A study of organisational response to the management of operational property assets and facilities support services as a business resource - real estate asset management
The research was driven by three objectives: • to clarify the nature and strength of the link between strategic business planning and the contributory role of the corporate real estate assets; • to model the management processes that are necessary for a proactive approach to real estate provision and their ongoing management as operational facilities; and • to develop an integrated management development model for real estate asset management that is built on continuous improvement. The underlying aim of the study is to develop models and frameworks that justify and provide for the competencies necessary for the continuous alignmof the operational real estate assets to changing business requirements. The above research objectives were operationalised by investigating three related organisational variables - structure, processes and competencies. The main findings reflect a situation in which organisations are looking to optimise on all its business resources. The dynamics of the market place and the pace of technological development are forcing many organisations to look at their operational assets more closely. The evidence from the case studies organisations supports the following: Structure - It is not so much the positioning in terms of closeness to corporate management, but the level of influence that real estate/facilities executives have on the corporate decision making processes that relate to operational facilities issues. Processes - A proactive management approach must provide for procedures that incorporate the strategic business intentions in facilities dimensions and be in a position to provide solutions to business needs. Competencies - It is incumbent upon the real estate/facilities department to understand the nature of the business they are supporting and develop competencies that support the corporate strategic intent. The research proposes an integrated resource planning framework that incorporates the requirements of three principal business resources; people, technology and property. The proposed framework regards Real Estate Asset Management, REAM, as an integrative planning and management process that considers the outcome in operational facilities provision as matching the requirements of people, technology and property; to consciously create the desired workplace environment as defined by real estate variables (via the strategic facilities brief) and facilities services variables (via the service levels brief). The proposed framework was validated against a panel of experts practising in the field of real estate and facilities management. The contribution in knowledge in the field may be viewed in terms of a critical examination of the role of operational facilities as a business resource and the implications this has on the practice of real estate asset management in an organisational setting.