The Leader Magazine

MAR 2017

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14 MARCH 2017 F E A T U R E A R T I C L E that is far more diffi cult or expensive than anticipated, vendors that are acquired or out of business, or outcomes that fall short of what were originally sold. Or, equally bad, you could see end-users reject the technology. Many CRE teams in larger organizations began automating some functions over the past decade, whether in the form of a CAFM platform, a computerized maintenance and management system (CMMS) or the more comprehensive IWMS. Admittedly, results have been mixed and many executives feel "burned." Too often, technology promises great advantages and fails to deliver. Underwhelming performance results from a host of reasons, whether a lack of consistent high-quality data and strong data governance, inadequate training resources, incomplete system integration and implementation, or the addition of application modules that confl ict with already-effective business processes. These issues, while frustrating, are not unconquerable. Major challenges almost always accompany major technology and business-process changes. Consider online retailing, for example. The concept seems simple: buy and sell products online. Yet, years of experimentation were required to create the kinds of online shopping and delivery experiences that consumers take for granted today. It's important to distinguish between a negative experience with a specifi c technology and a negative experience with "going digital" in general. The future of CRE will include myriad digital systems for many functions. The question isn't "if" a department should adopt more sophisticated CRE technology – it's a question of when, what and how. The road to more automated CRE Just as many leading organizations are investing in their own digital transformations, the CRE function has opportunities to adopt new automation tools – and the data-driven insights they power – across a spectrum of activities. CRE teams that embrace the use of automation reap the rewards of greater portfo- lio and building effi ciency, improved energy usage, better regulatory compliance, a workforce delighted with its workplace, and a more visible contribution to the enterprise. It is now possible to automate a large portion of CRE facility-management processes, freeing up costs, time, resources and energy to create new workplace services for employees. New technologies are emerging every day for every aspect of CRE, from portfolio management and reporting, to facility manage- ment and workplace provisioning for today's digital workforce that may or may not actually be on the corporate premises. The journey toward an automated CRE/FM function includes implementing data and insights tools, using mobile apps and smart-building technology, adopting technology platforms focused on the em- ployee experience, and driving productivity and agility while meeting worker and business preferences. Many CRE business processes can be automated, from lease administration, move-ins, service requests and maintenance, to energy management or workspace customization. The digital journey also encompasses collecting data on activities and business and systems perfor- mance, and analyzing it to improve decision-making, portfolio management, capital-planning and the workplace. New automation and data and insights platforms are getting much attention from the C-suite, fostering greater partnership with CRE, often on a global basis. A shift in perspective, in three parts Automation is a shift in perspective, not just a technology implementation. When an organization embraces digitization, it commits to changing its business plan, making data-driven decisions, fi nding effi ciencies, and transforming the workplace through new systems. The process may seem complex at fi rst; but, like most major shifts, it's easier to understand when broken down into its parts. Generally speaking, today's tools fall into three categories: technology to man- age the portfolio and report metrics, facilities technology for the new physical and virtual workplace, and technology for delivering a high-quality user experience. Across all three categories are the data that your tools and building systems generate, and the extent to which you aggregate data, apply consistent data governance principles, and transform the data into actionable insights or real-time responses. To start, review the major categories of activity within the CRE function and then determine what technologies that you already use are most effective. Then, determine where gaps could be fi lled. Key action steps include: • Assess your team's current capabilities and identify skills you will need in order to bring new tools, such as digital facility management or an IWMS, into the organization. • Ensure that your CRE team has employees (or access to employees) who are technologically savvy "Today's CRE involves thinking about what is next, where this 'technology tsunami' is taking our profession, and whether your team is positioned to continue to evolve and leverage its platforms or investments "

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