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essensys announces STEP to bridge flex gap for landlords

The global provider of mission-critical software-as-a-service platforms and on-demand cloud services to the flexible workspace industry has launched STEP, its Software & Technology Enabled Property solution, to equip asset owners with the technology needed to address the growing demand for flexibility.

Occupiers’ demand for flexible real-estate products is accelerating. Landlords are under increasing pressure to manage this shift as they respond to shorter lease terms, changing occupier behaviors and needs, and niche office space requirements. At the same time, they must remain alert to new opportunities to provide additional value to occupiers, using tenant experiences, services and amenities to help differentiate in an increasingly competitive market.

Existing software products used by landlords are not designed to support these space-as-a-service environments, where efficiency, immediacy and a frictionless experience is critical for both landlord and occupier success.

Essensys 25th September 2019Mark Furness, CEO of essensys, says: “There’s a gap we needed to bridge for part of the real estate industry that is nervous about their journey to delivering a more flexible product. That journey is fraught with risk and danger as they see it.”

essensys has had an increasing number of conversations with landlords and asset owners in the past six to 12 months, Furness told PlaceTech.

He continued: “They ask ‘should we buy, build, partner’, they know why they need to offer flex but are not clear on how and when. We can help with that.”

essensys STEP equips landlords and asset owners with the software and technology needed to efficiently transition to a more flexible real estate model as occupier demand increases.

With this technology landlords can:

  • Allocate space for flex
  • Sell the space
  • Create license agreement
  • Manage access
  • Form memberships
  • Offer branded app for occupiers to use services
  • Switch on services, wifi, voice, IT, meeting rooms

Additionally, STEP helps bridge the gap between landlords and flexible workspace operators, allowing both to more easily work together to create seamless and comprehensive space-as-a-service solutions which are compelling for companies of all sizes.

Furness explained: “Occupiers are increasingly demanding more from their landlords and workspace experiences. They are no longer interested in rigid real-estate products that do not offer agility or support employee productivity.

“Until now landlords and asset owners have lacked the software and technology that allows for the real-time control and management of such spaces. With the essensys STEP solution, landlords are able to cost effectively deliver move-in ready, friction free and productive workspaces, and operating these spaces can now be simple, fast and efficient.”

essensys has customers in 20 countries and has traditionally worked with flexible workspace operators. Customers include Industrious, Serendipity Labs, Venture X, Landmark.

The business listed on the London Stock Exchange a year ago, raising £28m, and raised a further £7m a month ago to fuel product development.

The positive outlook for flex space is clear, says Furness. “I can’t see a world in a decade from now where 30% to 50% of all real estate isn’t delivered and consumed as a service – not necessarily in experiences but simply contractual terms, which will be much more weighted towards us as the consumer of space.”

As landlords navigate from an old world of 10-year leases with upwards rent reviews to meet the more immediate and agile demands of occupiers, a product like STEP is essential to a smooth transition.

The pandemic has seen occupiers caught in long term leases turning to landlords to negotiate rent relief which is not sustainable for either party in the long run, Furness believes.

“Occupiers are all about immediacy – ‘I want now’. As an industry we have to ask, ‘how do we take friction out of the supply chain.’ Occupiers are looking for efficiency and easy answers and don’t want burdensome commitments.”

He continues: “We are starting to see people realise and say, ‘there is more upside to this than we thought’. This technology means that without a massive upfront cost landlords and asset owners are equipping the building and only paying more when the service is being used, based on how many square feet is managed by the platform. As more space is delivered, they pay more as it delivers value. It’s all about ROI, we make sure these tools are valuable.

“Coming out of lockdown the proposition for landlords is really clear. Put software in without scaling up operations, you just need the name address and date of the person moving in and everything else is automated.

“For landlords they are very much now moving to the ‘what decisions do we have to make strategically’. They can equip the building right now with these tools and immediately make those decisions to offer flex and scale up when the time comes.”

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