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Robotic process automation in corporate real estate and facilities management

Digital management applications of RPA in CRE and FM

Robotic process automation (RPA) is changing the way businesses are run, and soon it will change the way corporate real estate (CRE) and facilities management (FM) organizations are run. Are you ready?

Endless possibilities of RPA in corporate real estate and facilities management

Imagine a future where:
  • Your corporate real estate and facilities management (CRE and FM) time and talent are maximized
  • Your team is focused on strategic insights and decisions, rather than on routine tasks
  • CRE and FM data is harnessed real-time to understand how your portfolio, sites, and organization are performing
  • Disparate data sources and systems are interconnected and optimized

Far from being an alternate reality, your CRE and FM organization could be applying digital management strategies to operate this way now with the help of RPA. RPA is a tool that can help CRE and FM organizations drive improved performance by automating repetitive manual tasks traditionally performed by humans.

Here we address several questions commonly asked by CRE & FM organizations:
  1. What is RPA and what does it do well?
  2. Where can CRE and FM organizations leverage RPA?
  3. How does RPA create value?
  4. What are some examples of RPA implementations in CRE and FM?
  5. What are the elements of a realistic and executable RPA roadmap?

Keep reading below to learn more, and download part one and part two of our article series that explores each of these questions in more depth.

What is RPA and what does it do well?

RPA involves the deployment of software robots, called “bots,” to lower the cost and increase the effectiveness of routine clerical processes. RPA bots are most effective when the tasks and processes they perform have the following five key attributes: highly transactional, time-consuming, highly scalable, low-complexity rules, and highly standardized.

For CRE and FM organizations, the RPA capabilities could be transformative too. Many CRE and FM organizations today have more business processes, data, systems, technologies, and regulatory requirements than ever before, but they don’t have expanded IT budgets and personnel to absorb the extra work.

As an alternative, governed by pre-defined rules, RPA solutions can perform routine, repetitive clerical tasks. By deploying bots to handle such tasks, CRE and FM organizations can reduce operating costs while reassigning personnels' responsibilities to higher value tasks. RPA can become the foundation for more sophisticated digital management applications, such as cognitive automation and machine learning, which can augment human decision-making and take on more complex tasks. RPA can be embedded in traditional business operating models, where bots could perform tasks, such as:

Receiving and collating data via email/workflow

Copying, pasting, and inspecting data

Moving files and folders

Logging into web and enterprise applications

Filling in forms and transferring data to templates or systems

Mining and extracting data from the web

Performing calculations and pre-defined adjustments

Extracting structured data from documents and source systems, and uploading, emailing, and reporting information 

Collecting social media statistics

   

Where can CRE and FM organizations leverage RPA?

The suitability of RPA “bots” for a given process is expressed in terms of the percentage of tasks or steps, within an end-to-end process, that can be automated:

  • High-RPA suitability: more than 70 percent of steps in the process can be automated
  • Medium-RPA suitability: 30 to 70 percent of steps can be automated
  • Low-RPA suitability: fewer than 30 percent of steps can be automated

The chart below presents the RPA suitability heat map for selected CRE and FM processes.

 

At the task level, some notable examples are:

  • Maintaining a real estate portfolio with up-to-date space, occupancy, and cost data
  • Uploading data to an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) or other digital management or portfolio management tools
  • Assembling and organizing performance management data from multiple disparate systems to create regular reports
  • Managing additions, edits, and deletions in security and building access systems
  • Compiling utility bills, occupancy data, and weather reports to assess energy consumption and management
  • Creating standard contracts for leases and constructions bids, especially those involving large numbers of vendors
  • Maintaining customer and vendor data

How does RPA create value?

Real-world RPA success stories within CRE & FM

What are the elements of a realistic and executable RPA roadmap for CRE & FM?

A successful RPA transformation begins with a holistic vision of what activities and resources are required, and how they are sequenced and organized.

CRE & FM organizations can start the RPA journey by:

  • Intaking RPA opportunities and defining the possible cost-benefits across processes
  • Implementing a detailed project plan to build bots and then deploying through a robust testing protocol
  • Operating the automated process and sustaining value through a continuous performance methodology

Below are some broad steps for deployment; to help increase the effectiveness of the adoption roadmap, we have noted some key activities and success factors for each step.

Now is the time: An RPA call-to-action for CRE and FM

RPA represents an exciting opportunity for CRE & FM organizations to reduce costs and drive higher levels of performance. Thanks in part to other enabling functions, which are already leveraging RPA to impact both cost and quality across large scale deployments, CRE & FM organizations can become “fast followers” in the RPA movement.

RPA is a readily available capability with the potential to create a significant shift in a CRE & FM organization’s cost structure while improving responsiveness to internal client demands. As part of a broader journey, RPA can also lead CRE & FM organizations to use analytics and machine learning capabilities, leveraging data from across the enterprise to improve operations, occupancy levels, service delivery, and workplace experience.

The future is now. It’s time to get started. 

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Let's talk

Contact us to learn more about the benefits and opportunities of RPA in corporate real estate and facilities management.

Francisco J. Acoba
Managing director
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Tel: +1 212 618 4432
Mobile: +1 202 368 9406

Abby Levine
Principal
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Tel: +1 213 553 1921
Mobile: +1 310 498 5593

Alina Tousain
Manager
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Tel: +1 617 449 5223
Mobile: +1 617 369 2311

David Kaplan
Manager
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Tel: +1 404 220 1982
Mobile: +1 678 576 9588

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