Place-as-a-Service (PaaS): time to join the connected world

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is now well known, and ubiquitous. Why buy, and maintain, software tools when they can be ‘hired’ in minutes online?

So, why do we ‘buy’ Places? Or lease, which, under today’s accounting rules, looks much the same on the balance sheet.

Place-as-a-Service (PaaS) has been, and will continue to be, slow to catch up with other ‘services’. Because, investors and their managers are quite happy with the status quo. They sell, or lease, the real estate – and the occupier (tenant, or owner) must provide the rest. The interior design, the fit-out, and the ongoing workplace alignment and facilities management.

PaaS is not new – companies like Regus have been built on the principle. But, they only deliver Place-as-a-Service on the fringes of the typical corporate portfolio. Why?

Any size of organization, using predominantly ‘office-type’ space, could potentially buy PaaS for their entire space portfolio.

One monthly invoice…..

Reducing the in-house occupier team to (1) someone to manage the PaaS contract and administration, (2) a Director of Place, and perhaps a few ‘relationship managers’ with expert knowledge of the core business units, and ability to negotiate and ensure that they get what they need from PaaS.

Everything else sits under the PaaS provider. Everything.

And everyone on the supply-side works for the PaaS provider. If they have deep pockets, they do their own real estate development, and management. Where do the ‘landlords’ fit in? They don’t. All the agents, surveyors, property managers? They work for the PaaS provider.

Service charge management? Doesn’t exist. It is all part of the PaaS single invoice.

Who gains? the CUSTOMER, at long last! The businesses, government organisations, charities, and all the other ‘customers’ who have long had a duff deal from uncaring Landlords, and a real estate industry and professions focused on the property barons and money-people.

Watch Regus! But also, who else will enter this market? There will need to be several, for a competitive economy. Will a rich and talented entrepreneur like Richard Branson enter this space (excuse the pun), with his focus on the customer first?

Or maybe the Duke of Westminster (London), who owns 300 acres of some of the most expensive real estate in the world, will become a PaaS provider? Grosvenor has Serviced Offices already. And very deep pockets, from family wealth going back to the 17th Century.

CORE PaaS : will be those spaces needed by organisations over longer time-frames (like HQ space)

FRINGE PaaS : will be spaces for people to work around their territory, and closer to home – knock on effect being improved sustainability, and choice of workspace for employees and contractors.

Watch PaaS……it is time to change the world of ‘places’ for organisations and users. Who will drive this forward? We wait to see…..

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