IT for one of the World’s Largest Co-Working Operators

by | Apr 29, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

From the year 2015-2020, there were over 100 co-working style companies on the market. From your giants like WeWork to the smaller, women-only operations such as The Wing. Office space has been changing for some years, and with WFH becoming a larger segment of white-collar work, landlords, tenants and everyone in between are searching for more flexible options.

ThomDigital Group had the pleasure of joining Knotel Co-working early on.

We joined in 2017, post-series-A round of fundraising. Knotel was a flexible office space provider which is slightly different from the popular co-working model. Knotel allow’s their customer to lease fully furnished and managed office space on flexible terms. The industry standard was 7-10 year leases where Knotel allowed for 1-3 year leases. At the time Knotel was in need of a CTO as they had plans of growth in the coming years. In search of an efficient and cost-effective way of managing their IT infrastructure to match their aggressive expansion plans.

As of early 2021, Knotel has filed for bankruptcy and was purchased by Newmark.

Our Coworking Scope of Work:

    1. Design a scalable technology infrastructure “standard” for global growth with the co-working model in mind.
    2. Supported the IT team as the portfolio grew from 300,000 square feet to 6,000,000 square feet.
    3. Managed a lean IT staff of only 20, to fulfill both global expansion and management within the company.
    4. Reduced new site launch time by 30%, by introducing plan review, simpler low voltage design, and ISP preferred installation timeframes.
    5. Reduced the cost of the build by 25%, ending at around $10/SF.

By creating partnerships with access control vendors, low voltage installers, hardware suppliers, and network programmers, we were able to drive down costs, speed up delivery times and leverage those relationships for the benefit of Knotel in the long run. Focusing on scalability Knotel chose consistent repeatable standards for their IT setup to allow for global implementation. 

Things to remember:

    1. Vendors – these partnerships will make or break your scalability. As you grow your vendors need to grow with you. As you support them with business, they should be flexible and willing to work with you. These vendors are your low voltage installers, network programmers, ISP providers, and access control vendors.
    2. Suppliers – leveraging these partners for preferred pricing, reduced lead time, and longer payment terms will help with cash flow, and speed. Having partners willing to work and grow with you is key.
    3. Management – thinking long term is vital when decided what platform you choose, and the supporting hardware. Find the most efficient way to reduce headcount but also maintain full visibility into your network. Foresight into how you’ll troubleshoot downtime and keep your space running correctly. When you have assets in 5 different countries it’s important to keep that management as simple as possible. 


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