Cross-Platform Interoperability Workgroup
The RESO Cross-Platform Interoperability Workgroup’s purpose is to identify, through relevant business challenges and needs, solutions that will bring together disparate systems to better serve the real estate industry, especially the practitioners and brokerages. The Interoperability Workgroup will study submitted business cases, partner with affected stakeholders and coordinate solutions that will produce ease and efficiency of business through the creation, maintenance and evolution of RESO Interoperability standards for the community.
The Transaction Management Challenge
TMS adoption rates are low among real estate agents. Numerous and disparate TMS systems fragment the market and discourage consistent and broad use. Agents from one brokerage are often using a different TM platform than the Agent representing the other side of the transaction. Documents are very often emailed from one agent to another and then uploaded into that Agent’s TMS. This limits the speed and efficiency of the real estate transaction and poses a significant security risk when documents frequently contain client financial information.
While the transaction is comprised of multiple data components, this document will focus specifically on document management. In parallel, transaction record data may be added as a new resource to the RESO Data Dictionary and follow existing patterns therein. However, unlike photos, floorplans and other visual representations accounted for in the Media resource, transaction documents often include metadata and objects representing electronic signatures. This additional data is not supported by the Media resource and additionally requires a high level of security. A more specialized approach is required.
The existing topography of TMS options and the proprietary nature of those systems has led to several adoption, usability and security challenges:
● There are too many steps in the work flow as a result of exporting / emailing documents and then having to import documents into other TM systems.
● The sending of documents by email combined with aggressive social engineering attacks expose a significant security risk.
● Consumers want to use the system of their agent (who can help them with it if needed) and not be expected to use more than one system during a transaction. Agents don’t want to have to teach their client to use a TMS system from another agent with which they are unfamiliar.
● Initial and signature blocks are not maintained between systems when emailing documents out, then importing into another system.
Before the digital age, there was an implied belief in personal privacy in the US. As technology has evolved, it has become easier to collect and mine user data. Previously private information is now available to more third-parties than ever before, often without the explicit knowledge or permission of the consumer.
The standardized and secure exchange of transaction data must consider these key points:
- Consumers have a growing expectation of privacy even when sharing information online.
- Thieves and scammers are aggressively targeting the real estate transaction and real estate clients (wire fraud, social engineering).
- State and national regulation is significantly increasing.
- Franchise and broker security demands are greater than what most current implementations are capable of.
- Public opinion of the real estate industry may be directly affected by any apparent lack of security.
The real estate industry needs a standard for the discovery and description of transaction documents. Further, a standard describing the data of the transaction that could be requested and exchanged between disparate systems should be added to the RESO data dictionary. The standard should, at minimum, also support these requirements:
● Easily share documents across TMS platforms.
● Easily add additional people to a transaction from the MLS roster.
● Retain the participants in the transaction, their roles and permissions and other document metadata when documents are shared between platforms.
A Proposed Solution
Ideally the user will have the ability to view in one location, a combined list of documents related to a transaction, no matter which platform originated the document or which other system may have been used to sign the document. This would require each TMS platform to request the list of relevant documents from another TMS platform and display information and links to those documents as part of the complete transaction document set.
It is important to emphasize that this document is not advocating for a replication or duplication of transaction documents across platforms but to share the information, or metadata, describing the documents across platforms. Document replication between TMS platforms may be a viable option that the RESO community investigates.
By creating a standardized JSON payload that describes the documents and using standard web API practices, a Transaction Simple Syndication (TSS) process can be created and adopted by multiple vendors that imposes a smaller amount of effort on the vendors while still providing a large value to the customers and users.
Cross-Platform Interoperability Workgroup Chair – Chris Haran, Chief Technology Officer, MRED
As Chief Technology Officer for MRED, Chris Haran is responsible for driving the strategic vision of a leading MLS organization through technology, and bringing together people, ideas and resources to be innovators.
Prior to taking on the CTO role, Haran worked his way up through various levels of the marketing and operations departments on the real estate brokerage side of the industry. In supporting agents in their quest to adopt new technologies, Haran learned how to break down disruptive concepts into why they mattered to future business and helped to overcome the fear of the new.
In his current role, Haran will use customer demand discovered through focus groups and industry insight to deliver the products and services and develop the strategy to keep MRED at the forefront, including the evolution of the top-rated MLS system, Connect MLS. In addition, MRED will be stepping up their Research and Development efforts, looking into applications for blockchain, voice recognition, artificial intelligence and much more.
Haran earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2005. His most watched shows include Cars, Cars 3, Dinosaur Train and Little Einsteins. Yes, he and his wife have a toddler.
DLU October 22nd, 2018