In planning for today’s workplace and the workplace of the future, understanding your current real estate inventory is paramount, but learning how to optimize your space is even more crucial. Leaning on technology, such as a space and occupancy management software, can not only help organizations understand their inventory, but it can also improve overall business performance.
Using a space management solution will allow your real estate and facilities teams to better manage the organization’s most expensive line item in the budget — your real estate portfolio. Additionally, centralizing your portfolio can provide robust insights into occupancy and vacancy as needed and support data-driven real estate decisions such as right-sizing your portfolio.
While these points are imperative to the future workplace, many organizations fail to realize that finding the correct tool is only half the solution for truly centralizing your real estate portfolio. The software solution and the data it houses are only going to be as good as the processes in place to ensure the information remains fresh and relevant to truly be prepared for when the C-Suite calls.
Beyond the software itself, here are three considerations to help ensure the solution you choose will benefit you and your organization for years to come.
1. Software Ownership and Executive Sponsorship
To get the full benefits from a space management solution, it’s important to have executive sponsorship from someone in leadership who understands the value of the data outputs and can identify a person or small team of people who will take ownership of the software. Ownership involves developing a deep understanding of the system and its capabilities and creating a vision for how it can benefit your organization. Typically, this person sits within the real estate or facilities team and can identify others within the organization to help maintain various data points, provide internal support, and work directly with the software provider to ensure that your organization is maximizing the system’s potential and providing maximum value.
When looking to capitalize on your solution ownership, ensuring your software is accompanied by a service provider is key to long-term success. Finding a partner and a team of experts, such as our Wisp Client Success Managers, can expand your overall portfolio knowledge. With the right team, your organization will be able to obtain industry-based insights, set and understand specific scopes of work, implement data maintenance processes, and learn best practices to successfully maintain your software.
2. Developing Strong Processes and Data Governance
The key to a successful implementation and beyond is to develop strong processes and data governance from the very beginning. New software at the office is like a new car — it’s fun, shiny, and exciting, but after a while, the shine fades, and the excitement you initially felt dissipates as your focus returns to the daily functions of your job. The software fades further and further into the background, and before long, you don’t think about it until it’s needed. However, just like the car, the software needs regular maintenance to ensure it is functioning properly, so it’s ready when it’s called into action. This is why the initial processes and data governance play an integral role in the software’s success; without clean data, the software is not going to provide accurate insights when called upon without the proper maintenance. Leaning on industry experts can also help prioritize the data and set your organization up for success.
Floor plans are the first priority when looking at various data points. Identifying who will be responsible for maintaining the floor plans and ensuring seating charts are up to date will be your first line of defense for accurate data. We know space management is never a “one-size-fits-all” solution, as needs differ greatly from one organization to another. For example, an organization with one office and a rarely updated seating chart may only need a few people to ensure their software system remains reliable and up to date. Conversely, a multinational corporation with three dozen offices and a fluid seating chart will likely need an engaged team throughout their entire portfolio.
Defining expectations for how often the data should be reviewed for accuracy also needs to be a high priority. Data should be reviewed on a regular cadence, but that cadence is unique to each organization. If your office is smaller and employees change seats infrequently, your data updates can take place a few times a month to be sufficient. However, a larger organization with more active moves will require system administrators to log in weekly or even daily to update floor plans and review various pieces of data.
Another way to ensure the accuracy of your data is to consider additional integrations to streamline processes and create a more holistic view of your real estate portfolio. Integrating with other data sources, such as your organization’s HRIS tool, will alleviate the need to manually update employee data in your space and occupancy software, saving you time and ensuring your employee data is always as up to date as your HR team’s software. Some organizations also use this as an opportunity to centralize their lease information to provide greater visibility into rental rates and key dates, such as commencement and expiration dates.
3. Monitoring Data for Accuracy
After you’ve implemented your new space and occupancy management software and identified who is managing the data, it’s important to regularly review your processes. Gathering everyone who is involved on a monthly or quarterly basis can be extremely helpful. This time together can be spent reviewing processes, data inputs and outputs to determine they remain relevant, communicating any changes in expectations or data, and answering questions from the team to ensure they understand their role and what is expected of them.
Another great way to monitor data accuracy is by employing your general population of employees to do it! This may seem counterintuitive as many teams want to hold their space management data tight to their chest. However, when you combine floor plans with people data the biproduct is a wayfinding tool. Giving employees read only access to the floor plans not only helps them find their way around the office, but also empowers them to identify inaccuracies in the seating chart or the floor layouts, leading to more accurate data as changes often occur frequently and quickly.
As you implement your new space and occupancy management software, remember implementation is only the first step. Defining who will own the tool, what outcomes you’d like from it, and who will maintain it (and how often) will set your organization on the right path to centralizing your real estate portfolio. In turn, you will set up your space management solution for success, which will provide you and your organization with years of reliable, relevant data to support data-driven decisions that can enable strategic long-term planning.