Brokerage firms and franchises across America are already in the data management business. There are 85,000ish firms in America and each of them struggle to manage their information in one fashion or another. Upstream may be most simply understood as a solution that harmonizes data management into a single solution that is 100% controlled inside the firm, like Google Drive. Given the fiduciary responsibility of firms to comply with real estate law and MLS business rules, Upstream takes special care to provide a platform that delivers assurances that a firms practices are supported. I was invited to participate in their first CIO/CTO webinar this morning and I am so impressed by the pace of development.
In Upstream, broker control over information is defined in two ways – Access and Entitlement. Upstream provides the firm with the ability to issue a Token that authorizes access to data. Entitlement is the ability to authorize who has privileges to manage the data. For example, some firms give control to the agent, others give control to some agents and not others, some entitle administrators, and others entitle managers. Upstream supports any entitlement process that a firm defines. Moreover, Upstream provides a firm with a switch to issue or rescind data access in real time.
Custom Data Management Support
In our industry, there is a combination of standard structured data formats that live alongside the custom needs of a firm. Upstream supports both. Data management is shaped by the requirements of the sum of applications that the data is distributed to. For example, data distribution to an MLS has a set of requirements, whereby distribution to a CRM application, Accounting software, or Transaction Management solution has different needs. Because of the variability of needs of each software solution today, firms find themselves hand entering inforamtion again and again and again. Moreover, they are also updating the information over and over, and are removing information over and over. This is a tremendous headache for firms to harmonize their data across so many applications. Upstream fixes it all, from a single location. Moreover, it provides your software partners with an easy integration source that works not only for your firm, but other firms that are using that software vendor.
Real estate firms are managing their software vendors in a “many broker” to “many vendor” method today. In reality, if there is an issue with your vendor, the likelihood is very high that dozens or hundreds of other firms are having the same issue. Upstream will provide the support to your vendors for the applications and act as your database expert to fix problems. Vendors are very excited too. More than 50 companies are already in pilot integration with Upstream. They can rely on one data source rather than hundreds. This delivers a major reduction in service cost. Upstream is a software development hub for vendors.
Rule Violation Management
Firms need to manage and pay fines for rule violations every day. Upstream provides a rule violation solution across the entire firm. Moreover, Upstream will not only support the rules of an MLS, but also provide a feature that allows firms to intact and manage compliance with their own rules.
Product On Boarding and Termination
Firms are constantly in motion, launching new products for their agents, converting to new vendors, adding and removing agents. Today, firms rely on checklists that staff follow for this process. Upstream handles all of this for you. Add a new vendor, provide their token, and the data flows in real time. Remove an agent and everything for that agent is terminated.
Delay is a significant problem in real estate today. Information placed in one database takes time to find its way to other applications. I watched today as a listing was inserted into Upstream, There was an instant flyer created in Listing to Leads; and instant single listing website created by Voicepad; instant publication to the broker’s Booj website; instant entry into the Profit Power accounting; and instant postcard and door hanger created in Corefact.
Broker collaboration on a single solution to collect, store, and distribute their information is a simple idea that has been born from real problems that face our industry. The solution spans all software solutions that a firm needs, and becomes a safe repository that keeps information in the hands of the brokerage. It’s a great thing for our industry, and brings light where there was only darkness. Sure, Upstream is in the spring of life. But clearly they are on the right track to evolve as a powerful, broker owned solution for our industry.
If you want information about Upstream, here are the key players that you can reach out to.