Adopting Business-Led Technology in Commercial Real Estate
Many companies feel pressed to adopt modern systems, but the stakes are higher for organizations managing large real estate portfolios. Not only are outdated or non-existent systems hampering their processes, but these inefficient systems also affect the way building projects and changes to physical spaces are completed. Data chaos leads to project overruns and timeline delays. The only way to arrive at modern systems is by facilitating business-led technology solutions. When insight is cohesive and contained in a single source of truth platform, your real estate portfolio can be a driver of business insight instead of a burden on resources.
So, what can organizations do to facilitate business-led technology? And how can this be applied to commercial real estate portfolio management? Here are 3 recommendations from Gartner® and how they apply to transforming CRE management.
Take the work of business technologists seriously
The work of citizen developers in crucial lines of business isn’t merely a hobby they take on during work hours. The applications they develop are driving the transformation of operations. Gartner® asserts it is incumbent upon executive leaders to recognize the effort line-of-business leaders and support them. Provide access to technical experts and reward employees that develop solutions.
Within real estate, we believe, this means executives need to promote access to tools, like Quickbase, which portfolio managers can use to build their solutions. Make it clear that the line of business leaders have ownership over how they work and the software they use. Empower users to familiarize themselves with these platforms and celebrate when new applications are developed.
Be active in identifying processes easily addressed by digital transformation
Executives and managers have a broader feel for how organizations operate. They serve an important role in identifying opportunities across the business which are low-hanging fruit to be addressed by a business-led tech solution. Gartner® recommends leaders look for processes that “exhibit common work patterns, pipelines or value streams that include intake, triage, planning, execution and reporting.” Individuals within the business function should drive the creation of applications, but leadership should help provide direction and guide the beginning stages of development.
For real estate, this means organizational leaders need to be active in collaborative discussion with potential citizen developers charged with managing real estate activity. Engage with employees whose work is mired with data chaos. Provide recommendations for where to begin with addressing those challenges or guidelines to help business users identify areas of improvement on their own. Repetitive tasks needing organization like contract management or work order processing may be simple starting points.
Promote workforce growth and connection
Most employees seek opportunities to learn and grow in their jobs. Business-led technology development is a win-win. It provides employees with the chance to hone new skills and improves a company’s operations. Executives improve their workforce by providing training and digital workforce programs. Employing a business-led technology push also leads to engagement between the line-of-business, company leadership, and IT teams. Promoting digital workforce development leads to professional skill building and collaborative work within an organization.
The desire to grow and learn new skills is universal across departments, and real estate management is no different. Spreadsheets are the technology of choice for most real estate operations, not because of their effectiveness but because of familiarity. Embracing business-led digital transformation gives CRE professionals a chance to flex tech muscles that may otherwise be neglected and builds relationships between groups that are often very separated.