Posted on 8/25/2014 8:52 AM by Mark Harris

Remember when a decent cafeteria, accessible parking, and affordable utilities were the keys to high occupancy rates? 

All are still important, but tenants have other attributes in mind when assessing the viability of commercial real estate – like sustainability, tenant-controlled environmental management systems, and access to reliable high-speed broadband networks. According to a report by Cassidy Turley, over 60% of commercial building stock is 20 years or older which makes retrofits the right choice for many facility managers. A lot of enhancements fall within the category of information technology (IT), and can be enabled by ensuring the building is cloud-ready. 

More than just a buzzword, the "cloud" is a virtual world of offsite data centers and "software as a service" offerings that shift the IT burden away from the facility manager and into the open arms of third-party providers who manage the infrastructure remotely. 

Much has been written about the benefits of cloud-based services that enable facility managers to significantly reduce hardware costs and IT headcount. But are you aware of the advantages a cloud-ready building can provide when tenants are comparison shopping for leasable space? Savvy businesses are requiring any building they consider be cloud-ready – primarily because having access to the cloud has a direct, positive, and dramatic impact on their bottom line. 

Here are five ways cloud-ready IT services can help you win and retain tenants for years to come: 

1) Disaster recovery / business continuity – Should a natural disaster or other event disrupt business, offsite IT infrastructure maintained in a secure and reliable data center greatly reduces – and often eliminates – operational down time. 

2) Powerful productivity – With vital data and software applications housed in the cloud, workers from numerous locations around the globe – using any type of device – can share files and collaborate on documents seamlessly.

3) Energy efficiency – Eliminating server rooms and the need to keep them powered and cooled 24/7 greatly reduces energy usage including HVAC and electricity costs associated with a tenant's leased space. 

4) Superior security – Keeping IT hardware offsite means equipment and data are fully protected and backed up – vastly reducing a tenant's onsite vulnerability to cyberattack. 

5) Affordable scalability – When business is booming, the tenant doesn't need to invest in additional hardware or IT manpower to accommodate growth. With a cloud-based solution, systems upgrades are handled offsite as are scale-backs during business lulls. 

While the biggest benefit of cloud-readiness is improving your property's appeal to prospective tenants, cloud readiness can also optimize the facility manager's ability to access, control, and automate state-of-the-art computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). If you aren't sure where to start, call your local network provider to assess and upgrade your building's broadband network connectivity for cloud readiness. 

Facility managers who haven't addressed this necessity need to get their heads out of the cloud, and their buildings into it. 

Mark Harris is the senior product manager at Cbeyond, and can be reached at mark.harris@cbeyond.net