Tech: A non-negotiable pillar in post-pandemic operations

Facilio CEO, Prabhu Ramachandran, on how technology is a “massive necessity” to thrive for the industry

Facilio founder and CEO Prabhu Ramachandran (pictured)
Facilio founder and CEO Prabhu Ramachandran (pictured)

As nations around the world begin to reopen their economies, property managers are faced with the challenge of securing workplaces and public facilities against a constant but invisible threat.

The complexity of managing CRE operations has suddenly skyrocketed, particularly at a portfolio scale.

So how does the real estate industry restart operations using building automation and workforces that were conceived in a very different world?

Facility operations is at a fork in the road and adopting tech driven operations and management is emerging as the strategy of choice, for the industry to thrive in the new normal.

Proactively unify and standardise operations across portfolios to meet the ‘new normal’ challenges

In general, legacy operations limited the transparency that real estate owners and operators had into their portfolios. The sheer volume of embedded automation and assets made it difficult to access real time system data.

Although innovations such as centralised operations and management platforms were already gaining ground, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated such digital transformation in the industry.

Making informed data-driven decisions is no longer just a matter of business optimisation. With governments and medical bodies constantly refining guidelines on combating COVID-19, agility is now the key differentiator for CRE businesses.

Understandably, tenant expectations too have transformed. Ensuring the highest possible standards in occupant safety has become of the utmost importance.

Balancing bottom-lines, while delivering such responsive services, is the need of the hour for real estate businesses in the post-pandemic world.

Property owners and managers need to secure occupants, enable optimal efficiency, and identify energy and cost savings, at the site level.

Tech enabled centralised dashboards, which use IoT based networks to normalise data streams across sanitisation, contact tracing of visitors and other safety protocols, are now an essential part of adapting to the new normal.

Tech is now a massive necessity to survive and thrive in this new reality

Real estate companies and developers will have to look at optimising margins and maximise profitability through efficiency in operations, in the post-pandemic new normal.

New constructions can leapfrog legacy models through tech-enabled smart operations, where data is core helps businesses acquire and retain tenants as a result of the highest standards in service quality, sustainability, and customer experiences.

However, the industry needs to enhance existing building stock as well. New projects and buildings today already implementing cloud and mobile-enabled solutions and taking the path towards data-driven operations for optimising efficiency.

In fact, large developers and real estate companies today are including modern solutions, like Facilio, to instill a digital O&M foundation as new facilities get ready to become operational.

A digital strategy, which enables the value-added insights necessary for post-pandemic facility operations, is beyond the scope of conventional CAFM and ERP solutions.

In particular, the facilities management function needs to be able to deliver truly agile services, with streamlined routines that prioritise customer needs, minimise compliance risks and integrate operations at scale.

Industry experts and CRE operators are turning to technology, for solutions that consolidate data-led decisions, targeted maintenance, rapid response to tenant requests and strict adherence to workforce KPIs.

An overview of the continuous value that digital technologies can help property owners and facility managers deliver includes:

How to reopen and restart properties:

•            Automation of hygiene management and disinfection routines.

•            Ability to share real-time hygiene, air quality and health updates with tenants.

•            QR-code based contact-less visitor management.

•            Pre-registration of visitor’s travel and health history.

•            Digital records of visitor access to spaces and assets.

Retool to adhere to the new SOPs and guidelines:

•            Proactive monitoring of compliance to HVAC and indoor air quality guidelines.

•            Bulk changes to multi-vendor portfolio automation.

•            Dynamic response to tenant requests and schedule changes.

•            Automation of trigger-based sequences.

Reimagine and rebuild for the future:

•            Centralised operational command center with 360-degree view of operations.

•            Standardized operations at portfolio scale.

•            Delivering a superior customer experience through frictionless operations

Customer Experience and Tenant Confidence will be the key brand differentiators

A new generation of end-users had already transformed the priorities that CRE businesses were striving to address, in the pre-pandemic scenario.

Post COVID-19, the term ‘customer experience’ has evolved to assume an even more demanding set of outcomes.

Restoring tenant confidence will be central to the fortunes of the CRE industry, in the new normal.

For value added facility services to truly make their mark, property managers will need to deliver consistent and flawless quality.

Taking a bottom-line perspective, the industry will also need to leverage every opportunity to enhance cost and consumption efficiencies.

Perhaps the most important value addition of the tech enabled model of CRE operations is the delivery of granular and contextual insights, allowing building owners and managers to be more agile and achieve these optimal outcomes, at portfolio scale.

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