Rethinking your CRE technology strategy

Elements in a multi-tiered strategy

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Summary: A multi-tiered strategy consists of three separate elements: data management strategy, application strategy and support strategy.

Data management strategy – the comeback of “best of breed”

A well-developed data management strategy is the first priority for strong business performance.

Fortunately, CRE has a relatively narrow core set of data, which are also know as master data. Typical CRE master data includes:

  • Property/location ID
  • Lease number
  • Lease expiration date
  • Square feet
  • Work order number
  • Work item
  • Date performed
  • Employee ID
  • Vendor ID

It is imperative that the CRE data strategy be integrated with the overall enterprise data management strategy. Avoid the temptation to build a CRE data warehouse.

Of course that means working with the chief information officer and corporate IT, something many CRE organizations unfortunately do not do often enough. But, given the trends, stand-alone data management strategies will either not be able to keep up with the demands of effective data management or will not be cost effective.

CRE organizations can work within the framework of the enterprise data strategy by moving CRE data out of the shackles of CRE-focused applications and into the enterprise data warehouse. This will position them to take advantage of outsourcing opportunities. They can also take advantage of changes in leading practices for process management, new application solutions and technical architectures.

Application strategy – the comeback of “best of breed”

The outsourcing trend is not unique to CRE. In fact, within two years, Gartner is predicting 20% of companies will not own any IT assets. They will do this by leveraging outsourced, cloud and software-as-a-service providers.

By delinking data management strategy from application strategy, organizations will have a much wider choice of:

  • Applications
  • Platforms
  • Providers

This is critical as less CRE work is performed by employees and more by service providers.

Now that data is essentially becoming portable, applications can be more closely tailored to the specific processes employed by the CRE organization. Applications can reside virtually anywhere and be supplied by a far greater number of providers.

Thus, rather than using a one-size-fits-all package application, CRE organizations can more cost-effectively deploy “best of breed” application strategies, leveraging point solutions as well as modules from various IWMS systems.

Indeed, current IT trends bear that out. The proliferation of the application concept on the consumer and mobile computing side is slowly but surely making its way into corporate IT and will certainly find a way into the realm of CRE technology.

Another important trend is our expectation to access the data from a range of mobile devices, anywhere, anytime. That is quite a burden for a single-package application. Yet a best of breed application strategy, delinked from data management, can be very effective.

Savvy software and real estate providers will likely embrace this movement and begin to offer highly specialized, sophisticated applications (as opposed to modules) that will enable CRE organizations to ramp up efficiencies and effectiveness.

Support strategy

Delinking application strategy from data strategy yields yet another benefit: the ability to create a support infrastructure that is configurable and definable as the situation warrants. Historically, CRE organizations have had to supply their own support mechanisms, as the narrow applications were beyond the typical applications supported by IT. Or CRE organizations had to rely on software or real estate service providers.

With an effective data management strategy firmly integrated into and supported by the enterprise, application support can be handled in various ways. One of the more effective ways will be to bundle the support into either process support or application. Again, this further enhances opportunities for outsourcing and the close tailoring of applications with business processes.



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