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Effective Strategic Planning Can Improve your Business’s Probability for Success

As 2018 comes to a close and the new year begins, it’s a perfect time for your organization to reflect on the year. What were you able to accomplish? Make sure you celebrate your successes – it’s important. Did you have any shortcomings? If so, how can you improve on them? If you haven’t started already, the end of the year is the time to commence the strategic planning process. Strategic planning will help you identify and agree on priorities for the year(s) ahead, focus your resources so you can execute and manage your plan more efficiently and ultimately hold people accountable, so you can position your company for success.

Identify and Agree on Priorities for Your Strategic Plan

Historically, real estate costs have been a company’s second or third largest cost, so short-term gain through cost-cutting has been a priority. Now that the workplace is becoming a strategic asset in the eyes of many executives, corporate real estate (CRE) professionals are ensuring that their strategic plans and initiatives are aligned more closely with the company’s long-term business strategy.

Determining priorities for your strategic plan takes a collaborative approach, especially when it comes to the corporate workplace. CRE professionals must get input and gain buy-in from several key stakeholders. Yes, the real estate team will provide input, based on data about the workplace and their employees they have gained over time, but also senior executives from Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology and Operations may add valuable insight. Including other groups as you conduct your planning assessment will help to ensure that you select the right areas of improvement and identify appropriate goals. Most importantly, a collaborative approach will help you gain support for them which will be critical in the execution phase.

Learn strategies to modernize your relocation process.

Execute and Manage Your Plan

Once you have agreed on goals, the next step is to prioritize them into a plan. The plan should align CRE efforts to achieve the company’s goals. For example, moving the company from a traditional environment to one more flexible or even activity based, entails more than just buying the right equipment. It probably includes changing the culture of the organization so that employees feel more comfortable in their new environment. In this case, achieving employee buy-in could be key to your success.

Your plan will also take the adoption of new policies and procedures and a strong communication plan to make it work. And, most importantly, your strategic plan should incorporate metrics so you can track successes and identify improvements.

Hold People Accountable

A final critical component of the strategic planning process is to hold people accountable to your plan. If you gathered feedback from the right people or groups and crafted a plan that aligns to the broader business strategy, you have already done a lot of things. This collaborative approach to strategic planning that involves many different groups should lead to higher engagement from your teams and better outcomes. If your stakeholders have a say in the strategic direction and initiatives you choose, they are more likely to have a sense of ownership in the process – and may make good team leaders for the various initiatives. Holding them accountable with regular intervals where you monitor the progress and results will help them to be successful in achieving their goals and will minimize any of your action items getting off track. You can work with each team or initiative leaders to set achievable goals.

Do you want to learn how Serraview helps corporate real estate professionals with strategic planning? Request a free demo today.

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How Companies Can Benefit by “Saving in Place”

Should we stay or should we go? Raise your hand if you’re a corporate real estate executive who’s asked that question before. As you review and re-evaluate different workspaces, you may wonder if staying in your current office will in fact be double the trouble of going elsewhere.

Why You Should Consider “Saving in Place”

Even though it may seem like your current space just is not working out (you’re growing or shrinking too much to justify the space, it’s underutilized more often since you adopted a more flexible work policy, or your current office floor plan no longer meets the needs of your restructured departments), you probably have more options to save in place than you think. Here’s why you should do that:

  • You’re limited to your existing location due to ownership or an extended lease term. Owning the building means you can redesign the office building floor plans or consolidate your team to open a floor and find a tenant. If you lease, you may be able to negotiate for better lease terms or benefits, or work with your landlord to adjust your workspace to better meet your needs.
  • You’re in a beneficial location. You may be paying a premium rate for a high-rise downtown or in an urban core, and lower rents in the suburbs look enticing. But consider this: Is your current location convenient to public transit, or close to where most of your employees live? Will they be burdened by the commute? Are you close to amenities that your employees value? Does your location make you attractive to prospects or give you access to a larger talent pool? Moving somewhere else might end up costing you in other ways (in addition to the actual move costs).

Ready to Save in Place? Get Informed

The first step when deciding how you’ll save in place is to get good data. Utilization software like Serraview’s can help you understand your current occupancy rates and usage patterns. It can also help you project and plan different scenarios for expansion or downsizing. Imagine being able to easily visualize how you could best configure your office floor plans to accommodate different rates of growth two, three, or five years out. A tool like Serraview will allow you to confidently say “yes, we can downsize our current space by 20% and still use it effectively for the next three years.”

This could be your opportunity to start transitioning to an agile or activity-based workspace. Learn why that’s a superior option to an open office floor plan.

Seeing and understand usage patterns—like the spike each Thursday when 90% of your employees are in the office, or that two conference rooms are used every day and the third is empty 80% of the time—will provide the evidence-based data to develop alternate ways to use your space.

Find out other strategies corporate real estate leaders can use to reduce costs.

Optimizing Lease Terms

Data-based knowledge about your needs allows your to bring a clear vision to your landlord. If, for example, your company takes up one floor and wants to downsize by 30%, your landlord might argue that 30% of one floor can’t be leased to another tenant. With good data, you may be able to determine that you can give up 50% of your current space to be leased out.

Understanding your current state vs. future state allows you to request first right of refusal. If you’re aware of your space use, you can negotiate for additional amenities, such as more allocated parking spaces, or other services.

Optimizing Office Floor Plans

If you are able to downsize—and hopefully reduce your rent payments—you’ll want to use space planning software that delivers utilization data to create efficient office floor plans and layouts. You can also put some of that savings towards improving your space—perhaps by investing in standing desks, updating office furniture and decor, or offering other perks to boost employee engagement.

In the event that you are unable to physically downsize space and lease obligations, you still have options to better use the space.

If you pay for utilities, see if you can consolidate your employees so you can turn off the lights and other systems in one section of your floor or building.

Think creatively about the unused or little-used spaces in your office. For example, instead of having a large, open room that’s only half-occupied, you can use demountable walls to create a separate room that could be a breakroom/hangout spot or brainstorming space. Or perhaps you could knock down walls so that you get more natural light (and reduce your lighting needs). Utilization software can help you identify needs and change your office floor plans so it’s a more pleasant place to work as well as save you money.

Want to see how you can update your office floor plans to better use the space you have? Contact us today for a demo of Serraview’s space planning tool.

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ARCHIBUS and Serraview Combine to Create Market-Leading Real Estate and Workplace Management Platform

BOSTON, NEW YORK, and MELBOURNE, December 5, 2018 –  ARCHIBUS, an industry-leading integrated workplace management system (IWMS) platform, and Serraview, a cloud-based provider of space optimization and workforce enablement software, today announced that they have merged to create the leading provider of solutions for managing the modern built environment. JMI Equity, a growth equity firm focused on investing in leading software companies, has made a strategic growth investment as part of the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This powerful business combination unites ARCHIBUS’ comprehensive suite of real estate, infrastructure, and facilities management solutions with Serraview’s cloud-first, employee-centric space management software to help organizations optimize the “Workplace of the Future.” The combined company will be led by Wain Kellum, a seasoned technology executive.

“ARCHIBUS and Serraview share a commitment to providing customers with the software solutions they need to optimize their workplace resources and physical assets to provide an environment that will attract and motivate today’s dynamic workforce,” said Wain Kellum, Chief Executive Officer of the combined company. “With the modern, people-centric focus of Serraview’s solution and ARCHIBUS’ market-leading products, the combined platform is best positioned to address modern workplace trends across many industries.”

The combined company will offer thousands of customers around the world an integrated, IoT powered, user-friendly platform to effectively manage their real estate facilities, infrastructure, workplace assets, and enable employees. The company’s technology enables a seamless experience for workplace executives, facilities managers, and employees of global, forward-thinking organizations. With the strategic partnership of JMI Equity, the company will accelerate investments in product development and customer success initiatives.

“Serraview was founded on the principle of providing companies with an intuitive way of managing all of their real estate in a way that creates efficient and effective people-centric workplaces,” said Stephen Macnee, co-founder of Serraview. “Now, together with ARCHIBUS, we can reach a larger audience and accomplish our mission of giving employers and employees the solutions they need to best utilize their space.”

“The combination of ARCHIBUS and Serraview creates a clear market leader equipped to meet the increasing demand for modern, connected and flexible workspaces,” said Brian Hersman, General Partner of JMI Equity. “We’re excited to partner with the management teams of ARCHIBUS and Serraview to drive continued success and growth.”

KeyBanc Capital Markets is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Serraview, and Cooley is serving as legal counsel. Mintz Levin is serving as legal counsel to ARCHIBUS. Goodwin is serving as legal counsel to JMI Equity.

About ARCHIBUS

ARCHIBUS leads the global marketplace in applying comprehensive technology solutions and services to manage your built-environment. ARCHIBUS’ worldwide Federated Ecosystem enables organizations across the globe to consolidate systems onto a single integrated platform for all the data, planning and operations of real estate, infrastructure and facilities. For more information, visit www.archibus.com.

About Serraview

Serraview is a global provider of space optimization solutions created to enable forward-thinking organizations to deliver today’s modern workplace. Serraview’s solutions are designed to increase real estate portfolio utilization, streamline operations, and enable smarter, more productive work environments. Serraview is a platform at the intersection of people, place and technology – driving a future that is good for business and great for people. For more information, visit www.serraview.com.

About JMI Equity

JMI Equity is a growth equity firm focused on investing in leading software companies. Founded in 1992, JMI has invested in over 140 businesses in its target markets, successfully completed over 90 exits, and raised more than $4 billion of committed capital. JMI partners with exceptional management teams to help build their companies into industry leaders. For more information, visit www.jmi.com.

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Media Contacts

For JMI Equity:                                                                                                             Chuck Dohrenwend or William Braun 
Abernathy MacGregor
212-371-5999
cod@abmac.com / whb@abmac.com

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How Big Data Is Changing Corporate Real Estate

How’s this for some almost incomprehensible numbers: It’s been reported that 90% of the data in the world has been generated in just the last two years. We are currently creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily—and that rate is accelerating. (1 quintillion has 12 zeros, in case you were wondering.)

Big Data has infiltrated every industry and every organizational group. Big Data in real estate is no exception. It’s reaching our personal lives in ways many of us don’t even realize yet. And it’s not groundbreaking to predict that this trend will only continue.

Because of the rate at which Big Data is growing and the incredible number of ways it can (and will) be used, it’s important to take a step back and seek a greater understanding of what types of data are being collected, how it’s gathered and analyzed, and how it can best be used by organizations. All those quintillions of data points mean nothing without the ability to capture, review, and analyze them effectively and, ultimately, use them to make informed business decisions.

The Limits of Big Data for Real Estate

For the past several years, Big Data has been touted as the solution to every business problem. If it’s not solving your problems yet, it will soon—or so we’ve been told. And so, many corporate real estate leaders have focused primarily on capturing and gathering as much data as possible, through IoT sensors, building management systems, and employee management systems.

What IoT integrations provide the most value for space planning?

Now, however, companies have huge amounts of data without the means of effectively analyzing it. Raw data, without analysis and context, isn’t useful when making business decisions. Companies may try to build an in-house team to get a handle on the data coming in, but without training in how to work with Big Data, most of what those teams do amounts to guesswork and science experiments. This is why working with a vendor or platform that specializes in data collection and analysis, like Serraview, is so crucial.

Part of the problem companies face is that we are still figuring out which data is the most valuable for corporate real estate. We know that looking at desk assignments and space usage in real-time can provide actionable insights, but when we started to combine that data with, say, information on air quality from building systems, we found patterns we didn’t expect. In other cases, we found solid evidence to back what we’ve suspected for years—that air quality can impact the health, happiness, and productivity of employees. With this knowledge, you can work with your building maintenance team to optimize your building’s environment.

Know What You’re Looking For

With Big Data, it’s really easy to get caught up in the latest shiny object. A new sensor or beacon comes out that measures X and you become obsessed with measuring X without first questioning why you want to measure it or what insights it will provide. When it comes to Big Data in real estate, you need to stay focused on the questions you’re asking—otherwise you end up wasting time and money. After all, if you’re making an apple pie, you’d be wasting your time trying to harvest all the raspberries you can find.

Why is space planning so important for corporate real estate?

Some questions you may consider include:

  • How do people in my organization work together or collaborate?
  • How are they using the space?
  • What does a day in the life look like for different people or teams in my organization?
  • What tools are they using and how?
  • How is technological collaboration happening?

Staying clear and focused on these questions will help you seek out the data that will be the most valuable and provide the best insights.

Using Big Data Strategically

The strength of a tool like Serraview is to take all that data you’re collecting—from sensors and beacons, other software platforms, and systems—and make it useful and actionable. You still need to ask the right questions and think critically about the analysis Serraview provides, but it makes the process more efficient.

Want to learn more about how Serraview helps corporate real estate leaders make evidence-based business decisions? Request a free demo today.