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The CRE Agility Gap

In a recent survey of 87 major corporate real estate leaders, over two-third said that "agility" (within their portfolio and their department) is a strategic imperative, while less than 15% actually ranked themselves as successful on that front.


The survey probed on a defined set of 15 best practices and strategies to achieve agility - within a property portfolio, a CRE team, and the technology that enables the CRE team to manage the portfolio. These covered a wide range, including:

  • leveraging 3rd party partners,

  • succession planning,

  • job role cross-training,

  • use of BA tools,

  • pushing greater optionality within leases,

  • maintaining internal long-range plans, and

  • delivering free-address workspaces.

The research was a joint effort of CBRE and CoreNet Global, and the full report can be found here.

Appropriately, the respondents who self-identified as "highly agile" utilized all of the 15 best practice strategies more than less agile respondents, except on the use of internal long-range planning - which is still important in an agile world.

This massive gap in "desired vs. actual agility" is arguably the catalyst behind a number of disruptive businesses, such as WeWork, Convene, LiquidSpace, as well as other trends such as the increase in embedded outsourcing and leveraging advisory firms as true strategic partners - not just in-market tactical executors. It was not long ago that a company's physical footprint was considered extremely static, and the professionals who managed that portfolio would be suited to the long cycle time to make major decisions and complete projects that last for decades thereafter. But in just the last decade, the old "accepted constraints" for commercial real estate are going out the window, and the CRE professionals and their tools and techniques are now evolving as well.

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