Planning doesn’t have to be the enemy of agile

What should real estate and workplace planning look like in an agile organization? 

As your organization's business needs change, can your real estate and workplace planning keep up?  Unassigned seating provides some flexibility.  As team composition changes, just show up to work and sit with the new people on your new team.   

What happens when changes are larger:  there aren't enough seats together for your new team, the new team must consolidate people from several different floors, or your team can't find a conference room for the all of the time you need to be together.  Where do you go now? 

In response to space utilization measures that show most seats are only occupied 40% to 60% of the time, many organizations are moving to unassigned seating and activity-based workplace strategies, which often lead to less total space and less workplace flexibility as needs change.  

If space planners need to provide direction, will you get an answer quickly, or will slow, time-consuming planning processes delay consolidating your new group in one place?

Is this your experience?  If so, Core Planning can provide real-time planning tools to transform real estate and workplace planning in agile organizations.  Contact me at or 720.201.4487.

For more thoughts on planning for agile organizations, take a look at Allessandro Di Fiore's Harvard Business Review article "Planning Doesn't Have to Be the Enemy of Agile.


Real estate and workplace optimization requires more than sensors and IoT

With the flood of new technology solutions to improve space usage and management, “optimize” seems to be the word of the day. As one example, the business press highlighted a recent acquisition target as providing “software that optimizes offices.” In fact, the acquired company provides meeting room scheduling, admittedly very good scheduling, but not what most data scientists would define as true optimization and not what most of us would call “offices.” Similar examples abound in real estate and workplace software descriptions. 

Certainly new workplace software and tools are valuable. Sensors, IoT systems and software, and mobile apps that show workers’ locations provide better data on space usage. Office and meeting room schedulers improve efficiency in finding workspaces and coworkers. These tools can show opportunities and provide “actionable insights.” In simple situations, this information may be enough for optimization. In complex situations, where there are many different ways to take advantage of these opportunities, much more is needed for “optimization.” Overlooking other better solutions can cost millions.  

As real estate users face increasing competition, rising real estate costs and constant pressure to be more responsive, most organizations don’t have the luxury to be satisfied with just improvements. They don’t have the time for slow, inefficient manual processes to make decisions.

Most new real estate technology improves data collection and process efficiency. Core Planning goes further to bring new technology to decision making, moving beyond traditional spreadsheets and manual drag-and-drop solutions with advanced analytics. 

With Core Planning, we’ve found millions in overlooked cost savings and productivity improvements, all in minutes rather than the hours and days needed for traditional approaches. Projects can range from tactical blocking and stacking to multi-facility strategic analyses for campus, regional and national plans that support mergers, acquisitions, growth, and consolidations. Recommendations include which locations to acquire, dispose, renew, cancel, reconfigure and renovate and which business groups to relocate.

For more, please visit my Propmodo article, Real Estate and Workplace Optimization Requires More than Sensors and IoT.

Do you face bottlenecks in providing an agile workplace?

Organizations are improving workplace agility in many ways, including using unassigned seats, activity-based workspaces, alternative workplace locations, and better lease options for expansion and contraction.  But when business group needs change, are there situations when this flexibility is not enough to accommodate the changes and it takes too long for planners to find the right location?

Consider the situation when many business groups face changing space requirements.  One group is outgrowing its current space.  Another group is launching a new project, leading to workers from other parts of the organization joining this group.  Another group has finished their part of a project, with some workers transitioning to other projects. 

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How quickly can your planners identify new locations for these groups?  And how quickly can your workplace team relocate workers to provide these new consolidated locations?  Would your business groups be happier if their requests could be answered more quickly?  Even as many software providers provide visual drag-and-drop approaches, planners are still stuck in the world of time-consuming, trial-fit processes. 

Core Planning can address these questions and help your organization be more responsive by using technology that has led to faster, more efficient planning in logistics, supply-chain management and airline flight and staff scheduling.  In the past, we’ve used Core Planning on consulting projects to find occupancy and facility strategies for organizations facing major business changes, such as mergers and acquisitions, consolidations and realignments for campus and regional plans.  Now we are considering extending Core Planning so planners can use it on their own for more day-to-day activities. 

We’ve demonstrated Core Planning’s benefits on major projects for Google, Cisco, PacifiCare Health Systems (now part of United Health Group), SBC (now part of AT&T), and US Bank. With Core Planning, these planning projects were faster and easier, finding solutions in minutes rather than the hours and days needed for traditional manual trial-fit processes.  As well, these solutions improve space efficiency, and we often find solutions with millions of dollars in overlooked cost savings and productivity improvements. 

For day-to-day requests, Core Planning provides a way to find solutions in minutes, minimizing moves, maintaining important adjacencies, and optimizing space efficiency.  Enter new requirements in the model, including growth, adjacencies and specific space-types, and Core Planning’s search algorithms will sort through the possibilities in seconds to find the solutions that best meet business needs.

In addition, Core Planning can answer long-term strategic questions.  How much excess space should an organization have to facilitate these moves?  How does it differ for stable organizations versus rapidly changing organzations?  In your current plans, do too many extra workers have to move to make room for these changing groups?  Would it be worthwhile to have extra space so that fewer workers have to move to accommodate other business groups changing needs?  Would it be beneficial to be able to explain to corporate leaders why that extra space is needed? 

Technology is changing many aspects of corporate real estate management.  Core Planning provides solutions for challenges not addressed by other approaches.  If you are interested in learning more about Core Planning, please contact me, Dr. Jane Mather, at or 720.201.4487. 

Benefit from advanced analytics without sensors

Benefit from advanced analytics without sensors

The initiatives that are most often suggested for applying big data and analytics to real estate are energy management and equipment monitoring analysis.  These initiatives can be incredibly valuable, but they only address operating costs and they often require significant implementation costs, including investment in sensors.  Another popular analytics initiative, capturing real-time space usage, can also require additional investments in sensors.

Core Planning provides another way to apply analytics to your real estate.  Compared to energy and maintenance initiatives, Core Planning can provide more significant returns with significantly less implementation.

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Are you optimizing or improving space usage?

Are you optimizing or improving space usage?

Many software vendors claim their solutions optimize space usage. In complex situations such as campus and regional plans, it is more likely that they are “improving” space usage, not “optimizing" it.  With many different ways to relocate workers, free up vacant space, and dispose of it, planners may be overlooking ways to save even more money and improve productivity.

With its mathematical search algorithms, Core Planning builds on opportunities other systems find by searching through the alternatives to find the best ways to capitalize on these opportunities.  For example, on one regional plan we had 3,600 workers located across 17 properties, which included 9 lease expirations and 4 cancellations options. Core Planning identified an overlooked solution that saved an additional $1 million, reduced capital investments, and kept more workers in the suburbs where they wanted to stay.

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