How do you organize your CRE department? The structure of the CRE organization should directly correspond to key processes such as leasing, construction, design and facilities management. Organizational structure varies by the size of the real estate portfolio, the type of industry, the level of outsourcing and the geographic dispersion of the real estate portfolio.
Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of corporate real estate management is the subject of process management and the software that supports it. Process management is a major subject in the topic of quality management. It has been a topic that has dominated management subjects for decades. Most software applications have specific functionality that addresses process management; particularly around work flow.
As we enter our third year of Bell’s Blog, I thought it would be helpful to step back from blog content and reflect on what topics should be explored in the months ahead. In this vein, I invite readers to propose topics that haven’t been covered. As a reminder, the purpose of Bell’s Blog is to cover topics that are related to the management of corporate real estate. In some sense, I’ve structured the blog as a set of tutorials for the aspiring CRE manager or executive. It’s written as a management guide for a manager or professional who is relatively new to the CRE field. Having been at all levels of the corporate real estate profession (including leasing manager, project manager, technology manager, department head, consultant and corporate executive), I base the blog content on nearly 30 years of experience. Also with 10 years as a Gartner analyst, focused on CRE technology and data center topics, I bring information technology knowledge to the blog.
In the latest issue of the LEADER, the official publication of CoreNet, two of my former colleagues, Mike Joroff and Frank Becker, co-authored an article entitled, “Exploit Change and Uncertainty to Drive Corporate Value.” Becker and Joroff collaborated with me on several projects, including Office 88 (Becker-1983) and the Agile Workplace (Joroff- 2003) The authors make the case that many of the assumptions about the office, technology, and work need to be updated and revised to reflect the new trends visible in the global workplace.
In 1972, when I first took on a real estate management job at Xerox in Chicago, one of my most important tools was my Rolodex. For the younger reader of this blog, I should explain that the Rolodex was a simple filing of business cards or small index cards, arranged in alphabetical order, and containing names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses of service firms, colleagues, and other contacts. I would use the Rolodex at least 2-3 times a day to look up service people who I might need in an assignment or project, or check in with contacts who might help as a reference.
In an earlier blog post I addressed the subject of outsourcing corporate real estate services. One of the key services that is central to the real estate process is the need for design services, typically interior design services. Maintaining a design team internally is expensive and unnecessary. For some organizations having a design professional as a member of the CRE staff is advisable for the purposes of supervising the design contract firm and evaluating designs in various stages of development.
Both the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released their respective new leasing standards in the first quarter of 2016, but they are not the same.
In several of my blog postings over the last two years I made reference to the subject of outsourcing CRE functions. But my references were brief. So over the next several blog entries, I plan to delve deeply into the subject. My plan is to first discuss the general pros and cons of outsourcing while providing the rationale for outsourcing various CRE functions. I will then focus on three service areas: lease transaction services, design services, and property management services. I’ll also touch on other activities such as facility management and physical security.
One of my colleagues recently posed the question “Is there an example of a decision you made that you would do differently now based upon technologies available today?”
From time to time clients raise the question of the difference between corporate real estate and facilities management. In essence, they’re asking why we have two different professional designations since they both seem to have the same responsibilities. But the two professions have distinct differences and responsibilities. Here we explore these differences and attempt to bring clarity to the issue.