Property Management: Acquiring the New Skill Set

By Jeff Hamann

Source: Commerical Property Executive

BOMA Chair & Chief Elected Officer Scott Jones and Cheryl Gray, president-elect of IREM, share insights into how the property manager’s role will change in a tech-heavy market.

Technological advances and other shifts in the market are shaping the role of the property manager. In order to perform in such a competitive environment, the professionals of the new generation need to have a diverse skill set. In addition to keeping up with tech, they must be able to successfully navigate the slowing economy.

Cheryl Gray, president-elect of the Institute of Real Estate Management, and Scott Jones, chair & chief elected officer of Building Owners and Managers Association International, discuss the required expertise for future managers and how effective operations can help keep a portfolio above water even in lean times.

How do you foresee the role of property manager changing in the coming years?

Jones: The role of the commercial property manager has already changed greatly just in the past few years, and I believe we’ll continue to see more shifts in responsibilities. Since the Great Recession, property managers have been called to assume more duties, and as buildings continue to become more complex and technology driven, so too will the roles of those who manage and operate them. The property manager role will continue to evolve in a way that requires them to be masters of technology; interpreters of the data, metrics and analytics generated and captured by this new technology; and focal points of hospitality for their clients.

Gray: The role of the property manager is in constant evolution. Property managers constantly adapt to modifications made to the built environment through building codes, regulations, sustainability, security and myriad other issues. In the foreseeable future, customer service will continue to be one of the biggest changes, as property managers are moving from a “space-centric” focus to a “service-centric” focus.

Another area of change will be the increasing impact of technology. The skills and knowledge of property managers and building staff will need to continuously advance in order to keep pace with the disruptive impact technology will have on building operations and occupant expectations. The emerging integration of information and operational technology will disrupt how real estate teams and
IT departments within those real estate firms collaborate.

Finally, I foresee an increasing need for property managers to be able to manage all asset classes, with many new developments or redevelopments being mixed-use. It will no longer be adequate to simply know how to manage a residential asset or an office asset or a retail mall, as they are all being integrated into one complex.

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