In property and facilities management, three factors keep building owners happy: an efficiently run asset, high tenancy, and low operating costs. When all three are in play, properties can often achieve higher rents and positively impact an owner’s bottom line. Building owners have two choices in achieving these goals: develop property, facilities, and leasing management capabilities in-house; or hire a third-party real estate services firm.
In the latter case, third-party firms have to differentiate themselves—and today, it’s increasingly through technology. Three of the largest real estate service companies—JLL, CBRE and Colliers International—have launched or acquired their own technology platforms to better manage their clients' properties, investments and interests. Software investments like these demonstrate the industry's confidence in and need for intelligent, data-driven, technology solutions.
JLL’s Implementation of IntelliCommand
In 2011, JLL launched IntelliCommand, a Pacific Controls-powered integrated building management solution. The software partners cloud-based, smart-building technology with a team of engineering and operations professionals to enable 24/7, real-time remote monitoring and control of facilities and portfolios worldwide. When there’s a problem within a building, the team is able to resolve issues remotely or deploy on- or off-site building engineers or facility managers to fix the problem.
Proctor & Gamble was the first company to deploy IntelliCommand; the pilot spanned 12 buildings totaling 3.2 million square feet, including its global headquarters campus in Cincinnati, numerous laboratories, a key technical center, and a major mixed-use complex. Within 11 months, the portfolio achieved a 10% energy savings, and in certain properties, as high as 16%. The payback on P&G’s initial investment was a mere three months, earning JLL an Environmental Leader Product Project Award in 2014. The firm has since deployed IntelliCommand into 120 buildings totaling 28 million square feet across its management portfolio.
CBRE’s Acquisition of Johnson Controls Global Workplace Solutions
In September, CBRE closed on the acquisition of Johnson Controls’ Global Workplace Solutions business, a market-leading provider of enterprise facilities management solutions for global corporations and other large occupiers. “We are helping our clients to enhance their competitive position by aligning every aspect of how they lease, own, use, and operate real estate,” said CBRE president & CEO Bob Sulentic upon the acquisition.
As part of the deal, CBRE and Johnson Controls—a global technology and industrial leader that specializes in building efficiency—forged a 10-year strategic relationship in which CBRE will provide Johnson Controls with a full suite of integrated corporate real estate services on more than 50 million square feet of real estate. In return, Johnson Controls joined CBRE’s network of suppliers and partners and will offer its lowest available commercial pricing on HVAC, building automation, security, fire, and related services to CBRE’s clients and managed properties worldwide. The companies are also jointly funding a building innovation lab that will advance a new generation of workplace solutions to help clients attain their performance goals.
Colliers International’s Development of Colliers 360
Colliers International’s clients can implement Colliers 360, a fully integrated, scalable dashboard and analytics technology that addresses corporate real estate and facilities needs. Its components can be used together or as standalone applications; overall, Colliers 360 is customizable to each client’s specific needs and can be integrated with preexisting technology.
Among its features are Colliers 360 Team Sites, a web-based portal that allows account team collaboration and where members can access up-to-date information regarding any ongoing initiatives; Colliers 360 Business Intelligence, which incorporates key data from across clients’ enterprise and third-party data sources into one holistic view of actionable measures and key performance indicators; and Colliers 360 WorkTrac, a fully integrated workplace management solution that handles property and lease administration as well as financial, contact, document, asset, maintenance, operations, and contract management.
The New Industry Paradigm
With more than 40 billion square feet under management between them, these three real estate giants need to be exceptionally efficient and diligent. Their investments in real estate technology illustrate the widespread acceptance of cloud-base software as the new industry paradigm. Third-party service firms are joining an already extensive number of real estate owners, operators, and investors using technology to enable transparency, mitigate risk and ensure accountability.