Five Things We Learned from Oliver Skagerlind


This week we published the fourth episode in our Shaping What’s Next podcast series. In this episode, Cushman & Wakefield’s Oliver Skagerlind, Chief Information Officer for Asia Pacific, discussed how technology can be harnessed to empower organisations, proptech trends that are currently disrupting the market, the value of partnerships, and his vision for the organisation in terms of technology adoption, changes in the workforce and economic impact.

Below are some of the highlights from the interview:

Partnering with startups is often a better approach than buying or building technology
“The most likely outcome of meaningful technology is partnership rather than build or buy. Partnership very much allows us to work with startups and to see what is coming next and learn from their research. Partnership gives us that kind of nimbleness effectively and positions us as tech integrators and advisers to our clients and – depending on the market – allows us to fundamentally scale up and down as the condition as well. Our competitors buy or build, or they do both but we at Cushman & Wakefield believe the best in value will come from a myriad of those partnerships because it changes so much.”

Organisations should focus more on the value that technology brings rather than the hype around it
“I think the CIO office, as I call it, will increasingly be more of a business-centric department as the future evolves. We will have to find the capability to fill that IT skill gap because of that. Getting people to ignore the hype and concentrate more on the value is going to be more and more important because I think sometimes we can get overexcited about technology and not focus on some of the business problems we need to solve.”

Diversity of ideas can provide new insights for an organisation
“I believe we have a job in technology to do, which is about asking better questions of our business colleagues. This means embracing the diversity of ideas and understanding the backgrounds and experiences as well because this combined perspectives will give you a new insight and help you realize your organizational purpose and equip you to operate any time your way. The use of technology is to deliver real business benefits whether it be virtual reality, space planning or whether even just be simply the ability to make sure that your Skype works or your email works wherever you are in the world.”

Proptech trends that offer efficiency and better building management are what Oliver is keeping a close eye on
“In the near term, I tend to look at things like data-enabled technology that’s generally focused on efficiencies and experience. Things like building performance, Internet of Things, sensors, smart buildings, alongside employee experience, workplace experience, and next generational offices.

Mid-term, we’ll see the transformation of building management through the likes of robotics, VR and AI. I tend to see things like lobby management changes in the way lobbies are serviced and managed in the future, engineering workforce management, impact on intelligence as well through the use of predictive analytics. VR space planning will become more of the norm rather than kind of the new technologies that we see today. That’s how I kind of see the near term and the mid-term. In the future and beyond, I think space needs will evolve as automation and AI, as an example, transform the way we work and live. And we’ll see an indirect impact to that on workplace and space.”

Cushman & Wakefield in Asia Pacific intends to leverage partnerships and stay proactive to upcoming trends in technology
“In terms of technology, that’s why we partner because we don’t have a crystal ball and we have to therefore be open-minded to the changes of technology. If we have partnerships, we can adapt that quickly and we can scale up and down. In terms of people, we have to remember that the workforce is changing. New changes are coming in. So therefore, expectations are different, so we need to be very mindful of that and how we operate. In terms of the future, I think in Asia Pacific there are signs of good tailwinds but we have to continue reminding ourselves of headwinds that could require changes in direction, namely things like the trade war. So we always have to be cautious.”

Catch the full podcast on SpotifyApple Podcasts or Podbean. Our Shaping What’s Next podcast series is also now available on Stitcher and TuneIn. Don’t forget to subscribe to ensure you never miss an episode.

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