usually not connected to static objects, that were once built to last. And yet – The physical object will last, the same business model won’t.

In last year’s study on digitalization of the real estate industry in Germany, conducted by EY and ZIA, survey participants agreed that a lot of catching up had to be done with all real estate sectors being affected by the digital transformation – from housing, to the digital workspace and to industrial buildings. 90% recognized its relevance with 70% claiming they were still in a transitional phase on their digital roadmap.The discord was also marked by hugely varying goals, inter alia naming reducing costs and optimized processes. Obstacles to overcome included financial investment, user acceptance, missing qualified personnel and a comprehensive digital strategy. On the tech side, poor data quality and outdated, siloed software contributed to a negative outlook.


Digital Thought Leadership with SAP

Executively sponsored by Dr. Tanja Rückert, SAP’s IoT and Digital Supply Chain unit and the Line of Business Real Estate have jointly and prominently positioned the digitization of assets at major industry events, hosted workshops and authored sector-specific writings. After an extremely well received keynote at ZIA’s annual Congress on Innovation back In November 2017, Dr. Carsten Linz, SAP’s Global Head of the Center for Digital Leadership, returned to the table in March 2018 to kick-off joint efforts to ask the right questions on how to gain competitive edge in a digital world.



Passing the Digital Torch

As usual, to transform digitally there is no need to have a digital, but a business strategy in place. Digital transformation does not occur in silos and for sure not solely in your IT department.

Besides the umbrella committee on digitalization headed by SAP and Allianz Real Estate, three working groups were founded focusing on the following topics:

  • Transformation of Business Models
    • With curiosity being among the key factors for business success, the ability to see beyond one’s own horizon is crucial. Worst case one will only end up digitizing the past and if a bad process is in place, you’ll simply end up with a bad digitized process.
  • Digital Mindset and Strategy
    • The digital transformation does not only affect a change in tools but also needs to activate heart and mind. To start thinking like a software and data business, digital employee enablement remains key as people are at the heart of any successful digital transformation project.
  • Smart Data for the Intelligent Enterprise
    • You collected all the data and now what? With big data turning into smart data, data intelligence has to work its magic with the right framework in place. Standards need to be in place and cybersecurity has to considered a core focus and not only context.


ZIA members can join the respective working groups as well as the umbrella committee on digitalization of the real estate industry.


Next Up

Meanwhile SAP has been working on digitizing static objects into flexible assets and exploring business opportunities themselves. If you want to find out more, visit us at



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