The Leader Magazine

DEC 2017

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th E l E a DER DECEMBER 2017 53 F rom a technology perspective, corporate real estate (CRE) organizations' requirements are fairly common regardless of portfolio size, asset types, and geographies. CRE technology should consist of: • an enterprise-scale solution that supports the entire real estate and facilities life cycle, housing all CRE data for cost- and performance-reporting transparency; • a single interface point to align CRE data with corporate business systems, thus supporting cost allocations, vendor-payment processes and financial compliance; • a workflow engine to centralize all real estate and facilities requests, documents, and approvals; • a tool to improve coordination, status reporting, and productivity of service delivery, regardless of the number of service providers or whether a service is insourced or outsourced; • a data-quality-management process to improve the accuracy, consistency and timeliness of reporting with advanced analytics for real-time decision support; and • a strategic-planning capability with CRE financial modeling and savings tracking. i WM s and point solutions Integrated workplace-management systems (IWMS) were designed to satisfy many of these requirements. They contain multiple modules, some spanning the entire real estate and facilities life cycle and aligning to service-line delivery, such as lease and asset administration, transaction management and brokerage services, facilities operations and maintenance, space optimization, construction project management, energy management, environmental health and safety, and more. Yet, only one-third of CRE organizations have selected an IWMS solution and, of those who have implemented IWMS, only one-fifth use all the available functionality. The reality is that most companies with an IWMS are only partially leveraging an expensive technology and have not realized an adequate return on investment. In addition, many IWMS implementations have significant delivery issues, a problem that is preventable and not inherent to IWMS. The technology is mature and performs, and there are large user communities of experienced professionals who deliver and support commercial solutions. On the other end of the spectrum are real estate point solutions (sometimes called "best of breed"), defined as technologies designed to support only one service line within CRE, such as lease administration, or project or facilities management. Point solutions provide none of the integrated solution functionality of IWMS. Some CRE organizations and service providers have become quite experienced with business intelligence (BI) solutions to aggregate data across many point solutions and computer spreadsheets for centralized reporting, yet the underlying technology promise of IWMS remains a consistent issue. CRE has evolved to where BI dashboards sitting on top of point solutions might not be adequate to support a centralized CRE organizational model, cost-reduction initiatives, and an improved workplace experience. It's also important to note that companies operating only one or two modules within their IWMS have effectively implemented an expensive point solution. The fact is, an organization underutilizing its IWMS or deploying multiple point solutions is almost certainly not meeting its data- management (data completeness, accuracy and timeliness), workflow- management and decision-support requirements. Unlocking the full value of i WM s The problem is not IWMS itself but the business model supporting it. IWMS implementations have been traditionally viewed as large IT projects, with all the predictable schedule delays, cost overruns and risks associated with customization. While some CRE organizations do have the core competency, the willingness, the requirements, and the budget to engage in a highly customized IT project, most do not, so the default has been either inferior point solutions or heavily watered-down IWMS, because there seemed to be no alternative solution. There is an alternative, however: A next-generation of CRE technology, one that doesn't require new IWMS software products, just a new business model that reduces the time, cost and risk of implementation and improves the functionality gaps between highly customized and "out of the box" solutions. t he ideal i WM s solution The architecture of the ideal technology solution for CRE is shown in Figure 1. A commercial IWMS with five modules sits in the middle as the database, housing all CRE data and coordinating workflow for activities in each module performed by any service provider or insourced CRE organization. The IWMS acts as the interface point to business systems, mobile devices and building systems providing data (Internet of Things, or IoT). F E A T U R E A R T I C L E The next generation of corporate real estate technology: a new business model by Alan Nager, MCR

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