When the definition of a rentable square foot means one thing in San Francisco and another in New York City, or that real estate deals done metrically in Europe won't calibrate with U.S. data base records measurements, it's clearly time for more consistency.
OSCRE, the Open Standards Consortium for Corporate Real Estate, is an industry-led organization that has formed around existing data and web standards groups in cooperation with a number of professional associations serving the corporate real estate and corporate asset management industry.
The new consortium will develop and introduce open standards currently not available to the industry that will provide a universal resource for the consistent preparation and delivery of electronic transactions, portfolio and facility management, process management, project management, performance metrics, communications, and other asset management needs.
Global Standards Initiative Emerging
Various interests are coalescing around OSCRE, which began as the CoreNet Global initiative known as e-CRE. CoreNet Global is the world's leading professional association for corporate real estate executives engaged in the management of the corporate workplace.
Among the prominent industry standards groups that have integrated with OSCRE is the U.K.-based PICES, the Property Systems Common Exchange Standard which has been focused on developing real estate and related operating standards for six years. Also joining the consortium are the U.S.-based Data Consortium and NAREIM. The new standards will be based on dot-xml technology in partnership with OASIS.
Several other leading corporate or commercial real estate-related associations are joining the international consortium with CoreNet Global and will possibly include BOMA, the Building Operating Managers Association; IFMA, the International Facilities Managers Association; ULI, the Urban Land Institute; and the AIA, the American Institute of Architects.
"The convergence of multiple organizations through OSCRE will reduce the complexity of buying and selling real estate, land and other assets that are non-core to most global enterprises' primary business focus," predicts John Igoe, Vice President of Real Estate and Site Services for Palm Solutions Corp. and Treasurer of CoreNet Global.
"The corporate real estate and asset management industries still lack a resource to fill a key need," according to Igoe. "That need is based on the length of time it takes to complete detailed real estate and other transactions due to the inconsistency of terminology and systems serving the industry across a range of geographic lines and industry categories. Data is not easily moved from seller to buyer as a result of these gaps, and it simply takes too long to do a deal in today's increasingly networked and globalized world."
Enabling Interoperability Across Platforms, Companies
Ultimately, OSCRE is expected to improve interoperability of real estate and other parts of the corporate infrastructure that fills the extensive strategic and operational support needs of the world's largest enterprises and their service providers. "Technology is the key to linking them all through process-oriented corporate real estate management, and OSCRE is that technology," observes Keith Perske, Manager of e-Solutions for Sun Microsystems.
OSCRE will become an important asset management tool with the capability of addressing the entire life cycle of a facility or some other corporate asset, adds Perske. "OSCRE will be designed as a work flow tool encompassing all of the now-disparate information that is exchanged from the time a facility is designed, built and occupied to the time it is replaced or redesigned. It will be a robust and sustainable organization that can be home for all real estate electronic data standards in all real estate sub-verticals and in all locales."
OSCRE will serve corporate real estate in the same way that COVISANT unifies auto industry standards or that SABRE has revolutionized airline industry transactions.
In much the same way, OSCRE constitutes an important transport mechanism for the transfer of data from company to company and from system to system, regardless of whether they are internal or external to the enterprise. This fluidity of data and information exchange will enable a significant trend toward the outsourcing of more non-core functions to the growing global service provider industries serving the internal needs of companies with worldwide operations, according to CoreNet Global's Corporate Real Estate 2010 industry initiative which incorporates the concept of interoperability across platforms, companies and regions.
How Companies Will Benefit
One example of how OSCRE will benefit corporations is by improving cash liquidity. By completing transactions and related functions faster and more efficiently, companies will move capital into place at a quicker pace, thus enhancing returns for investors, pension funds and REITS. "Ultimately, the standardization will create a valuation system that extends systems from sellers to buyers," says Perske, describing a system that readily recognizes information from outside the company but that can still be integrated within the finance and corporate real estate departments.
Industry groups in addition to companies with global or large regional operations that will benefit include owners of and investors in commercial and corporate properties, construction companies and architects, as well as service companies focused on lease management, facilities operations and planning. Regardless, they will all realize cost savings and other values through less labor and greater accuracy of data.
"We still need to know how to talk to each other, regardless of what technology we use or where we are based," Perske emphasizes. "How can our data talk to each other, otherwise?"