Being ‘in sync’ with the company’s technology agenda is vital for CRE teams
Whether it’s working with IT, Facilities or Procurement, or reporting to the C-suite, the need for the CRE team to be on the ‘same technology page’ as the rest of the organisation is becoming evermore critical. You must know what effect new technology will have on work practices in your organisation, while they must know what impact it will have on space. At the same time, if CRE teams can clearly see the implication of each technology, then they will able to react and plan smartly ahead.
The new technologies are coming thick and fast. ‘Wireless’, ‘mobile’ and ‘smart’ are very familiar, and enable a flexible and movable work environment away from the historic ‘my desk’ culture, fostering a more mobile mind-set. ‘Collaborative’ technology is allowing online conferencing and messaging, and reducing the need for formal meeting facilities and travel – while still communicating effectively. It is not replacing the importance of actual, physical collaboration, but adds new channels.
Technology is also having an impact on actual space and specification– a shift toward 12V electricity can take away the need for extensive cabling and raised floors (as may ‘wireless electricity’ in the very long term); ‘Cloud computing’ – once security issues are resolved and some industry cynicism overcome – will eliminate much IT infrastructure and the cooling and protection it necessitates, reduce overall space needs and engendering more flexibility.
At the same time, green technologies – from renewable energy to water-recycling systems – will soon be the norm, delivering cost-efficiency, sustainability and carbon reduction – and more rigorous monitoring.
Across the CRE portfolio, there will be opportunities for occupying less and more flexible space; for having offices that are highly-adaptable rather than highly-specified; for more intensive and collaborative space utilisation; and for more sustainable and energy-efficient facilities. Cost savings could be realised and landlords will ‘play ball’ – the balance of power is with you. But consider technology carefully, assess its integration and maturity and the different needs of business units, and don’t expect overnight change.
[For the bigger picture, see what we are saying in our Offices 2020 programme which is looking at the future of offices across EMEA – better still, join in and share your thoughts with other occupiers].