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Old School or Obsolete?

First, thanks to the RealMassive team for inviting me to guest blog. The instructions were simple: write something interesting about the leasing process or technology. Hopefully this post delivers.

I was recently asked when the corporate real estate industry would fully embrace technology. This is a tough question! My initial answer was that tech would be fully integrated once the decisions were being made by 30-somethings instead of 50-somethings. But once I really thought about it, I realized that it would happen sooner.

Corporate real estate will fully embrace technology when the occupiers/tenants demand it.

The major service providers are all investing in technology to improve the client experience and there was a great article this week on how tech will change brokerage. Countless technology companies are in the CRE space, trying to penetrate an industry that is slow to adapt. Landlords are investing in technology, but most of that investment is on the back end and not tenant facing.

But many of the tenants, especially the major occupiers, are doing business the same way they were in 1998 when I started in the business. They want the surveys to look the same. They want their financial analysis to look the same, and they want their deliverables to all look the same.

While they might think that they are “old school,” in my opinion, they are running the risk of being obsolete.

The tech is coming. It’s going to make the real estate process easier and better. It’s going to allow corporate real estate executives within large corporations to spend more time with their internal clients, shaping the business, and not working through details that can be handled in a more efficient manner. Once the c-suite has any exposure to a better process, especially one that doesn’t come at a high cost, what do you think they will demand?

In a time when employees don’t stay at one company for their entire careers, it’s even more important to be up to date on the latest tools. Why? What happens if someone joins your team and he brings a new tech tool with him? That could be good news, but wouldn’t it be better if it was your idea? And worse, what if your company is suddenly acquired by a company that has already embraced tech?

As I said earlier, tech is coming. It’s your choice whether to embrace it or ignore it. As a service provider, I want to work with the clients that push me to do a better job, to bring new tools to the table, and provide better service. Tech is the best way we can do that which is why I am always willing to make time to hear about the latest offerings in the market.

Are you?

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Jeremy Neuer is a Senior Vice President with CBRE in the East Brunswick, NJ office. He specializes in office leasing throughout New Jersey and also represents several large corporations on a national basis.