BOMA International’s 2018 Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Technology Trends Report, conducted in partnership with Building Engines, surveyed 600 CRE professionals seeking answers to four of this year’s most relevant industry questions:
- How effectively are CRE professionals using property operations technology?
- How are highly-effective organizations using technology differently than others?
- What feature gaps exist in current CRE technology solutions?
- What do industry professionals expect for the future of CRE technology solutions?
“CRE professionals are under increasing pressure to meet tenant expectations, reduce operating costs and adopt a host of constantly changing technologies,” said 2017-2018 BOMA International Chair Rob Brierley, BOMA Fellow, managing director of Real Estate Management Services and executive vice president of Colliers Boston. This year’s Technology Trends Report was designed to assess how CRE professionals are performing under this pressure.
Survey respondents included everyone from owners and asset managers to property and facility managers to maintenance workers and engineers. The sampling represents a comprehensive set of property types including major-market Class A office, medical office, industrial, retail, and mixed-use properties.
The results clearly distinguish a set of characteristics unique to those CRE professionals who most effectively utilize technology. This group of respondents — classified by the report as Achievers — consider themselves ahead of the technological curve and dedicated to the early adoption of leading edge technology solutions.
While 23% of respondents felt they qualified as an Achiever, a mere 4% of asset managers did so — clearly highlighting the CRE industry’s collective reluctance to embrace advancing technology. A low percentage of technological efficient asset managers is a problem to be faced, considering that the report also found that solutions mandated by corporate offices or building owners are 20% more likely to be “highly effective” than solutions selected at the property level.
Most respondents identified as Maintainers (59% of respondents) — those “just keeping up” with industry-standard technologies, adopting low-risk tech solutions which have been proven reliable. The smallest percentage (18%) of professionals identified themselves as Trailers — someone who is falling behind technologically, slow to justify spending money and energy on technology, lagging behind industry standards, and producing poor overall results.
Staying ahead of the competition and keeping tenants happy is vitally important to high performance in this industry, and Achievers are the ones doing just that. In a blog post outlining key takeaways for leaders from BOMA 2018, Charles Flanagan, Director of Inbound and Lead Generation at Building Engines, says that “The dynamic of workplace design continues to change the needs and desires of tenants. Amenities that building owners once thought would drive interest and revenue at their buildings are now quickly becoming a competitive necessity, rather than an advantage.”
If you’re a CRE professional, then you should be asking yourself this question in every technology-related situation: What Would Achievers Do?
Based on the findings in the BOMA/Building Engines report, we have six answers for you:
Invest Intelligently to Solve Problems Thoroughly and Quickly
Achievers spend money on technology — 60% of them have “technology” as at least one specific budget line item (less than 40% of Trailers do the same) — and tend to prioritize spending on information security and technological solutions to problems that can be solved within 12 months. Achievers move forward quickly and confidently — and 95% of them report that their investments in technological solutions are sound.
Don’t Waste Time with Fear or Uncertainty
According to the industry report, the early adoption of new technological solutions is crucial. The faster and more often you successfully implement a new technology, the faster you can better serve your clients, distinguish yourself from competition, and maximize growth.
Adopting early and successfully requires an ongoing, concerted effort to be aware of understanding emerging technologies that Trailers are unwilling to make. While time and resource limitation are the primary industry obstacles to using sufficiently performing technology, Trailers tend to get stuck justifying financial and time expenditures on technology while Achievers find a way to do it.
Actionable Tip: Staying within your budget (and profiting from technology) is easy with solutions like Genea’s Overtime HVAC and Submeter Billing services — the costs can be passed directly through to your tenants.
If You Don’t Know What to Do, Find Someone That Does
Achievers are three times more likely than Trailers to consult technology experts. From finding the most appropriate and effective technological solution to its execution and deployment, working with a proven consultant expedites problem resolution and gives assurance of quality.
See the Bigger Picture
Achievers understand that owners and asset managers can often see the bigger picture of business problems and needs for technological solutions. They find technological solutions that address problems comprehensively and as on-strategy as possible, and often mandate those solutions from corporate or the building owner. As mentioned earlier, mandated solutions are 20% more likely to be highly effective than solutions chosen and implemented at the property level. Unsurprisingly, Achievers are the least likely group to choose property-level solutions.
Choose Integrated & Multi-Functional Solutions
Achievers implement highly-effective solutions for over 50% of operational functions (accounting, tenant service/work order management, energy management, building automation, etc.) four times as often as Trailers. These solutions, whenever possible, are multi-functional and properly integrated with other active technology — nearly doubling their effectiveness — and earning ratings of “highly effective” twice as often stand-alone systems. They choose to invest in technologies which serve as many people as possible.
Actionable Tip: Genea’s Overtime HVAC service allows tenants to easily control their heat and air-conditioning while simultaneously saving the time and energy of property managers and engineers, who don’t have to worry about submitting and fulfilling after hours requests. Beyond increasing property-level efficiency, our Overtime HVAC service makes owners and asset managers money – the easy functionality of our service tends to increase the volume overtime HVAC requests.
Set Yourself Apart: Prioritize Your Customers and Brand
Achievers understand the importance of maintaining a strong, positive reputation that sets their organization apart from the competition. While Trailers waste their focus on cost and time savings, Achievers spend on technology to better serve their clients and create a solid brand image.
Simply put, while Achievers are the smallest but most confident and successful segment of respondents, they know that the most vitally important thing to understand about technology is that technology is vitally important. They also know that the riskiest thing to do when considering the adoption of new technology is to avoid risk and avoid new technology. When practical technology is implemented, all benefit.