The Leader Magazine

MAR 2017

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MARCH 2017 13 transformation of data access and use by Maureen Ehrenberg F rom the personal to the professional, the devices and technology on which we de- pend have become a standard part of daily life. Digital technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, big data, mobile working and other advances have radically altered how, when and where we work. Access to data and predic- tive analytics are changing the way we make business decisions. New devices and new tech- nology quickly capture reliable and standardized data, providing the opportunity for real-time, data-driven decision making. As illustrated in the 2016 IBM Global C-Suite Study, C-suite executives have heightened their awareness of the potentially enormous impact of the digital wave on business globally and are driving the response to market pressures, disruptive technologies and new competitors. In corporate real estate (CRE), new ways of working – propelled by innovative business models via new IoT technologies and smart-buildings solutions – are requiring the use of fl exible space, on-demand space offerings and other alternatives to support agility like never before. Working FAS (fast) and smarter As business automation comes to CRE and facility management, it cre- ates new opportunities – and risks – for CRE teams. Most CRE teams began their automation journeys some years ago, but today offers new reasons to up their game and fully embrace digitization. Most urgently, the new FASB/IASB lease-accounting rules create a press- ing need to fully analyze and understand fi nancial structures across the CRE portfolio. Companies that lease property or equipment will be required to recognize leases with terms in excess of 12 months as assets and liabilities on their balance sheets, creating C-suite concerns about infl ated balance sheets. For most companies, compliance with the new standards will require technology-enabled solutions; CRE cannot afford to lag behind other corpo- rate functions. It will need to collaborate with IT and corporate accounting to re-engineer lease accounting and reporting processes. Many organizations adopt sophisticated enterprise technology that can be integrated with CRE systems and the general ledger. Virtual robots and robotic process automation are also changing lease-administration and corporate-fi nance processes, introducing rules-based and repeatable tasks such as lease auditing and abstracting. Just as many CRE teams might see virtual robots affect their corporate procure-to-pay, order-to-cash and record-to-report processes; CRE busi- ness process outsourcing (BPO) is becoming commonplace. To realize the potential, CRE teams are collaborating with IT and corporate accounting to re-engineer their lease accounting and reporting processes, becoming substantive contributors to the changing landscape in corporate planning and operations. Technology, space utilization and the impact of the new lease accounting rules With potentially signifi cant lease liabilities at stake, C-suite pressure is mounting for more accurate space-utilization and occupancy planning to manage and potentially reduce or alter the cor- porate footprint. Digital technologies can help highlight the locations most challenged by the new regulations and lead CRE executives to recommenda- tions that will offer the most signifi cant fi nancial impact. Many technology tools are available to help expedite tasks, including computer-aided facility management (CAFM) and integrated workplace management (IWMS) platforms. Space-measurement and audit tools, along with business-intelligence tools, can help improve space effi ciency and highlight where lease-vs.-own or other fi nancial decisions are needed. Not surprisingly, the technologies you adopt for space-utilization and occupancy-planning purposes might also inform more effective workplace strategies for both on-site and off-site workers. Workplace data can reveal many clues about which parts of an offi ce are most or least occupied, for instance, or whether you need more formal or informal meeting spaces, enabling you to create a more productive, agile and, possibly, virtual workplace. CRE technologies can also help you create engaging workplace experi- ences that support talent recruitment and retention – another C-suite hot button. For example, some enterprising CRE teams now provide mobile apps that interact with smart building systems, enabling workers to request a workspace or conference room, obtain audiovisual equipment, and secure other services. In a state-of-the-art smart building, workers can use apps to control lighting and room temperature. Eventually, a workspace app or surrounding technology will use voice recognition for the ultimate in convenience. Advanced development of voice controls, which already are appearing in facilities, is occurring quickly. Eventually, voice controls will replace the apps that are beginning to over- whelm users. Two steps forward, one step back Whether you consider a major enterprise technology platform or one of many specialized applications emerging each day, you might be aware of the risks. Invest in the wrong system and you could encounter implementation

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