The New Normal

Achieving a True North Star(s) Strategy

Covid, Corona, Pandemics and the new normal for real estate. This article will focus on the new normal and offer a snapshot of our WINNIIO perspective on what needs to be done. And some ideas on where to get started.

“It’s not the data that companies have that will mean the world to them.It’s the data that companies don’t have that will change their life.”

I see this all the time. Companies are trying to use the data that they have to make better decisions. The information that they have collected and stored for ages on how they have been performing. Utilizing this data inside the silos where it was formed is almost useless. If they want to use the data to do something which they have always done, but better? Go ahead. Companies will move even faster on their dependency and might also move more quickly towards the end.

Companies need to realize that the future is changing and that they, as well as buildings, have to pass the test of time. Leaders and decision-makers need to be looking ahead. If companies don’t change anything, nothing will change.

Yes, companies do need to make data-driven decisions based on the data they do have. But they need to do it in a different context, not looking at it in silos; and not with the same people that are part of the problem. Decision-makers need to boldly go where they have not gone before. They need to invite other perspectives, more perspectives and promote curiosity and viewing problems from more ways than one.

A great way to start is by looking at the horizontal process and inviting all stakeholders to discuss the end2end process together. Using a round table approach where new input is allowed and debated. Because it’s the data they don’t have, that will change their life.

The two things for companies that want to get started, get going, and succeed with digitalization.

The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one. And by understanding there is a problem, there is hopefully room for some problem-solving. On the road to industry leadership, companies should start by doing two things.

  1. What is the organizational strategy, mission, vision?
  2. What are the top four problems today?

Number one – re-aligning corporate strategy to the true north star.

This might seem “fluffy” as hell to be honest, and you might be thinking that it does not have anything to do with you, or anything practical.

You could not be more wrong, and I will tell you why.

Have you seen that companies have a hard time justifying new IT investments? That the whole industry has a hard time changing? Why is that? What are the actual values real estate owners deliver to their tenants? For housing, it is probably offering a sense of security for people in the comfort of their own homes. And for commercial tenants, it could be that the buildings should help deliver services that lead to increased well-being and profitability for their tenants.

But today these companies probably say that they collect rent, and their strategies are all about saving money, and energy efficiency. They are not aligned with what their customers need, and therefore, not their buildings. And any investment made, cannot be justified, because they do not have a clue of what value they are failing to provide.  They are using the wrong metrics.

“By getting the strategy right, all investment decisions can now be justified towards the true north star.”

That is number 1. If the strategy is done correctly, everything else will have a more substantial likelihood of taking the company in the right direction. Without it, much-needed technology investments will never happen because they do not provide any justifiable ROI. But if the other option is bankruptcy, and not being relevant, the ROI will find itself rather quickly (hopefully). If nothing changes, nothing will change.

Number 2. The Four P’s. 

Now that the company understands what they should do/where they want to be in the future, they should see where their pain points are. Is it the people, the processes, the IT-systems, the culture, the hierarchy, or something else that they need? Maybe the assets?

Whatever it might be, they should get started somewhere. Usually, it’s best to begin to dig where processes stand, shave off 10 minutes on a process, start with the tasks that take the most time, the tedious tasks, or anything else that is a hindrance to the true north star. The benefits of starting with the low-hanging fruits are that it is easier to create champions of change in the organization and get a momentum going. If companies do not have top management buy-in, this is important. But it could also lead to places where companies do not want to be as summarized in my final words.

Don’t be useless – Conclusion and common pitfalls

The true north star for any company is to provide the value to their customer better, faster, and more efficiently than anyone else. And in today’s world, companies that work with buildings need to make the most of modern tools and technologies.

And it is up to the organization, usually the CEO and the Board to lead this way. If companies do not have management buy-in and start doing things on their own, things could backfire. And like Peter Drucker said,

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all” – Peter Drucker

Try to get management buy-in, or if that fails, do it anyway. It is better to do something than nothing and then fail fast. The capabilities companies working in the real estate sector needs to have are the same as the building that the tenants are requiring. Companies need to be flexible and to have the ability to adapt and leverage modern technology for themselves as well as for their customers. If companies do not work digitally, whatever that means for the organization or the customers, companies will soon find themselves out of a job, or an asset, or both. The future is based upon adaptability and creating resilient companies and buildings.

Buildings are  part of a larger piece in the whole Smart City puzzle where technology is a small but essential piece.  Strategy, people, knowing where companies are, where they want to go, as well as how to get there before anyone else does, is the key.  Achieving digital leadership requires modern tools as well as partners in an ecosystem, leveraging unique skill sets and working with people in the know of what their True North Star is.

We are here to tell companies what the world is going to do a month, a year, a decade from now. WINNIIO has a complete understanding of what is needed to stand out from the competition, advise on pros and cons, and be the strategic partner for both technology and organization-advice in a Smart World Environment (Construction/Industry/Smart Buildings and Cities).

Please reach out if you have any questions on how to get started, get going, or how to succeed in the next decade!


Nicolas Waern

Ecosystem Architect – Helping companies create optimal value in a Smart City Context


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