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How PropertyGuru is approaching technology integration

Property tech firm PropertyGuru has invested in capabilities such as DevOps and authentication that can be applied across different platforms that it has acquired over time

Like any company that has made acquisitions to fill a product gap, deliver new services or enter new markets, PropertyGuru has had to integrate multiple technology platforms from the companies it acquired over time.

Since 2018, the Singapore-based property technology company has been expanding its footprint in Southeast Asia by acquiring companies such as BatDongSan, Vietnam’s largest property website; REA Group’s Malaysia and Thailand units; and MyProperty Data, a Malaysian provider of property data analytics and insights.

Through its acquisition of MyProperty Data, PropertyGuru is also offering a cloud-based market intelligence platform for enterprise customers, banks, property valuers and developers in Malaysia.

In 2020, it also launched the PropertyGuru Finance mortgage marketplace in Singapore which has facilitated more than S$1bn worth of mortgage loans so far.

Manav Kamboj, chief technology officer of PropertyGuru Group, said the company, which recently made its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2022, has a history of making its acquisitions successful through strong integration capabilities.

“You won’t know if an acquisition is successful at the time of acquisition,” he said. “It’s only after the integration is completed that you can see whether it was a successful acquisition or not.”

One of PropertyGuru’s technology integration strategies, said Kamboj, is to invest in capabilities that can be applied across different platforms and assets it has built or acquired.

As an example, the company has built authentication capabilities that enable users who use any of PropertyGuru’s platforms to have a consistent authentication experience and are able to log on to its platforms seamlessly.

Another area is DevOps and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), which PropertyGuru has been embracing for years now. Kamboj said the company has learned what works over time, and has been applying DevOps best practices across its infrastructure to ensure operational efficiency.

It also helped that PropertyGuru did not have to deal with tightly coupled systems. Kamboj said the acquired platforms are typically well-designed, modern platforms with well-defined application programming interfaces (APIs) that facilitate communications between systems.

“Therefore, we can derive value from these acquisitions without doing very deep tech integrations,” Kamboj said. “High cohesion and loose coupling is what we aim to do when we integrate these platforms.”

In software development, high cohesion puts related code together and makes software modules easier to maintain, while loose coupling refers to the development of independent modules to prevent changes in one module from breaking another.

When it comes to DevOps culture, which can differ across organisations, Kamboj said it was fortunate that the acquired companies have, at least in principle, a “very strong alignment on not just DevOps, but the broader engineering culture as well”.

Still, Manoj noted that the maturity of the acquired systems may vary, adding that the company will continue to ensure the right level of integration, not just between systems, but also between teams to drive shared understanding of DevOps and engineering processes.

In its first earnings announcement following its public listing, PropertyGuru said its total revenues grew by 22.7% to reach S$100.7m during its 2021 fiscal year, reflecting the rising confidence in Southeast Asia’s property market.

As of 31 December 2021, PropertyGuru’s platform connected over 38 million property seekers monthly to over 57,000 property agents in its digital marketplaces of more than 3.3 million listings, with organic traffic representing 82% of its overall web traffic.

Amid the buoyant market, the company hopes to do more with the proceeds from its initial public offering, such as further digitising the mortgage application process and innovating on developer and property agent solutions.

Kamboj said PropertyGuru is also looking to build “developer operating systems” which will drive process automation in property development, sales and management, as well as home services such as contractor and moving services.

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