Bright Spots: A Note From Tom Phillips


Every day at Bright MLS offices, we are reminded that nothing like what we’re doing at this scale has ever been done before. This reality energizes and challenges us. The unpaved road ahead makes it important for us to keep our subscribers and the public updated on our progress. These updates will take the form of letters from different people within Bright leadership, entitled Bright Spots.

The first of these letters is from Tom Phillips, Bright President and CEO. 

“Tom, what’s it like consolidating major U.S. MLS operations, all of their staff, technology systems and subscribers?”

That’s a question I get almost daily. I have a hard time answering because, while sure that is what we’re doing, it’s only part of it. There is so much more to talk about.

When we set out to create Bright – long before we even called it that – our goal wasn’t exactly consolidation. Consolidation would be a means to get there, but it wasn’t the whole point of what we were doing. Rather, we were more interested in transformation – in creating something entirely new.

Our quest for something new wasn’t just for the sake of newness. Having been in the industry for many years, those of us involved in this effort saw the writing on the wall: a rapidly changing technology landscape, an evolving way of conducting business among our broker and agent subscribers, and new expectations from consumers about how to find information and work with agents.

While these profound changes were happening, we looked around and thought, we need to rethink all of this. The MLS was the foundation of the real estate market for over 100 years. And yet, we had come to a point where we were unable to serve our subscribers and the greater marketplace at large in a way that made sense within the context of modern realities.

If we were going to continue to play an integral role in the buying and selling of real estate, we needed a different approach altogether, not just a consolidated effort. Our mission came into focus: rethink, reshape, re-imagine.

That goal has fueled everything we have done so far.

So when I’m asked this question about how the “consolidation” is going, it’s hard to answer. We don’t see this as simply a consolidation or bringing together of a bunch of different MLSs. This is truly a journey of discovery – which, frankly, is what makes it worth doing.

In the past 12 months, we’ve merged the business and operations of two large MLS companies, renamed, reorganized, and rethought just about everything from org charts and titles to inter-office communications and sign-on experiences.

We named our company and spent many months refining our brand to give us a strong leg to stand on as we move forward. We rethought the voice we use in communications with our subscribers to better reflect the brand we’re building.

Most recently, we announced that effective with our technology consolidation this fall, we will only distribute data compliant with Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Data Dictionary standards. This is still uncommon for MLSs, and something that we believe will further streamline accessibility for brokers, agents and ultimately consumers.

These are just a few of the many things we’ve been busy doing. We’re proud of how far we’ve come, and our team is energized by the road ahead.

Of course, we have more work to do, which is why we’ll be giving subscribers and the public regular check-ins on progress and new initiatives. So, stay tuned and let us know how we’re doing.

-Tom Phillips

President and CEO

Bright MLS

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