The CRE industry would be nothing without the CRE technology that supports it. In this episode, Melanie Mack demonstrates her deep knowledge of the market and the future of CRE.
Our CRE technology expert guest
Corporate real estate technology is a booming industry, and Melanie Mack is at its forefront. As head of CRE Technology at JLL overseeing EMEA, she’s the first to know of the industry’s latest advancements. At JLL, Melanie’s team sells enterprise solutions that solve several CRE problems. The company has a lot of technology vendors, as well as internal CRE software solutions. They work with clients to implement new CRE technologies. The goals include improving space optimization, returning to work, and increasing efficiency in lease and portfolio management.
JLL’s CRE technology team are professionals in the industry. More specifically, they are subject-matter experts for Verdantix or Gartner and also regularly contribute to leading publications. In addition, JLL has an in-house marketing and research team. This ensures they are at the forefront of knowing what the CRE tech trends are, but also where they are going and how JLL can influence them. Listen to the clips below to get an idea of Melanie’s knowledge.
What is CRE technology?
Before going into the depth of CRE tech trends, let’s cover the basics. The CRE technology definition is simple: any technology that is used in commercial real estate buildings in the workplaces. Recent developments and innovations have contributed to the rise of its importance in the development of CRE portfolios.
CRE tech trends
“I have seen a little bit of a shift over the past 5 years in terms of the level of data that clients have, and how well, or not, it is organized. ” – Melanie Mack
One of the most important products of CRE technologies is an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). These are larger enterprise-level systems. Or, as Melanie puts it, the “Mercedes of real estate management CRE software solutions.” In other words, they can be comparable to an SAP system, but with real estate capabilities. Implementing solutions of this scale requires solid data.
Over the past few years, Melanie and her team have seen a marked improvement in the quality of data they collect from their clients. Previously, they often saw data from Excel spreadsheets that went through extensive quality testing. The adage is, “bad data in is bad data out. What you’re putting into the system is what it’s going to report.”
This impressive shift in thinking can also be seen internally at JLL. In the spring of 2020, an internal data management team was created to collect data sets and turn them into business intelligence. From there, they can improve not only JLL’s decision-making but also that of their clients.
Return to office technology
“We’ve all gone through this working from home experiment. As we embark on this adventure to return back into the office, we have done research at JLL both within our internal teams and our external teams, and there is a percentage of up to %60+ people that will still want to work from home in some certain capacity.” – Melanie Mack
In the short term, every customer is focused on getting back to work and getting such a project to market quickly. The way people work has changed greatly in the last year and a half. Return to work technology is changing as well, and companies can’t ignore it. In the long term, Melanie predicts that big changes are coming. Business structures will be reshaped to better fit a semi-remote workforce that has multiple small centers in cities and beyond. Because of this, the traditional setup of one headquarters and one large building will be a thing of the past.
“Before, the success of the workplace was less about employee engagement and more about cost and space management, all related to the underlying decisions that will happen on a portfolio. Now what we’re seeing [that] this ties to talent acquisition and where people want to go work is in these spaces that are engaging and in organizations that focus on the human experience.” – Melanie Mack
According to Melanie, the definition of a successful workplace has completely changed. This is mainly due to the way we perceive this success after the “work-from-home experiment”. For instance, companies used to calculate an accomplished portfolio using space optimization and cost-per-foot as their metrics. Now, companies realize the importance of human behavior and ensuring their employees are comfortable. At the end of the day, company culture immensely affects talent acquisition and employee tenure, which in turn affects the bottom line.
Conclusion for CRE technology for return to the office
Melaine Mack has over 12 years of experience in corporate real estate, and it shows. The depth of her knowledge spans across all types of companies, pertaining to their size, culture, and journeys within CRE. Moving into a post-COVID climate, companies are certain to focus on human behavior elements when designing workplace strategies. Above all, with the C-suite’s attention, the future of CRE technology is looking up.
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