In theory, the goal of global facilities and real estate management is straightforward. According to Sanjiv Paul Singh, Executive Vice President of eCIFM Solutions, you need to ensure all people, places and things in your portfolio can produce the most value possible per square foot. At the root level, that means giving your staff enough room to work while also making sure they’re in close proximity to other team members as needed. Similarly, assets should be positioned and used where they’ll be put to best use. At the same time, the places in which your staff and equipment work should be reviewed regularly in terms of both utilization and cost-effectiveness. The ideal is to have enough vacant space in your portfolio to allow for flexibility in personnel and asset moves without leaving too much space—and paying for the privilege. Simply put: The goal is to reduce costs and improve ROI.
Again, that’s the theory.
In practice, effective global facilities and real estate management requires tracking as much information as possible about the staff and assets in your facilities; it also requires tracking information about the buildings themselves, including the leases for each facility. For global portfolios, the number of items requiring tracking and management can be immense, possibly involving thousands of different locations. The costs and legal requirements for all these items will vary by country—and sometimes even by the city or designated business zone. Managing these portfolios properly will involve multiple departments, including finance, accounting and legal. Maintaining separate systems for each department or global region is inefficient and unwieldy. To make sense of it all, you need to have that vast amount of data available in a single view.
If you’re a CFO, you don’t want to deal with multiple systems for each department and region; you want to streamline and organize everything as much as possible. That’s where an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) comes in. An IWMS like IBM TRIRIGA® helps track all the necessary data and provides you with a single view of your portfolio. It gives your people access to the data they need and lets them provide updated information about their specific facilities—giving you the best possible data to help you make accurate and informed decisions about your portfolio.
How an IWMS Enables Global Facilities and Real Estate Management
As an example of how an IWMS can enable global facilities and real estate management, let’s look at IBM TRIRIGA’s Real Estate Manager. This module allows you to view and select facility locations and negotiate and execute leases; you can also use TRIRIGA to manage lease payments and other accounting details. Like most functions in TRIRIGA, you can define owner and lessee responsibilities, so it’s easy to see who’s in charge of a given repair or any other facility maintenance issue. Such details are also made available to the staff members and departments that need them, keeping management and operations in sync.
That’s just within one module. Adding Facilities Manager gives additional visibility to space management, allowing you to use elements like computer-aided design (CAD) drawings to ensure you know exactly how much usable space is in a given facility when you lease. This way, you won’t have to rely solely on the property owner’s word. Again, it’s the ability to get the full picture from multiple angles from within any part of the IWMS that allows you to get the most value from your global portfolio.
Getting Everyone on Board
Prospective IWMS users are sometimes only concerned with the individual software modules and functions they already use on a regular basis. Individual systems are often built from scratch, adding users as needed; the information is isolated by definition. Those individual systems can be a single touchpoint within an IWMS—space management, for instance. To manage the whole portfolio properly, executives and their teams need the full utility of the system, not just the facilities or real estate module. An IWMS provides that utility for everyone within your organization who requires it.
Changing FASB Lease Accounting Standards Are an Opportunity
Lease accounting standards are undergoing significant changes, thanks to updates in regulations issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). According to the analyst report Working Smart: Value Management for Corporate Real Estate, which is based upon the results of a survey conducted by IBM and CFO Magazine, nearly half of the surveyed executives said they planned to update their real estate and facilities management systems to prepare for these changes in lease accounting rules. Nearly two-thirds of the executives said they had real estate holdings outside the US. Regardless of where their holdings are located, companies can use an IWMS to ensure FASB compliance.
Lease accounting is a great example of the way multiple IWMS elements can work together and help you discover opportunities to increase value. Often running to a hundred or more pages, a single lease can be a handful; managing all the leases in your portfolio can be daunting. If you have to constantly review every lease detail, you’re bound to miss opportunities. Companies can lose security deposits of $60,000 or more simply because they forget about them when moving to a new location. An IWMS can remind you of those types of details automatically when the time comes.
An IWMS Can Streamline Global Facilities and Real Estate Management
Managing global facilities and real estate is a complicated business. An IWMS can streamline the process, providing you with much-needed information all in one location, and all at your fingertips. Instead of overwhelming you with multiple systems and databases across multiple departments and locations, an IWMS can provide you with a simple and effective way to manage your data and make sure no valuable information slips through the cracks.
This post is based in part on an interview with Sanjiv Paul Singh, AIA, Executive Vice President of eCIFM Solutions. eCIFM’s global presence includes some of the world’s top IBM TRIRIGA developers. Contact us today to get the best data-driven decisions possible for all the facilities and real estate in your portfolio.