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Inward Investment Guides
CIOs at the Forefront in Real Estate Decision-Making
When it comes to real estate strategy and implementation, the CIO's role has become indelible and has fostered a new level of partnership with commercial real estate service providers.
Bill Knotts, Senior Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. (Fall 2011)
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A nonproprietary global technology platform houses leased and owned portfolio planning information and serves as a document repository, with powerful dashboards for KPI (Key Performance Indicators) reporting, and much more.
Real Estate Service Providers Respond
Just as corporate real estate executives and CIOs have taken on increasingly important and interrelated roles at the c-suite level, commercial real estate service providers have also evolved to accommodate today's technology-reliant business world. Real estate service providers such as Cushman & Wakefield, for example, are engaging high-level technology offerings to help clients address growth and complexity within their portfolios.

For instance, a global client company selected a handful of real estate services providers (including our firm) to represent their interests on a worldwide basis. As a result, the company successfully secured best-in-class representation and service delivery by region. However, it did not have the ability to link these providers to ensure seamless, consistent reporting and adherence to the organization's strategic corporate real estate objectives. A global technology platform within which all of the providers could operate was needed. Cushman & Wakefield subsequently employed a nonproprietary, web-based application to bridge the gap between this organization's providers, and wrapped the platform around its full scope of services.

The system employed integrates directly with the organization's enterprise technology. It houses leased and owned portfolio planning information and serves as a document repository, including everything imaginable - from scanned leases and abstracts, strategic plans, and aerial photos, to status reports and powerful dashboards for KPI (Key Performance Indicator) reporting, and much more. Information can be duplicated in the associated region's native language and English, depending on availability of documents. Most importantly, this tool is available on a 24/7 basis to all service providers globally for centralized, consistent global tracking and reporting. Advances in technology have enabled the company's corporate real estate group to operate more effectively, and therefore support its business objectives as a global evolving-market leader.

Ultimately, it is incredibly interesting - if not a bit overwhelming - to look at how the economic cycle, real estate, and technology are all interwoven. Through the past five years, we have seen the negative, the positive, and everything in between throwing companies into accelerated decision-making processes in a risky business environment.

Technology will continue to push forward at an unfathomable pace, creating opportunities that we cannot even begin to anticipate. However, we can say with certainty that the role of the CIO has become indelible on the front line when it comes to real estate strategy and implementation. It is also fostering a whole new level of partnership and deeper involvement for commercial real estate service providers.

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Have questions, comments or concerns about this article? Submit to Ask Area Development here and the author or an expert from our network of site selection and facility planning professionals will answer:
Should CIOs be as critically involved in the location decision for a new manufacturing plant or industrial facility as they are in the location decision for a data center? Please provide an example of an industrial location decision that was focused specifically on a company's IT needs.
The more networked technologically the organization is relative to logistics, enterprise financial, POS systems and inventory tracking, the more often the CIO is involved in all core real estate decisions. More
- Bill Knotts, Senior Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.
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