When you need to take control of your corporate real estate costs, implementing workplace technology is the obvious place to start. Workplace management software helps you collect reliable data to understand where you are today. Then you can use that knowledge to right-size your portfolio to save millions.

However, even the best tool won’t create results for you on its own. You need the right strategy to achieve value. And time frame is critically important. The sooner you’re on the path to the optimized workplace, the more money you save month over month and year over year.

So what’s the best strategy for reducing time to value and getting the results you need from workplace technology?

5 steps to get fast time to value for workplace technology

1. Get up and running quickly with modern technology

If you’ve ever been involved in implementing an IWMS system, you’re painfully aware of the typical time to value. Years, in many cases. The good news is, modern cloud-based tools can be fully operational and helping you get results in months.

Related topic: How to Turbocharge IWMS With Facilities Space Management Tools

2. Focus on occupancy for fast ROI

Imagine you are working in the airline industry. Which strategy do you think would bring you the most benefit?

A. Buying more planes and adding more flights
B. Redesigning each plane to add more seats
C. Filling more seats on your existing flights by analyzing demand

Wouldn’t you choose option C, to get the fastest results by increasing efficiency without adding capital cost?

Similarly, you’ll get the fastest time to value from your workplace management tool by reaching for the low-hanging fruit. That means focusing on workplace occupancy.

How much waste is hiding in the space allocated to each of your business units? You’ll achieve the best time to value by taking back control of that space and utilizing it effectively, rather than adding more space or squeezing in more desks.

3. Continuously validate your data

Having reliable data is what drives your ability to optimize your space and save money. Once your workplace management software is live, the data collection processes you set in place help you achieve faster time to value.

Churn is a way of life in every corporate workplace, so you need the means to keep your occupancy data up to date and accurate.

Our best advice? Encourage each business unit to validate their own data.

If you’re accustomed to a legacy IWMS, this may seem like a crazy idea. Can you teach them to use the system? And how will you get them to do it?

Working with a modern space management tool, both of these concerns are easily overcome. When you choose workplace technology with a simple, graphical interface, entering the data is easy and takes minutes. It’s nothing like the complex process required to use an IWMS.

Another tip: look for a product that doesn’t require you to purchase seat licenses for this purpose.

Getting business units to agree to validate their data is also simple: give something back. When people see the useful reports they have easy access to, including the knowledge of where everyone on their team is sitting, they will be more than willing to spend a few minutes each month keeping the data current.

4. Work toward the right space metrics

In the old days, tracking CRE metrics meant tracking space: cost per square foot, or square feet per desk. Is your business still focused on measuring square footage?

Today we know these metrics aren’t all that useful. That’s because the only way to improve on them is to look for cheaper space, or squeeze more desks into your existing space.

You can improve the time to value for your workplace technology by switching the focus to SEATS rather than square footage.

Related topic: The New Workplace Space Utilization Metrics You Need to Know About

Set a central space policy, managed by your real estate group, that encourages business units to consider how many seats they need and how many people they have to fill them. Rather than taking out their tape measure to see if they’re getting what they are paying for, they can focus on whether the space they have is meeting their business needs.

That mindset allows the CRE group to work toward the best way to provide for the needs of each group, while optimizing capacity to reduce costs.

 5. Build relationships to change the conversation about space

Having trustworthy occupancy data, as well as useful ways of showing it off, gives you the leverage you need to change the conversations about optimizing space.

Here’s how those conversations go when you’re using outdated technology: business units repeatedly ask for more space. CRE teams know that space is under-utilized, but they can’t prove it. So they are forced to squeeze in more desks, or worse, go out and lease additional space.

Instead, what if you could show a graphical floor plan that illustrates exactly who sits where and which seats are empty? AND you can show them scenario plans for optimizing space that take their needs into account?

Having this data and showing evidence is not just a way of proving you’re right. It builds trust between you and your business units. They can see that you have all your ducks in a row, and know more about them than they realized. They are more inclined to trust you and go along for the ride when they see that your plans make sense both for them and for the company’s bottom line.

Getting occupancy under control can take some time, depending on the state of things at the outset. But with the right tools, you can greatly reduce the time to value of your workplace technology, and start realizing significant cost savings.

Next steps: planning for the workplace of the future

With occupancy better managed, your next step to reducing CRE costs is optimizing utilization of your space. That means moving away from assigned seating and toward modern, agile workspaces.

To be in a position to plan successful shared spaces, you need to understand more than occupancy. You need to know who is using which space and how frequently. To gather that information, you can begin layering in data from various utilization tracking technologies such as turnstiles or badge readers, sensors and network tracking technology.

Even if you’re not yet ready for this step, it’s important to understand where you’re headed. Learn more from this helpful resource: Managing Workplace Utilization.