Monday, December 3, 2012

Why do I need a Technology Specialized Broker?

Have you ever tried to find a Commercial Real Estate agent that understands the specialized needs of technology companies? Do you know what these needs are?

In my prior life of selling technology products and services, I encountered technology-reliant organizations who hadn't considered technology ramifications when selecting space to lease or purchase. The impact was often substantial... Have you ever seen a broadcaster go down because a carrier's (old) fiber developed microbreaks? Or have you ever seen a technology company whose offices are across town from most of their collaborative partners? How about an online gaming company who finds out 45 days before move-in that their new facility is not fed by any communications fiber? I have seen all of these... and more.

Each of these situations could have been avoided IF the organizations had worked with a real estate broker who understood the key technology factors affecting real estate. The problem is that such agents are not common.

For the record, the biggest of the key technology factors are communications, power, and people. Contrary to common perception, communications fiber does NOT reach all buildings (much less all areas) in a city, robust / diverse power CAN be had if one knows how to look for it, and geographic knowledge corridors DO evolve.

So which companies should seek a technology-savvy broker? To keep it simple, don't look at the name of the organization - just ask a few key questions. Organizations who answer "yes" to more than one of the questions below should seek a broker who understands technology:
- Do phone, data, or power outages impact your profits?
- Do you require large information “pipes” to move data to other facilities?
- Do you rely upon technical people to develop or manufacture products?
- Is the movement of data time-sensitive?  In other words, if you have to wait until later to do it, are there financial ramifications?

You may be thinking, "I don't really need technology-savvy broker because I have consultants who look at those factors." I'll share three thoughts on that point. First, you'll have a much smoother experience if your broker speaks your consultants' language and can work with them in evaluating these specialized factors. Second, your consultants are charging you for their time, while your real estate broker should cost you nothing out of pocket (the landlord typically pays his/her fees). You do the math. Finally, your real estate broker's job is to know the area and to find you the right building... wouldn't it be better if they can attack that task by partnering with your consultant rather than having to lean on them?

And what is the reward for taking the extra time to find a tech-savvy broker? It's simple - peace of mind.  You can rest in the knowledge that your new space won't come with any ugly surprises.  No unavailable fiber, no regular power outages, and no cross-town drives to get to organizations that should be nearby.

If you don't know of such an agent, feel free to call.  I'll help you determine if you really need one and, if you do, tell you who I may know in your area.

Here's to your success!