Rightmove’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, Tarah Lourens has dropped some big hints as to the direction in which her company may be about to turn. In an interview with Computer Weekly Lourens, who took up her role at the British portal company in 2019, told the British tech magazine that she’d like Rightmove to be known “not only as ‘the place I found my property’, but also ‘the place that helped me move in’”.
In revealing that Rightmove has a roadmap which she described as “transformational”, Lourens gave some insight into a company that has a reputation among the UK agent fraternity as being reactionary in its approach to technology and innovation. One point, in particular, that is sure to get agents’ attention was Lourens’ assertion that within 2-3 years the company would like to digitalise communication within the industry making paper-based and phone communication obsolete.
Apart from revealing plans for Rightmove’s future, the interview gave some details of how the company has dealt with the adverse situation faced over the last year or so. Rightmove was one of a number of portals around the world initially criticised for its tone-deaf initial reaction to agent concerns at the start of the pandemic.
It seems that it wasn’t just the sales and PR departments under pressure in those days with Lourens revealing that the tech department also had to shelve long-term plans in order to pivot to delivering “a suite of features to help our customers given the circumstances of the lockdown” such as a video viewing platform, a feat which was delivered in 6 weeks and which Lourens described as “incredible”.
With the technical challenges of the pandemic largely overcome and new initiatives to care for Rightmove staff in place, it now seems that Rightmove’s tech team can get on with the job of changing the company and building “products in new areas that we’re keen to explore and know we can make a difference in”. The company recently announced a hiring drive which is set to add 45 new employees to the tech department to help it transform the business.