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Corporate Executive Survey Commentary: Emergence of Big Data Affects Respondents’ Priorities

The emerging use of “big data” in the past two years has already had an immediate impact on corporations, which is reflected in the increased importance of availability of advanced ICT services, according to Bill Luttrell, senior locations strategist at Werner Enterprises.

Q1 / Winter 2013
27th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives and 9th Annual Survey of Consultants

Brett HunsakerSurvey Results Point to a "Positive Hold"
Brett Hunsaker, executive vice president and regional managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
Bill LuttrellEmergence of Big Data Affects Corporate Survey Respondents' Priorities
Bill Luttrell, senior locations strategist at Werner Enterprises
Ed McCallumA Lackluster Recovery
Ed McCallum, senior principal at McCallum Sweeney Consulting
Christopher B. SchastokCorporate Survey Results Mirror General Market Trends
Christopher B. Schastok, vice president at Jones Lang LaSalleg
Andrew ShapiroIncentives Are Still Important
Andrew Shapiro, managing director at Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company
Thomas StringerCorporate Survey Reflects the New Economic Normal
Thomas Stringer, Business Advisory Services, Ryan & Company
The Area Development 2012 Corporate Survey reflects some interesting movements compared to prior year surveys. The greatest movement up the list was that of the availability of advanced ICT services from 13th place to 4th place. While data centers and call centers have been the main drivers of this criteria entering the top 10, the virtual explosion of data and the emerging use of “big data” in the past two years has already had an immediate impact on corporations and the need for advanced connectivity wherever they locate — rocketing this new age criteria to fourth place on the list. In particular, e-commerce, a large ITC user, is here and making major impacts on business.

The high ranking of occupancy or construction costs (5th place) plus the need to move quickly has added greater importance to the finding of existing facilities (i.e., available buildings, which moved from 15th to 8th position), particularly for buildings 300,000 square feet and larger. Timing is also pushing the need for fast-tracking projects (i.e., expedited or “fast-track permitting now at number 15, moving up two notches from number 17). As residential construction rebounds, overall construction costs are going to rise.

Surprising is the downward movement of two logistics-based criteria — proximity to major markets along with inbound/outbound shipping costs. This may be explained by the significant decrease of manufacturing respondents over the past three surveys and significant drop in warehouse distribution respondents compared to last year (from 22 percent down to 9 percent), keeping in mind that logistics plays a very minimal role in other types of activities.

Also remember, criteria important to commercial real estate users (e.g., BPOs/call centers, headquarters) are very different than those that are important to industrial users (e.g., manufacturers, warehouse/distribution facilities) so the respondent pool greatly impacts the survey conclusions. However, some criteria overlap across all functions. This is why availability of skilled labor and highway accessibility are consistently among the top-ranked factors.

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