Our monthly “Get to Know…” posts provide the opportunity to learn more about our global, leading tenant representation member firms – what sets them apart as best-in-class in their markets, the expertise they offer their clients, and the value they provide during every stage of their clients’ journey to find the perfect space for their business.

Have real estate needs in India? Consider the experts at Cityinfo Services.

1. When was Cityinfo Services founded?
Cityinfo Services was founded in 1996

2. Why did you join Exis, and how long have you been a member?
We joined Exis one year ago. The primary reasons and factors prompting this decision to align with Exis are two-fold: the continued, in fact increasing, interest in India as a business destination amongst global corporations and the rise of the India-origin multinational. This implies the need to engage with clients and provide solutions, respectively, across geographies. We also believe that we align well culturally with other Exis partners, each of who is as focused on offering innovative and global-standard service to the client as we are.

3. Are there specific areas of focus/expertise that Cityinfo Services practices?
Our focus has always been to create a service offering that brings hyper-local expertise while operating in the broad purview of global best practices and operations principles. In our case, we have believed that you can’t base a solution on the broad understanding of India – it is too vast and dispersed a geographic region with many micromarkets which have very unique real estate practices and trends, and the solution has to respond to these very localized practices.

At the same time, there is a need to offer a consistent solution experience, through account management, centralized reporting with standard reporting formats, and the adherence to a set of common compliance and standards across geographies.

4. What is the current size of your team?
78 people form the Cityinfo team spread across the major markets in India. A majority of this team comprise research, advisory and transaction management experts supported by resources on allied requirements such as real-estate focused legal due diligence, inventory management, etc.

5. Amount of square footage secured in 2017:
In 2017, we advised on & managed transactions totaling 2.29 million sq.ft.

6. What are some of the credentials/characteristics/values you look for when hiring your team – to ensure you offer the highest quality service possible?
In addition to the hard skills and backgrounds, both educational and professional, to understand the credentials and capability of the resource to deliver the service, the personality traits we look for are to help us take forward our culture of being client focused and working in the client’s best interests. The value system reflects in the following:

  • Having a strong ability to listen and understand what’s being said and extrapolate that to what’s being implied
  • A very high degree of passion and single-minded focus to work towards our clients achieving their end goals
  • Analytical mindsets that are able to quickly analyse situations and make informed decisions
  • The thirst to always stay updated with a natural curiosity to understand what is happening across diverse sectors at all points of time
  • The belief that reputation comes above anything else and that this reputation can only be earned through sheer grit and intense effort

7. What are CityInfo’s core values as a company?
Our primary core value is Value Maximization for our clients. Other core values of ours are focused on our people and Innovation to offer an overall solutioning experience – for our clients.

8. How would you describe the CRE atmosphere in India?
The CRE function in India is living exciting times – concurrently working on expansion and consolidation. Today, they face the proposition of rejigging their portfolios to stay flexible and fleet-footed.

Emergence of new workplace types, primarily co-working spaces, and the changing profile of the talent base, with Millennials who think and culturally behave very differently from earlier generations, is also a predominant trend that CRE is responding to.

Therefore, the CRE environment in India today is characterized by a sense of innovation to adapt to the latest conditions and demands of attracting top talent, while being highly analytical, data-driven and responsive to the changing market and geographical dynamics of their company’s operations.

9. Most valuable advice you can give a client in today’s overall CRE atmosphere:
We believe the Indian CRE community is already aware of and responding very effectively to the changing face of talent and the workplace. To bring in the speed of decision making it is critical that the CRE works with three key sets of skills, both in-house and through service partners: data accuracy; effective analysis; and seamless, risk managed implementation. The ability to consistently make the right decision in the best interest of aligning with business goals is the key responsibility of the CRE function today.

Secondly, in the larger scheme of things, the contribution of real estate operations to a green planet is very high. It will help the CRE to get completely conversant with the very broad range of factors that drive environmental sustainability and how real estate can align to these factors.

10. What are some upcoming trends in the CRE industry that you feel will affect how companies do business?
Tactically speaking, virtual workforces and geographically distributed talent bases will emerge as the flagship talent trend in our opinion. CREs have to account for how this will have a very significant cultural, tactical and operational impact on how real estate is structured to respond to this talent trend. The next generation of talent, just making its entry into the workforce, is highly digital in the way they think and behave. Real estate has to become very adaptive to the way this emerging workforce behaves.

Stress on urban infrastructure and seamless tie-in of accessibility with the workplace is another key trend that will impact CRE. Talent access will emerge as the predominant success factor that CRE functions will have to account for and address.

11. Why is exclusively representing tenants important to you?
When we look at maximizing value, we can only do so when we are completely focused on the needs and demands of one stakeholder in the process. For us, transactions are a second step in our service process, with the primary one being advisory and solutioning. This capability of ours is most relevant for the corporate occupier. We therefore believe our skills are very relevant to helping tenants make the right decisions, accounting for a wide variety of parameters, and further transforming that decision into the most appropriate facility option.

12. Most valuable feedback you’ve received from a client:
The most valuable pieces of feedback, which we have already acted on and which today define our most compelling advantage are:

  • Building service capability across the country: being global in our thought, outlook and approach has helped us offer a consistent experience at the decision-making level to our clients. But the strategy that is developed at this stage is only as good as its implementation in various markets, including remote locations. We have therefore built very strong service delivery capability across the nation.
  • Acting as a single point source for all aspects related to real estate transactions: client feedback suggests that our ability to advise on every single aspect of the real estate transaction is something they find of value since all the pieces are synchronous and therefore seamlessly managed.
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