From cost center to strategic asset, CRE in 2020

June 18, 2012 / By  

By the year 2020, employees considered ‘digital natives’ will be served by a super nucleus of real estate, human resources and technology services, while sophisticated data platforms will transform real estate portfolio optimisation, strategic planning and workplace management alike. These are some of the findings of the CoreNet Global “Corporate Real Estate 2020: The Future of Corporate Real Estate and the Workplace”, a synthesis of view points from the top thinkers and strategists of the corporate real estate (CRE) world.

“The evolving transformation of CRE from cost centre to strategic asset comes alive in this research,” explains Jones Lang LaSalle Russ Howell, one of the project leaders. “Portfolio optimisation improvements and a renewed focus on using productivity and innovation-driven workplace strategies will be leveraged more frequently by corporations to achieve competitive success in the Year 2020. The C-Suite will increasingly turn to the CRE function as key strategic partners and stewards of the physical platform, to drive widespread transformation and total value creation.”

Other bold statements from this transformative research project include:

  • • Workplace: CRE professionals will evolve to “experience managers” offering employees an à-la-carte workplace experience with a menu of services, location and support.
  • • Technology: CRE strategy now includes “goodwill assets” that include third places (e.g. home offices and coffee shops) in supporting diversified workplaces that increase productivity, recognising the value of the worker ecosystem.
  • • Service delivery and outsourcing: (Big) data usage will become more widespread as a means of setting CRE strategy with companies maintaining control of data, but vendors taking a more active role in the management of that data stream.
  • • Portfolio optimisation: Significant progress will be made in developing a set of tools to achieve financial optimisation of the global portfolio in collaboration with corporate treasury, finance and taxation functions.
  • • Location strategy and the role of place: Supply-chain/logistics (including business continuity and disaster risk) will exert a dominant influence over industrial location strategy.
  • • Sustainability: Sustainability advocates, CRE teams will take on initiatives to positively change personal behaviour and standards surrounding sustainability.
  • • Enterprise leadership: CRE heads will be empowered as external and internal agents of change, brand managers, customer managers and productivity champions.

A good read for CRE executives as their role becomes ever more strategic.

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