Most companies collect data, but do they make effective use of it? Five experts in real estate data and analytics share their tips for giving meaning to the numbers.
1: Extracting raw data
John Macdonald, CEO of AI data technology provider Recognyte | Conscientious data acquisition is the first step towards making the most of your data. By this, I mean relying on multiple sources of information rather than the few and far between.
Filtering through traditional and non-traditional sources, allows for wider visibility across the real estate lifecycle. Some of these ‘non-traditional’ sources could include energy certificates, Trip Advisor reviews on nearby restaurants or even the number of mobile signals in a given area.
You might be wondering what all this can possibly help with. If an area has a high volume of mobile signals, it means there is a high level of footfall. If a building is positioned next to five-star restaurants, it suggests the area is, or may soon be, an up-and-coming. This type of information can provide a comprehensive view of assets, giving clear vision to the potential benefits and risks of investment.
2: Visualising data
Sara Rafferty, director of customer success at commercial real estate data analytics platform, NavigatorCRE | Data visualisation is the critical last-mile of data whenever stakeholders are looking to generate meaningful insights within a dynamic market. Data can identify opportunities to generate value – whether that’s optimisation, acquisition or disposal of assets – so the clear, comprehensive and instant visualisation of that data is absolutely essential. Importantly, an off-the-shelf data visualisation provider can’t provide those insights, because of the highly specialised nature of the industry. Moreover, as more point solutions come to market and more distillation of data is required, repeated, manual updates from teams of analysts and managers simply won’t cut it. What’s needed is an integrated, full-stack collation of data through integration and visualisation.
Finally, the growth of remote and hybrid work means that people are now making data-driven decisions faster than ever while in dispersed working environments. As a result, a platform that gives everyone access to interconnected data in real-time offers a significant advantage.
3: Analysing data
Peter Bredthauer, CEO of rent roll data specialist PRODA | Imagine buying a building with zero information on the value of its current or potential leases. Similarly, imagine you’re managing a property without knowing the real name or credibility of your tenants, or when they might vacate. Though the reality of property management isn’t quite this scary, it’s not great either.
In commercial real estate we get these types of data points from a wide variety of different sources. However, they often contain errors, and take a lot of time to analyse and convert into a format that can actually be used to make crucial decisions. It’s worth getting this right because commercial real estate is extremely competitive and whoever has the quickest, most accurate and revealing information and analysis usually wins.
4: Applying data
Connell McGill, CEO of operational intelligence platform, Enertiv | Data is absolutely vital in helping real estate firms adapt to the new pressures and challenges they face. ESG, for example, has become a fundamental part of strategic decision-making within the real estate industry. Pressure from a more ethically-driven investor community, as well as leading owners and operators, means that some sort of long-term commitment to ESG standards is now par for the course across the industry.
Data has a huge part to play in fulfilling that commitment. By digitising operations, even diverse real estate portfolios can drive real efficiencies on site and gain unprecedented transparency at the portfolio level. Whether that’s forming capital plans that take net zero goals into account, understanding the consumption of energy by tenants and equipment, or arming building operators with aggregated best practices from across the industry, the tools are available today for commercial real estate to live up to their new ESG goals. Without data, adapting to changing requirements and expectations like these is simply impossible.
5: Complementing data
Millie Lewis, head of customer success at cloud-based CRM for buying and managing assets, Coyote Software, | By automating time-consuming tasks, data and analytics technologies can free-up valuable time for busy real estate professionals to focus on the more relational and creative aspects of bnusiness, which have always been central to the industry. In that sense, data automation is very much complementary, empowering individuals with the intelligence and insights needed to better understand a market, advise clients, or manage assets more effectively.
One obvious danger is not collecting data at all, meaning real estate professionals have to rely on intuition alone when it comes to decision-making. The other danger is to collect and process data manually, resulting in inefficient decisions and inaccuracies. Making the most of data means automating the repetitive aspects – collating, visualising and analysing data – to equip individuals and teams to then action that intelligence more quickly, efficiently and effectively. Data and analytics technologies can never replace human decision-making, but they can powerfully supplement it.