What’s the Landscape of Today’s Commercial Real Estate Industry?
In the post-pandemic era, commercial real estate (CRE) companies seek to redesign spaces for increased functionality and value to clients. Whether it’s a food retailer needing to maintain hundreds of locations countrywide or a healthcare company needing to coordinate with remote contractors on project status, real estate professionals need to meet changing expectations around building use and construction.
However, the path forward is not easy. According to Deloitte’s 2023 commercial real estate outlook insights, international CRE firms cite supply chain disruptions, tax policy changes, climate change, and inflation rates as their main challenges in the next year, depending on industry and region.
The respondent groups (North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific) listed “Accelerating technology capabilities” in their top seven’s most significant obstacles to financial performance.
Additionally, most companies forecast a lower growth in revenues than in previous years.
Of the respondents, 33% expect to cut expenses, meaning less expansion in CRE. Instead, CRE companies are hunting for solutions to ensure operational efficiency, given the current economic landscape.
What Hurdles are Organizations Facing in Real Estate Portfolio Management?
Managing a real estate portfolio can drown you in data. Data siloes make it impossible to tell who has access to information and make it so one miscommunication can result in project standstills. When organizations bring in new applications and tech tools to address specific issues, it can cause hyper-fragmentation—the growing separation of data and systems as more technology is brought in.
Nevertheless, data is king in CRE. It helps you make informed decisions in real time, but what happens when data is collected, yet not connected? The data becomes useless or difficult to leverage. If your data repositories require manual entry (or re-entry), you risk errors and inaccurate information, which directly impacts decision-making.
Foodstuffs, New Zealand’s largest food retailer, adopted Quickbase to navigate this data chaos and ensure timely project delivery. A centralized portfolio app allowed Foodstuffs to unify siloed departments and monitor key metrics for each project and activity across their 350+ locations.
A lack of access to critical data in real-time and poor communication between departments was causing project delays, overspending, and differences between forecasted and actual retail sales income at Foodstuffs, but no more.
After, an external review found that Foodstuffs wasted "up to 25 cents of every dollar spent on CapEx" a shift to the adopting a dynamic project delivery platform has resulted in projects consistently being delivered 5%-8% under their initial budget.
Despite the power of strategic tech, the same Deloitte 2023 report showed that most companies are trimming tech budgets, putting a strain on all projects. If you’re involved with budgeting, consider this: real estate professionals who are investing in strategic tech solutions have more opportunities to improve efficiency and explore digital assets compared to those who continue to use disparate systems.
The ability to overcome CRE hurdles is also premised on one important factor: how well does the leadership team understand the costs of running their portfolios? And can they identify and address any stumbling blocks to optimize processes while tackling external factors, e.g. rising materials and land costs and climate change?
Redesigning CRE Footprints Today
Before businesses can redesign a physical space, they must redesign their tech stack and workflows. The four-step anti-fragmentation process has massive potential to transform your portfolio and management systems.
1) Conduct a friction audit.
Identify where individual systems interact or where communication channels result in delays or misinformation.
2) Determine your reporting needs.
- What KPIs do you need to evaluate holistic performance?
- Who needs access to this data?
- What data does each stakeholder need to access?
3) Define your ideal system.
Companies are hesitant to admit their workflows need rethinking, but this is crucial. You needn’t dismantle every process in place, either—ask how you can improve existing workflows and make sure you (and stakeholders) can access the insights you need when you need them.
4) Evaluate strategic tech solutions while vetting each option:
- Are the dashboards customizable to accommodate each stakeholder?
- Does the software automate manual processes?
- Does the software encourage collaborative, accessible, and visible means of communication and data sharing?
- Can you integrate the software into your existing tools, or will it create another data silo?
The goal of redesigning your tech stack is to eliminate friction, enable automation (where possible), unify workflows, and facilitate collaboration. Just like how redesigning a commercial space enhances the customer experience, redesigning your tech structure should improve daily life for real estate professionals.
How are Organizations Redesigning How They Redesign?
Customizable, intuitive, and integratable platforms allow CRE companies to expand their portfolio while minimizing waste. Exhibit A: Food retailer giant Foodstuffs adopted Quickbase and can now deliver projects at 5-8% below budget.
Through standardized workflows in every step of the project life cycle, Fresenius, a healthcare company with 2,700+ medical facilities, can now reduce waste, cultivate cross-functional work, and deliver projects at record speed—a stark contrast to the manual-heavy processes they employed prior to adopting Quickbase.
These case studies demonstrate how custom solutions allow you to tackle complex real estate projects through improved visibility, connections, and collaboration. This gives you and your stakeholders the confidence to make urgent decisions by having access to accurate critical data and documentation.
So while addressing climate change issues, increasingly strict disclosure regulations, and supply chain disruptions may be influencing CRE companies’ business plans for the next year, it’s no question that tech solutions play a huge role in helping resolve these and other industry challenges in the long run.
From negotiating contracts to reviewing project completion checklists, a no-code, personalized platform that connects your data, people, and systems is invaluable. Quickbase helps you establish a single source of truth that takes into account your organization’s idiosyncrasies so you can implement custom solutions that serve you, your clients, and your teams in the best possible way.