More than 600 of the nation’s top real estate managers recently set out to help define the future agenda for the real estate management profession. As members of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), this group ranked technology as the number one issue confronting managers of commercial properties that are challenged to stay on the cutting edge. Three other key strategic issues also were identified: development of a qualified work force, particularly in the midst of changing demographics; heightened business competition resulting in declining margins; and managing risk in a post-9/11 environment.
For TFM‘s look at how professionals need to prepare for challenges, see “Can Facility Managers Afford NOT To Train Their Staff–And Themselves” by Steven Ford.
Consensus was achieved in defining specific needs underlying the four strategic issues facing the industry:
* First, operational productivity and strengthening customer relationships through technology are among managers’ priorities. As business pressures rise, real estate managers are looking for ways to utilize technology to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
* Next, changing demographics and psychographics as well as declining profit margins are causing managers to focus more on attracting, developing, rewarding, and retaining qualified staff. This requires finding and developing the right people for all jobs as well as retaining them in the face of higher labor costs and competing career options.
* Business competition also ranked as a high-priority issue as real estate managers deal with shrinking margins, intensifying competition, and growing owner demands. As well, they must consistently demonstrate the worth of the value-added services they provide to their clients and employers.
* Finally, an increasingly critical issue is that of managing risk in a post 9/11 environment. Real estate managers must grapple with rising insurance costs, risk management, liability changes, and security concerns – both for the properties they manage and the businesses they run.