Digital Natives in Commercial Real Estate’s C-Suite Hold the Key

By Mike Mullin

When you’re talking about “the cloud,” it’s hard to resist using weather-related language. So here, we go again. A well-executed multi-cloud strategy can rain savings on a commercial real estate enterprise. The forecast for a cloudburst of savings was the subject of a recent post to our IBS blog. But putting that symbolism aside, we continue to see our clients, who use the cloud strategically, achieving significant savings. Cloud-based solutions are emerging as the clear winner over traditional on-site IT systems, with the potential to transform every aspect of the real estate business – from property management to accounting to construction management.

Well-designed cloud-based applications, strategically deployed, are helping companies shift dollars formerly spent on in-house IT to areas that generate ROI. In addition, applications designed for the industry are assuming routine functions, freeing staff to focus on the core business and management to focus on new profit-generating initiatives.

With so much good news regarding cost-reduction, security and efficiency, you might wonder why the entire real estate industry isn’t in the cloud or headed there. And you might also wonder why those organizations that are in the cloud aren’t going to the next level.

Why aren’t they connecting their cloud-based apps, allowing them to “talk” to each other, thereby delivering a cohesive picture of the state of their business? Our observation, based on nearly 40 years in this industry, is that commercial real estate traditionally isn’t driven by operating efficiency. The driver is the deal. Top management is focused like a laser on that ultimate goal, leaving functional decisions to the individual departments.

So, here’s what typically happens behind the scenes. The accounting department buys a cloud-based solution. And next door, construction management buys one. Maybe the leasing unit is getting one, too. Silos full of data are sprouting company-wide.  Information is going to various clouds. Individually, these solutions will do a great job for the department that bought them. But how about for the company as a whole? What’s missing? These function-specific apps aren’t integrated.

Without integrated communication among all these varied information streams, management gets only isolated slices of the state of the business. Functional solutions get traction at the departmental level but, in the end, management misses out on the benefit of being able to make critical decisions based on a single, comprehensive view of information. The promise of efficiency via multi-cloud is simply not being fully realized. But things are changing.

Our mission is to help our clients eliminate those information silos. Our primary tool is Imperium Powered by Acumatica, IBS’s enterprise lease management/accounting solution that not only puts information in the multi-cloud environment but makes it available anytime, on any browser in a consolidated form. And this solution that’s gaining ground with a new generation of commercial real estate executives who know that the best deals are the ones based on the best information.

The industry’s latest wave of commercial real estate decision-makers understands the limitations imposed by siloed information. As mobile-centric digital natives, they are used to literally carrying their brains in their pockets. They expect their devices to provide the comprehensive data they need to make a deal when and where they need it.

Their passion for tech (and what it can do to make a commercial real estate business more successful) is spreading across demographic lines. There’s a growing recognition that technology, when strategically deployed, is transforming the world and these rising industry leaders want their corner to be “in on it.” Commercial real estate companies with this management attitude are our best market and our most satisfied clients.