Why Commercial Real Estate Is Ripe for Innovation

NOTE TO READERS: This blog post appeared on openbox last month and is an extremely interesting read on how the stage is being set for major innovation in commercial real estate due to technological advances and market pressures. “The cold hard fact is that one third of the industry still runs off Microsoft Excel,” observes Brendan Canny. He goes on to outline why an era of innovative change could soon be soon upon us.

Is Commercial Real Estate Adopting Technology Quickly Enough?

Author: Brendan Canny

We recently attended an interesting CRE Innovation Event in New York, which brought to light insights into the state of data-driven innovation in commercial real estate. The question that was asked was whether the industry is investing enough in innovation to meet increasing demands (especially since commercial real estate has established itself as the fourth asset class with global transactions on the rise).

The cold hard fact is that one third of the industry still runs off Microsoft Excel. Research shows us that there is not only a lack of innovation, but also a lack of understanding of what innovation is and its potential impact on the industry.

This resistance to innovation may be a legacy issue related to the old guard of industry CEOs and CIOs. A generation that believed in spreadsheets and silos. In a tongue-in-cheek statement, one panelist said that some people need to die in order for the CRE industry to start investing in technology. The good news is that there’s a new breed of industry leaders taking the reins. This wave of young individuals is dedicated to raising service standards in commercial real estate. They are a part of a movement that sees a fundamental shift of power from the landlord to the tenant. And we all know that tenants are consumers who have come to expect more from their service providers. Only by investing in new technologies will CRE begin to meet these expectations.

Until now, key players have often based their decisions on nothing more than speculation and gut-feel. But with the emergence of new legislation, it is becoming imperative to shift towards data-driven decisions to support their asset and portfolio decision making. Armed with the right IT solutions, companies will be able to access the real value inherent in their data. The reality is that in this competitive environment, it would be risky for global leaders not to accelerate their investments into technological innovation.

Technological innovation has the power to reveal the most valuable insights. And these insights create a platform for ideas. I believe that ideas can come from anywhere… while one individual may plant the seed of an idea, it is often only through collaboration that the idea forms into something truly valuable.