But the adoption by the on-site teams has not gone well.

It’s a frustrating place to be in. You went through an exhaustive search and were very impressed with the reporting capabilities of the solution you selected.

You were excited to get a level of transparency you’ve never had before. In the back of your mind, you also figured some additional accountability could go a long way to improving outcomes.

There’s just one little problem. You know if your on-site teams don’t adopt the solution, the reporting capabilities will be useless.

The truth is, from a technology perspective, there’s always a natural tension between serving users and serving managers. It almost always boils down to robustness of reporting versus ease of use.

The natural tension

One of the most common reasons cited by commercial real estate companies for the failure of new technology is a lack of adoption by the end users. Data isn’t inputted. Records aren’t kept up to date. And the value of the whole system is subsequently undermined.

It happens in leasing. It happens in property management. It happens in engineering.

The challenge that portfolios face is the very nature of the beast itself – operators are trained and rewarded on fixing problems in the real world, not behind a screen. Many operators would rather “do the work” than record their activity and log data.

Like the classic salesman, who would rather be making calls out of his rolodex than using a CRM, it’s only natural to resist change when you’ve been doing something successfully for a long time.

But today, no modern organization would dare run their sales department without a CRM, it has become an inseparable extension of the sales person across every industry.

Like it or not, the same is going to happen to operators of commercial real estate.

In an increasingly complex and competitive environment, there is simply too much for one person to remember. Without a system of record, follow-up items inevitably fall through the cracks, crucial information is forgotten, and deferred maintenance becomes a vicious cycle. This all get compounded when there’s pressure to reduce costs and higher expectations from tenants.

All that said, the answer is not to force a solution on operators. In reality, their pushback is often valid.

A real world example

Let’s look at building maintenance from two perspectives: the operator’s and the manager’s.

The operator’s ideal version of the technology revolves around simplicity. Ideally, it would be a checklist that says:

[ ] Elevator Room Check

[ ] Monthly Boiler Maintenance

[ ] Makeup Air Unit Inspections

[ ] etc.

That way, they can keep track of what they need to do, but there’s no extra complexity. They know what is involved in an “inspection” and they know where every makeup air unit is in the building.

But the manager wants so much more.

Under each of these action items, there’s ideally a checklist of tasks. For example, the Monthly Boiler Maintenance might include:

[ ] Exercise temperature & pressure device

[ ] Check fill valve operation

[ ] Check expansion tank system

[ ] Check operation of all safety devices

[ ] Check & calibrate gauges

[ ] Check & adjust fire ignition system

[ ] Check & adjust back pressure valves