The key to the real estate industry's IT system “replumbing” – building from the ground up

The real estate industry is currently undergoing a period of transformation. Increased demands for data collection, such as energy data, are mounting pressure.

Sandra Siljestedt


Sandra Siljestedt

Marketing Manager at Frends Sweden

The real estate industry is currently undergoing a period of transformation. Increased demands for data collection, such as energy data, are mounting pressure. To succeed, manual processes must be replaced with automated ones. At the same time, a survey by GlobalConnect indicates slow progress in the digitalization of the industry in Sweden.

Tomas Beijar, Technical Sales Manager at Frends, explains that the primary focus lies in gaining control over data.

“Data is the new oil. The digitization process revolves around improving data management to create an efficient organization. The reality for many companies in the real estate industry is that their IT systems have a sleek front end but a messy back end,” says Tomas.

With this, he means that while the services appear in place and customers perceive them as orderly, behind the scenes, there are quickly assembled makeshift solutions – so-called “spaghetti systems”. The IT systems are interconnected, but the integrations are a tangled mess.

“Many have heard of ‘black boxes and lock-in effects’ – one cannot escape the tangled IT situation with all systems interconnected in one way or another. This leads to soaring maintenance costs and significant challenges in scaling up economically,” explains Tomas.

These convoluted systems also contribute to cumbersome infrastructure and are in poor condition when modern tools like AI and machine learning are applied.

A platform simplifying complexity

With an integration platform like Frends iPaaS, these issues can be resolved for companies in the real estate industry. This allows for eliminating interdependencies between different systems, creating a platform at the core of the infrastructure, where applications can be easily added and removed.

Jan Heggen, Chief Digital Officer at Fastighetsägarna Service, recently underwent a significant digitalization journey with the assistance of Frends.

“We had the world's largest black box in a real estate system, where we repeatedly said yes to customers requesting specific solutions and implemented them based on the locked architecture. This resulted in high costs and risks during upgrades. Even customers were affected by the long lead time from the data source to the customer interface. It was a significant problem,” Jan shares.

When the provider of the real estate system announced they would discontinue their product due to losing control over it, it became a strong incentive for Fastighetsägarna Service to seek something better. The solution was Frends iPaaS – a product described by Jan as "scalable, manageable, and cost-effective."

"Need to lay the foundation first"

Replacing an entire IT infrastructure for a real estate company is challenging, and Tomas at Frends compares it to conducting replumbing in a property. According to him, it's essential to start at the right end.

“The key is to build from the ground up. Nowadays, it's popular to start from the top down, but here, you need to have the foundation ready first. Like in the real estate industry, we start by laying the foundation before stacking the floors on top of each other and eventually building a cool penthouse on the top floor. You can't get there without starting with a stable base,” Jan explains.

“Additionally, we operate 24/7 and have both financial and technical management. If there's a water leak in a property, a technician must respond. So, we couldn't completely shut down the old systems and had to build an interim solution to keep operations running throughout the entire project,” Jan adds.

Finally, by late 2022, Fastighetsägarna Service, together with Frends, launched parts of its brand-new IT architecture based on a clear cloud strategy. Now, they could finally look ahead and initiate projects related to energy data collection, among others. With the new platform, they can easily monitor integrations, integrate systems, reduce maintenance costs, and establish a stable, modern foundation for future endeavors.

“The best decision we made was to have Frends involved throughout this journey – even in system procurement. We needed someone to hold our hand and see what possibilities lay ahead. Throughout the project, they supported us, helped us with difficult decisions, and made our journey possible,” Jan concludes.

Follow link to watch recording in Swedish


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