Breaking Down the Walls in your Management Technology Stack
Author: Jeff Thompson, Executive Director, AwareManager
The last “View from the Top” webinar highlighted an important shift taking place in commercial real estate, as the walls break down between stakeholders and their solution providers within the technology stack.
Especially in the last year, we’ve seen complex commercial developments that are completely integrated into their communities – far beyond the traditional owner-tenant relationship. There are now entire ecosystems of people and solutions that need to work together for building operations to run smoothly. This encompasses everything from facility management software, security, accounting, and everything in between.
Ideally these ecosystems are tied together by a common ground that connects all stakeholders and their interactions, providing ever-increasing and important context to the data and the stakeholders producing it. This means that data, and the systems housing it, cannot be isolated by department or function. When those ‘boundaries’ do exist, everyone involved inevitably wastes time entering repetitive data into multiple software programs, exporting and normalizing it for analysis.
Historically, end users couldn’t connect the software systems within their management stack because vendors wanted to draw distinct lines in the sand with their competitors. Today, software providers serving commercial real estate clients are realizing that they must work together – even if portions of their platforms compete – for the betterment of their customers.
Contradictory as it seems, complex environments are a virtue when the goal is to seamlessly connect stakeholders and their preferred software. With so much at play, it is essential that everyone understands exactly what is needed for success and is motivated to work toward a large-scale, common goal. That provides strong incentive to open the connections between departments, external partners and their associated systems needed to run daily operations as effectively and efficiently as possible.
One World Trade Center in New York is a standout example of this. The owner, operator, major tenants and key vendors all use the AwareManager platform for day-to-day facility management software, yet there are integrations that connect directly with critical systems outside of our platform – namely accounting – to ensure that all the correct information is shared at the right time and with the right people.
With all that sensitive and essential information being used and stored, cybersecurity is, or should be on everyone’s mind. Given the headlines we see in every news cycle and the potential risks in the built environment. Creating secure, managed conduits between the various stakeholders with robust authentication and defined relationships makes it easier to identify suspicious activity. In other words, organized common ground carries less inherent risk than a chaotic environment of one-off integrations and redundant systems.
When these walls are broken down, critical context is added to the data for effective decision making. For example, think about energy management. Rather than looking at energy usage in a vacuum, facility managers should see how energy usage relates directly to tenant behavior. If energy data is overlaid with data from your facility management system, you can easily see the energy usage curve and how it affects both tenant satisfaction and the workload of your building staff by assessing the total number of hot and cold calls. This is incredibly important when you want to make decisions about cutting energy costs without impacting the tenant experience.
Solution providers are now putting the best interests of their clients first, enabling smarter decision making and more efficient operations based on data rather than instinct. That’s something we can all agree on.