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Corporate Real Estate's Battle for Tech Talent

A rising demand for data and analytics expertise means the CRE function is waging a battle for tech talent against a host of competitors, from the tech industry, startups and service providers to other departments down the hall.

Directory 2016
Powerful data and analytics platforms offer powerful opportunities to mine business intelligence from corporate real estate (CRE) data—whether you’re locating a contact center, opening a new manufacturing location or choosing a new headquarters city. Yet to make it all work, you've got to have the tech talent to build, populate and optimize those platforms. With the lure of smarter CRE portfolio management, better energy efficiency, and more productive employees, CRE leaders are actively recruiting data scientists who can fire up data-informed decision-making.

"We've been bringing people into the firm that have deep data backgrounds, so they understand data protocols, data governance rules, and how you manage huge pools of data," says John Forrest, CEO of Corporate Solutions, Americas, JLL. "It's about bringing in new people with those skills who may not know very much about the core product of real estate at all."

This rising demand for data and analytics expertise means the CRE function is waging a battle for tech talent against a host of competitors, from the tech industry, startups and service providers to other departments down the hall.


Corporate real estate departments are going head-to-head with the rest of the business world for the tech talent it needs to bring richer CRE data into the boardroom.


How can CRE leaders compete? One key way will be to show the talent that commercial real estate is in the midst of an exciting period of technology innovation, just as the retail sector and financial services have been, suggests Richard Brown, Global Head of Business Intelligence and Analytics, JLL, whose own background is in business analytics.

"One of the things that attracted me to the real estate industry is that it's beginning to collect massive amounts of data," says Brown. The fact that the industry is already doing innovative things with data—such as leveraging sensor data and machine learning—will help draw in tech talent, he adds.

The pace of innovation is likely to increase, too, considering that C-suite support is demanding more from CRE data, including sophisticated metrics and predictive analytics that will support operations, recruiting and financial goals, according to a Forrester study commissioned by JLL.

With the right talent and technology, CRE will no longer be limited by traditional metrics, like cost per square foot, but rather by such values as productivity or employee satisfaction. As Lee Utke, Senior Director of Global Real Estate for Whirlpool, says, advanced analytics allows for translating 'real estate data speak' into the language of the corporate boardroom.

The CRE sector is building new platforms to convert meaningful CRE data into new business insights, going well beyond reviewing isolated historic trends to effectively visualizing any possible scenario. Now it's time to recruit the talent to star on those promising platforms.
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