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Digital collaboration helps UNION stand out in a competitive market

Lavonne Boutcher
Posted by Lavonne Boutcher on Jan 8, 2019 8:00:00 PM

To set itself apart in Norway’s highly competitive commercial real estate market, UNION Gruppen wanted to offer clients a better way to buy, sell and lease properties. The plan was to create a unique, client-centered collaboration space that would streamline processes and reduce timelines. The results have been even more dramatic than the company hoped for.

UNION Gruppen digital collaboration space

Impressing clients with high-impact collaboration

When clients walk into UNION Gruppen’s newly renovated meeting rooms, they’re instantly impressed. “The first thing they say is, ‘Wow,’” says Didrik Berg, an agent with UNION’s leasing and transactions division.

It’s easy to see why. The entire fifth-floor of the company’s downtown-Oslo headquarters, which was uninspiring and underused a year ago, is now an inviting, technology-rich collaboration space where one wall has been transformed into a 21' (6.4 m) wide interactive working surface.

During the transformation, Pål Bolstad, general manager of UNION’s project and property management branch, led the search for what was a key requirement of the new space: an interactive technology tool that could display a vast amount of information in a compelling and visual way.

When Pål saw the Nureva Wall, he knew it was the right fit. He was won over by two things: how multiple displays could be joined and that one continuous digital canvas could be viewed on all the displays at the same time. Before seeing the Nureva Wall, he didn’t even think it was possible to view and interact with so much information at once. “Now, we couldn’t work without it,” he adds.

Using Span Workspace to streamline decision-making

Getting the full story streamlines decision-making

When UNION set out to design a digital collaboration space, it wasn’t merely to impress clients. The company wanted to make real strides to reduce timelines and enhance efficiency.

The commercial real estate business is full of lengthy and complex processes. The goal was to use technology tools to streamline those processes by reducing some of the back-and-forth discussions and making it easier for people to make decisions.

Pål is already seeing results on his side of the business, which is focused on managing UNION’s building refurbishment projects. Initial discussions between tenants and landlords can often go on for weeks, even months. “It involves a lot of meetings and a lot of things we have to clarify, and the process takes a long time.” Pål estimates by using the Nureva products in those early collaboration sessions, the process takes approximately 50 percent less time than it used to.

He says it’s all about having the right people in the room and giving them easy access to all the information they need to make decisions. “With the Nureva Wall, the scale is big, so we can have a lot of information up there.”

For example, tenants searching for potential leasing opportunities can now see every detail about what a specific property has to offer on the Nureva Wall. They get a bird’s-eye view of where the building is located, see a full list of features and amenities, and can then focus in on a breakdown of operating and renovation costs. It’s the complete story in a single view.

Team works together on the Nureva Wall

Working together gets better results

When clients see the large interactive working wall, it’s not just the size that catches their attention. They also realize the experience they’re about to have will be much different than the presentation-focused sessions they’re used to.

Now, instead of sitting around a boardroom table, looking at a slide presentation full of facts and figures, clients are encouraged to get actively involved in the process. They can come up to the working wall, move items around, make notes and add ideas to the discussion.

Didrik says the experience is engaging and empowering for everyone. “With all decision-makers in the room working on the Nureva Wall’s large surface, it’s easier to collaborate and come up with new solutions. Clients have a better understanding of the project and are more confident that they made the right decision because they can view and interact with all relevant information presented on the Nureva solution and participate and play a bigger role in the development of the process.”

New collaboration space drives results

Leaping ahead of the competition

Each of the four companies that make up UNION Gruppen is focused on a different side of the commercial real estate market. The new collaboration space is benefiting all aspects of the business and giving UNION a jump on the competition. “By having a tool like the Nureva visual collaboration solution, we’re able to get a head start on our competitors because we feel that many clients are going to see the value of it,” says Pål.

UNION’s leasing team is using the Nureva products to make a strong impression during initial pitch sessions to win new projects. Clients competing for tenants quickly see how well the technology showcases their properties and how much faster they’ll be able to close a deal.

“Clients are choosing us before other companies because we can make it better, faster and easier for them,” says Didrik, adding it’s the complete interactive experience UNION can now offer that’s “tipping the scale to our advantage.”

The Nureva products also help UNION’s internal project teams work together more efficiently. Pal says one current project involves collaboration with a team in Norway’s energy capital, Stavanger, located more than 340 miles (550 km) away.

Using the Nureva Wall and Span Workspace’s expansive digital canvas, team members can gather around design drawings, review options and interact with all the information at the same time. He says this helps people make faster, more informed decisions and keeps everyone moving in the same direction.

Enriching the client experience with digital tools

Powering up visual collaboration

The new Customer Experience Center is already proving to be a wise investment. The inviting space and innovative technology products are giving UNION Gruppen clients a more engaging and collaborative way to work. And clients are excited about the possibilities. So are Pål, Didrik and their colleagues, as they see the benefits the visual collaboration tools add to the processes and applications they use every day and continue to explore new ways to use the technology to streamline processes, reduce timelines and enrich the client experience even more.

Topics: Customer Story Span Workspace Nureva Wall Real Estate