‘In the Trenches’ with Duke Realty’s Paul Quinn

Source: Reposted from: ‘In the Trenches’ with Duke Realty’s Paul Quinn
Paul Quinn is SEO of Duke Realty in Indianapolis. At the Realcomm CIO Roundtable in San Diego, Paul spoke on the role of the SEO and its value within an organization. I picked up our conversation by asking him how that role has been unfolding.
Paul, a few years back you took on the role of SEO (Strategic Execution Officer) at Duke.  How has that role evolved and how do you feel it is going? Not a lot has changed on the SEO front.  Finished projects roll off my list and new projects roll on.  The pace is much slower with our overhead reductions.  One interesting recent development is with the departure of our COO and a consolidation from five to three regions.  With maintenance reporting directly to me, and property management from a policy, procedures, and training perspective, we are forming a new “Operating Committee” consisting of the CEO, the three region heads, and myself that will meet once a month to discuss in-the-trenches operating issues and opportunities.
And have you backfilled the role of CIO or does IT still report to you?
IT still reports to me.  I have four reports over PMO, Development, BA, and Infrastructure.
Do you feel that the SEO role is a natural segue for all CIOs, or were you uniquely suited for this role?
I did study business as well as computer science but I don’t feel like that uniquely qualified me. I think I, as most of us in the CIO role, have always been oriented to finding efficiencies within our organizations. However, with our role confined to technology alone, we are limited as to how much we can effect change.  The SEO role gives us reach within the organization to effect the kinds of things that can be game changers for our organizations.
I know one such project you have mentioned was your e-sign initiative.  How is that going?
On the e-sign front things are going extremely well.  The application is for tenant finish subcontracts, change orders, and pay applications. We do approximately $200M in tenant finish work and 1200 jobs each year.  That translates into about 8,000 subcontracts, 3,000 change orders, and 10,000 pay applications a year.  In our first full month after roll out we signed 544 documents which represented 85% of all documents.  We have held steady at 85% and the document volume has grown to 900 documents per month.  We have gone from an average of 7 days to fully execute and file documents to less than 48 hours.  The subcontractors love it and we are seeing significant administrative overhead savings both in construction administration and job cost accounting.  We are in the process of re-engineering to combine and/or centralize these functions.
That’s fantastic, Paul. Have you touched building automation at all?
We have.  We determined we needed to expand the role of the techs and created an initiative to bring the buildings to the techs, not the techs to the buildings.  We worked with Tridium and Niagara AX and created a model employing a WAN and central call center that has allowed us to expand the reach of our techs by 50%.
And again, it would have been much more difficult if not impossible to have implemented these without the influence over the not-IT parts of the organization that the strategic role gives you.
That’s correct. We’re now able to go the executive committee, propose these initiatives, get sponsorship at that level, and then have the dotted line influence and exposure within the organization to insure we can deliver the result.
Paul, thanks for your insight into this role and your leadership in our industry.
My pleasure.