The Leader Magazine

SEP 2017

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ThE lEadER SEPTEMBER 2017 33 transformation journey with new regulatory requirements set in place following the global fi nancial crisis. While cost-effi ciency has always been a focus, these new pressures made the CRE effi ciency mandate even stronger. Our CRE global leadership team oversees 25 million square feet (2.3 million sq. m.) in facilities for 80,000 employees and operations in 35 countries. Our mission was clear: streamline operations and leverage data to reduce costs and better serve our customers. The question was, how? In the absence of a central technology platform, the CRE team's offi ces around the world had each found its own software applications for lease management, space planning and other functions. In addition, our outsourced CRE service provider had its own systems, where much of our CRE data was housed. To further complicate matters, localized vendors also housed data. These diverse applications did not "talk" to each other, making it diffi cult to determine the total cost of real estate ownership or make informed global portfolio decisions. A lack of data governance and access to timely, accurate data meant that the CRE team lacked a real-time holistic view of the global portfolio. In short, the global CRE function was more like a federation of regional teams. With a central technology platform to integrate geographically dispersed CRE functions and data, we could create a truly global CRE operation. With better access to portfolio data, the thinking went, we could do our jobs better and more effi ciently. We could play a stronger hand in lease negotiations, identify under- or over-utilized facilities, and uncover more cost-savings opportunities. Better access to better data also could open the door to CRE innovation that would help attract and retain employees, engage customers, and become more nimble in responding to competitive threats. Creating a technology vision To realize our vision, we knew we needed to extend our in-house expertise with a technology partner with a track record of tackling complex CRE environments. Collaborating with JLL, we created a detailed vision around our core strategy of implementing a centralized global technology platform. The vision was based on 12 business objectives encompassing data governance and integrity, reporting and transparency, providing accurate facilities data to business units, strategic space management, and more. Embedded in the vision was the need to maximize the return on investment (ROI) from creating a central CRE data warehouse and integrating CRE workfl ows with enterprise-wide technology systems. A fully integrated workplace management system (IWMS, a complex platform comprising a variety of workplace and CRE applications) was the costliest solution available, but also the most effective one for addressing all the business objectives. And, it would ultimately provide better ROI than a-la-carte solutions. The team fi rst fi lled in technology gaps, consolidated and enhanced the tools already in place, and expanded user access to vendor systems. For instance, we were able to trim the more than 65 CRE technologies previously in use down to a mere 15. We selected the Manhattan IWMS (now part of

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