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Legacy MLS

by Greg Robertson on April 5th, 2017

I missed Jim Harrison’s post a couple weeks ago, but lots of good stuff here so I thought it was worth commenting on.

CEO’s Message: Launching the MLS of the Future Starts with Envisioning a New Legacy

“The MLS sector is currently having such an experience. In order to succeed the contemporary MLS must provide brokers, agents, and consumers with an MLS experience that is relevant, dependable, and completely compatible with their emerging technical, data, and informational needs. This, in turn, means that those legacy-based features and functionalities that do not meet the test must be either updated and enhanced or terminated.”

Today’s agents and brokers are demanding more, they want better solutions. Part of the sector was control the data but a vast majority just want software that is easy to use and helps them succeed.

Jim continues.

“The solution would be found when we changed the underlying assumptions, legacies, and culture under which we had been operating. It was time for a different approach to the MLSListings experience. The opportunity lies in joining the “app” movement and creating an MLSListings experience that would allow every brokerage and/or subscriber to customize their own “MLS” experience.

“Front end of choice”, “Alternative Front End”, and an “App” based system, the whole industry is buzzing. They all mean basically the same thing, providing developers/brokers an easy way (ideally standards based) to access the MLS database so they can build things with the data. Anyone who attended the Clareity Executive Workshop can attest is was all about “front end of choice”. It’s starting to happen. I believe Jim is using the phrase “App” meaning not just mobile applications but any software application (desktop or otherwise). But some of the same old challenges still exist as we move forward.

1. Support. These new apps need a support system, especially if being supported by the MLS. With W+R Studios’ front end of choice solution, Cloud MLX, a specific design requirement was we wanted agents to start using it without any training.
2. Adoption. Complaining about current MLS software systems is a favorite pastime of agents (and some bloggers). But the fact is they know how to use it. Doing a search on the MLS is, at this point, engrained in to their muscle memory.
3. Integration. I think another weak spot of traditional MLS vendors is integration with other applications. This is a huge opportunity. These new front end of choice solutions need to work with as many other popular apps as possible.

As I’ve written before, we are entering a new cycle in technology with the MLS industry in regard to data. Here’s how I see it…

Pre-digital
-Word of mouth
-Index cards
-Books

Closed Network Systems
-Terminal based systems
-Text based menu driven system
-PCs running terminal emulator software access MLS via modem/frame relay

Distributed Database
-Remember Wyldfyre?
-GUI interface
-Need to install software and sync

Open Network Systems (The Internet)- WHERE WE ARE TODAY (BEEN?)
-Web based MLS systems
-Browser based, nothing to install

Front End of Choice/”App movement” – WHERE WE ARE HEADED (NOW?)
-MLS data available via APIs or RETS
-Roll your own software

Data is becoming front and center. That’s why you see so many vendors rushing to provide solutions.

4 Comments
  1. Thanks Greg for doing what you do. I love your blog as it keeps me updated in the ever changing MLS landscape.

  2. Roland Estrada permalink

    With the exception of Cloud MLX, I wince when MLS providers tell us they have a new solution for us. It’s very often just lipstick on a pig. They love to wallow in complexity which is easier than moving towards simplicity.

    I have to look no further than client portals and IDX as two examples where MLS vendors fail with astonishing consistency. I know some think these are minor issues but they are not. Part of the challenge for agents today is branding.

    And in particular, branding in the way they offer MLS search to their clients. I can count four to five apps on my phone available through our MLS or AOR for mobile MLS access. A few of them can be branded and shared with clients. The problem is that none of these mobile MLS solutions has a modern roundtrip platform.

    By roundtrip I mean both the mobile and desktop platform look and function virtually the same whether you are out in the field or sitting at your computer. Lets say I share a mobile solution with my client. Thats great. But, I can only communicate wth my client within the app. I can’t go back to my computer later and see all the notes and conversations with my client. That’s a oneway ticket not a roundtrip solution.

    The best I’ve seen approaching a solution for the roundtrip communication problem AgentInbox. But AgentInbox is missing the crucial IDX feature. So, back to square one.

    The dream solution would be an IDX, client portal, mobile app combined with modern communication between agent and client. This type of product would help solve the agent MLS branding problem. The IDX portion which could be plugged into the agent’s website, would communicate with the portal which would communicate with the mobile app. Roundtrip.

    Impossible to solve? Well, in today’s climate of splintered solutions, maybe it is.

  3. Roland Estrada permalink

    I am an unabashed Steve Jobs devotee. Sometimes when I am looking for clarity, I will dig in to my saved knowledge of Jobs’ wisdom through his recorded speeches. One of the comments that struck me in this oration is that sometimes companies offer solutions without really looking at the problem. Food for thought.

  4. Roland Estrada permalink

    Okay, one more. 🙂

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