Diane McKinney, Jason Moersch and Karen Reenan
For asset owners, transitioning a building to outsourced management or from one third-party provider to another can seem like a formidable endeavor. Before putting their property, systems and people in the hands of a new management company, owners want to feel confident in the provider’s ability to negotiate the transition without compromising operational continuity, data integrity or tenant service.
Factors such as the asset class, total square footage, and the number of buildings in a transitioning portfolio, as well as the services to be performed, complexity, and time requirements generate the need for a customized strategy.
Successfully navigating the complexities and time constraints of a transition demands cross-functional expertise and high-level collaboration. A dedicated transition team has proven to mitigate the challenges of switching providers by employing a methodical onboarding process powered by a strong partnership between business line leaders, subject matter experts and the building owner.
Transwestern’s Transition Management team approaches asset onboarding from a people-centric perspective, building success through intentional collaboration, transparent service delivery and extraordinary attention to detail. Navigating hundreds of asset transitions, Transwestern has developed best practices for protecting owners and their assets through the onboarding process.
Lead With Experience
Asset transitions are as unique as the properties themselves. Factors such as the asset class, total square footage, and the number of buildings in a transitioning portfolio, as well as the services to be performed, complexity, and time requirements generate the need for a customized strategy.
An experienced, high-functioning transition team engages experts across multiple disciplines, including accounting, compliance, engineering, human resources, lease administration, sustainability, and technology to develop a project-specific framework that drives onboarding success.
In most asset transitions, onboarding must be completed within 30 to 45 days. In more demanding situations, completion can be required in as little as one week. For this reason, unified collaboration, transparent communication and a tightly orchestrated process are imperative to facilitate a smooth progression to the finish line.
Put People First
An asset transition can be a disruptive event for building staff. In the absence of clear and proactive communication, confusion and unease can abound.
Make retaining onsite team members a top priority during onboarding. These professionals are intimately involved with the day-to-day operations of the building and possess valuable institutional knowledge of the facility and its tenants. Set up staff for success by leading them through a smooth onboarding process that acclimates property teams to a new company and organizational structure.
Ensuring technology like usernames and emails, computers and application access are ready on the first day contributes to staff feeling like part of the team and mitigates downtime. In addition, orientation activities, group training, and individual, high-touch contact during the first 30 days create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.
Establishing a culture that from day one reinforces ongoing professional growth, mentoring and collaboration will build trust, enhance skills, and aid long-term retention of talent. Providing career mobility and enhancement drives employee satisfaction.
Enable Resilient Building Operations
Understanding a client’s needs from a technology perspective informs the transition strategy. From accounting management and reporting software to building systems and equipment to networks, firewalls and switches, a comprehensive audit of existing technology is performed to determine asset conditions and accommodation needs.
Enabling technology and systems continuity during and after a transition is a critical component of the process and includes safeguarding assets from forces like cyberattacks, security breaches and vendor fraud. Knowing the common ways cybercriminals breach systems, such as through login and code weaknesses and insecure software, IT professionals on the transition team can identify exposure and eliminate vulnerabilities during the initial assessment of the building infrastructure, hardware and software.
Instituting data migration processes governed by best practices and verification controls ensures the accuracy and integrity of personal, company and financial information through the transition. Experts on regulatory compliance requirements are mandatory for addressing the needs of complex financial organizations and companies based outside the U.S.
A well-executed strategy prioritizing people, property and processes positions a provider to deliver a more effective and secure onboarding experience for building owners, onsite staff and tenants.
During and after onboarding, site surveys are leveraged to optimize building performance. Assets and processes are analyzed through a technology-agnostic lens to uncover flexible opportunities to enhance operational efficiencies by improving system reliability and resiliency.
Systems are unified, where possible, and synchronized to maximize functionality and provide a seamless operational experience across the asset. Strategies for integrating new and existing applications are implemented to streamline productivity. Technology and automation tools eliminate manual tasks, reduce overhead costs, increase accuracy, provide real-time visibility, and limit fraud risks.
Delivering a Better Transition Experience
Transitioning an asset is a multilayered event with unique considerations and hurdles at every stage. Applying a systematic approach to the transition management process led by an experienced and dedicated transition team instills confidence by enabling operational continuity, increasing efficiency, and mitigating risk. A well-executed strategy prioritizing people, property and processes positions a provider to deliver a more effective and secure onboarding experience for building owners, onsite staff and tenants.
Vice President, Business Solutions
Vice President, Technology Services
Senior HR Business Partner, Asset Services