Time-Saving Robots? The Future of Productivity
Digital & Technology Director, Mesmin, shares how we use Robotic Process Automation to optimize organizational accuracy and efficiency
Technology is at the helm of rapidly transforming the way we work with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), playing a critical role in the future of workplace efficiency. RPA enables task automation which effectively empowers us to continually deliver world-class service with an even higher standard of accuracy, precision, and efficiency, saving time and valuable resources.
Meet Digital and Technology Director, Mesmin
“I am leading the teams that focus on Robotic Process Automation. I know the name sounds fancy, like ‘do we have robots running around?!’ No, we do not. When I say ‘robot,’ these are all software robots through a computer or a server. We write codes that tell them what to do.” in any industry, time is a precious commodity, particularly commercial real estate, when the use of RPA can often mean the difference between facilitating critical information to a client in two weeks versus two months.
“I'll give you an example. Let’s say appraisers are working on valuing a property. Before RPA, they would have to do a lot of legwork on getting documentation or running reports. Now, all this work can be done by software robots. The robots don't have the brain to do the work of interpreting other factors that go into valuing the property, but they are useful in collecting the valuable information for the appraisers, allowing the appraisers to save time, working quickly on behalf of the client and in turn staying ahead of our competitors.
We can only do this with the best technology stack. CBRE is constantly investing in the latest technology. I am very proud to say we only work with the best the industry has to offer. I’ve worked with companies in the past where they try to put a bandage on the existing codes, platforms, and technologies that ultimately did not serve the clients. As a company, we really serve our clients better by making those necessary investments.”
From Supply Chain to RPA: Journey to CBRE
“Technology is so dynamic. When I was in school, I didn't think any of it really existed. Back in those days when manufacturing industries were big and technology was slowly merging into the industry, I did a double major in chemical engineering and technology. I found I had a love for the supply chain and technology. I always tried to keep up with the trends. I studied the latest at the time—Client-Server, C++, .NET, Visual Basic, Oracle, SQL server...all those things.
My first job in tech was when Visual Basic and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) were becoming big. I started working in Human Resources as a core technical person on the PeopleSoft ERP work. When I was an individual contributor working completely on coding, I always thought about how the technology side can be applied to the business around it. That's why it was easy for me to eventually move into understanding the business process.
I came to CBRE because there was a technology position under the business side in the Dallas, Texas office. At that time, almost 12 years ago, we were moving all our shared services for benefits and payroll from Los Angeles to Dallas. That opened up the opportunity for me to come in and understand the People side of CBRE’s business. I fell in love with the process and managed some of their projects with both Waterfall and Scrum before getting into the automation side.
Challenges to Triumphs: Being a Woman in Tech
“When I was an individual contributor before joining CBRE, coding was completely male-dominant. Not necessarily just white men...every man. I had my days where I did not feel included nor engaged. I felt left out. I did not have anyone to support me If I had a doubt or question.”
Instead of letting the challengers deter her, Mesmin allowed that to fuel her desire for understanding the business side so she can better serve people. “I'm a very positive person, so instead of giving up on that situation, I worked on skills to better develop my understanding of the business side because I realized I did not want to continue being an individual contributor. I challenged myself to learn the business. I learned the project and the product management side. It took me a while to learn, but I had to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I started focusing on helping people around me by serving them instead of just being an individual contributor. Our CEO of Global Workplace Solutions, Chandra, once said ‘if someone is throwing a lemon at you, catch it and make lemonade’. In that moment, I realized that’s exactly what I did.”
Life Away from Automation
“I do manage to stay away from work for a few hours a day to take care of myself—it's important. I also have a deeply satisfying and fulfilling relationship with my family. I’m very grateful for that. I know it’s not typical, but I like to unwind by doing household activities like cooking and cleaning, especially cooking from scratch. I love doing both because that's when I listen to my music! That’s the best part of my day, when I can take care of myself, my home, and my loved ones.”
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