Blog: Is it time for the industry to get serious about innovation & digital transformation?

In the scramble for income and yield protection in 2024, is this the year that the industry gets serious about innovation and digital transformation?

Andy Doyle, Director of Innovation, Grosvenor Property UK

Proptech may have been the buzzword of the last decade but today the opportunities to improve business performance through embracing data and digital processes in the lifecycle of buildings and place management are significant. 

Post COVID we’ve been exploring three areas to understand our business and customers better and make more evidence-led decisions in pursuit of our financial, environmental, and social impact goals. These include addressing cultural barriers to innovation, improving our use of data and insights, and investing directly into early stage companies to help overcome specific problems and enhance business performance. 

An innovation culture 

We’ve supported culture change through an employee-led investment programme called Future+; this addresses specific pain points and has been instrumental in changing attitudes to innovation, digitisation and data.  

Future+ has supported more than 160 trials including pilots of water leak detection technologiesdigital inspections of construction worksand using AI to access market comparables for investment decision-making. Nearly 100 were considered successfulwith over 60% now embedded into business-as-usual. Across all trials, this activity has saved us c.£750,000plus over 250 working days and c.900 tonnes of CO2e. 

Data transformation 

While technology can help us answer the big questions – the answers are only as good as your data. We are increasingly acting on the opportunity that good quality data and insight can offer us. 

Last year, we launched a business-wide effort to drive the level of insight and data-led decision making. In just a few months, we’ve already identified revenue generating opportunities and cost reduction by cleansing data and interrogating it differently. This has been no mean feat for a business where some assets have passed their tri-centenary.  

Direct investment 

As we know more about our data and performance gaps we are trialling new solutions. But we are not just acting as a clientWe’re also investing in high potential early stage companies with new technologies or services that support our environmental, social and commercial goals. first amongst our UK peers. 

We only deploy capital into solutions weve trialled and see value in activating business-wide. In the last 18 months our UK property business has invested in four companies and embedded their technologies into our businessDemand LogicPupilQflow, and CommonplaceIn every case, we’ve seen tangible business benefit, alongside direct improvement in our data capture and use. 

This activity is complimented by additional investments Grosvenor has made globally in companies like Dash Living, Dayta AI and H3Dynamics in Asia and Brandlab360 and NearSt in the UK. These investments aim to give us exposure to the most innovative and leading-edge technologies which provide future sustainable growth opportunities across our business. 

Each of these workstreams demand resource and spare capital is scarce in the current market. Howevermany have been incredibly cost effective – the return on Future+ has significantly exceeded the overhead incurred to deliver the programme. And, through installing Demand Logic alone on our 44 largest properties in 2023 we enabled energy savings of up to 30% per building and saved c.£500,000 in annualised energy costs. 

Innovation and digital transformation are one of the most sustainable sources of competitive advantage. Our experience is that it has fostered a more agile culture, reduced silos, helped direct our interventions and activities more efficiently, and driven confidence in growth strategies. 

In a tough market, those able to identify cost effective ways of improving performance by embracing innovation and digital are most likely to win  

This was first published by React News.

Rachel Garstang

Head of Corporate Communications & Stakeholder Engagement Grosvenor

+44 (0)20 7312 2341 ext.6957

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