Within effective relationships, everyone learns, and everyone teaches.
We All Learn by Listening
A conversation with one of our customers, Brian Tolman of Convene not only piqued our interest but sent us racing to the bookstore. Tolman recounted being “mesmerized” by stories in a book called “The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation” by Barbara White Bryson with Canan Yetmen. In his words, the authors recounted stories detailing,
"how owners have lost control over their projects, driven by the fact that they didn't have the ability to assess and analyze their projects in order to figure out a better way. Literally, every single project was starting over again for the very first time, and nothing was being learned and transferred from one project to the next."
Owners’ lack of oversight, the capacity to view, access, and collaborate based on their historical information, is a common theme across commercial real estate. Consolidating operations and processes, sharing organizational intelligence, and growing asset values can be more reliably accomplished while delivering projects in less time and at less cost, through the use of technology.
So, What is The Owner’s Dilemma?
Owners “Have Always Taken the Lion’s Share of the Risk.”
Someone has to be accountable. However, according to the authors, risk is not equally shared. Owners, particularly within commercial real estate, have surprisingly little insight compared to their level of accountability.
According to Ric Clark and Dan Kindbergh at Brookfield,
“contractors have maintained ownership over project data, even whilst the owners are the biggest stakeholders, holding the highest risk of return on an investment.”
Traditionally, every other participant in the asset lifecycle has more information but less accountability. There has to be a better way.
Connecting People, Data, and Insights are Critical to Success.
Like many industries, commercial real estate is riddled with silos, where people and information are walled-off from one another. Groups, aligned by function, location, or shared purpose, often fail to share or provide open access to the information people need to operate most effectively. According to White and Yetmen,
“The fragmented project environment often teems with misinformation, mis-coordination, and misalignments."
Our Primary Focus
“information-rich processes that produce predictable outcomes should perhaps be the primary focus of the owner.”
Because owners (and outcome owners) take the risks, the power of technology allows them to amass data, aggregate it, and leverage it to mitigate risk and better deploy capital, building lasting asset value. That capacity requires best-in-class interactions, processes, and data to stay up-to-date and in control of budgets, timelines, and potential issues.
Without transparency and visibility, lacking in the ability to capitalize on historical information when you need it is a recipe for failure.
"Trying to get a re-forecast of capital or of past and future spending was painful because nothing was in real time. So we first had to create and update all of these spreadsheets, and then try and think about the future. It just took too long.”
- MARC DOBER, VP of ASSET MANAGEMENT LIGHTSTONE
Data, insights and their value cannot be overstated. According to the Harvard Business Review, data is rapidly
“becoming a centerpiece of corporate value creation.”
Even more than corporate value, that data, and the ability to report and forecast based upon it are competitive advantages. Enhanced by technology, those insights could make the difference between leading in your markets, or not remaining competitive within them.
Envision greater operational proficiency across your organization. The ability to spot and measure trends, make adjustments, and quantify the return on original investments based upon insights available in real-time becoming key competency instead of a stretch performance goal. Add to that the value of a living repository of data, no longer static as of the EOY, EOQ, or EOM. Imagine the ongoing value of learning, virtually from every decision, or as long as you are gathering information? What could your team accomplish in that environment?
Technology is a powerful vehicle to harness and unleash the power of information valuable to commercial real estate owners, but often inaccessible to them. Stored in binders, or locked away in unlinked or forgotten spreadsheets, the data and insights that could help overcome the dilemmas owners face were close but unusable.