From Reporting to Intelligence: Data for CRE Leaders
Whether built in-house, developed and customized by an outsourced third party, or built from a real-estate-focused intelligence product, a functional reporting capability is essential for the future successes of an enterprise and its leadership.
Reliable data is critical for organization leaders when making real estate decisions. The better the data, the more visible it is to stakeholders and the better the decision-making. Unreliable data can be costly for organizations and lead to such things as missing the notice period on key lease dates or failing to identify the accurate costs of capital projects. Yet, we often find challenges when we dive into the current state of commercial real estate (CRE) data leading to key insights. In many enterprise organizations, information on different areas of real estate management is disparate, difficult to connect and sometimes even hard to access. As a result, even if the data itself may be collected, gaining the insights from it can be challenging.
The Case for Reporting
Data must be collected and made usable to support strong decision-making in organizations. Often, the data might be there but may not give organizations the insights needed to act as the data tracking systems may not be properly maintained, easily accessible or straightforward and understandable. Indeed, many organizations with large real estate portfolios are in need of solid solutions for data aggregation, analysis and reporting. In many cases, an organization’s data is stored in multiple places, making collecting and reporting the data a time-consuming exercise on a quarterly, monthly and, sometimes, even daily basis. Getting the insights to make the necessary decisions becomes an enormous use of time and resources.
On the other end of the spectrum, some organizations understand the criticality of data intelligence and build complex tools to interpret information and gain insights. Tools to interpret complex data require extensive in-house or consultative expertise from software and real estate professionals to scope and develop. These tools, then, require constant updating and maintenance to ensure the technology works properly and continues to grow and adapt to the business. While effective in some respects, data-building tools can be an enormous upfront and ongoing time and cost requirement subject to the availability of corporate tech resources. Finally, some companies – albeit very few – barely undertake the effort to obtain and aggregate data. Data is often locally held for these organizations and remains opaque to leadership. General organizational reporting may not be possible without a significant manual effort, such as reviewing locally held leases or project information. This leads to uninformed decisions, and, in turn, potential organizational and financial consequences.
What Strong Reporting Solutions Should Look Like
A powerful solution that provides accurate reporting is a key asset to a CRE leader’s decision-making toolkit. For Newmark, our tool Newlitic addresses the essential requirements:
The solution should be able to quickly access data from within the organization, without requiring a significant manual effort to collect. Ideally, this means tying the business intelligence system directly into the systems used to manage critical areas of real estate, so the data is always current. When that tie-in is not possible, there should be an easy and efficient way to update the system to ensure it stays up to date.
The information presented should be targeted to the audience’s needs. Good business intelligence should efficiently answer the questions of the person viewing it.
The tool should highlight the most important information while allowing flexibility to dig into the data on a more granular level.
Solutions need to adapt to changing technology within the organization, allowing consistency of reporting as other management tools grow and adapt.
The tool should identify data gaps quickly, allowing problems to be corrected or understood. This identification could be through a formal data validation process or simply by showing values as ‘unknown’ rather than letting them be hidden and skew results.
Whether built in-house, developed and customized by an outsourced third party, or built from a real-estate-focused intelligence product (such as Newlitic, Newmark’s data visualization tool), a functional reporting capability is essential for the future successes of an enterprise and its leadership.
For more information on Newmark’s data intelligence solutions: www.newlitic.com.
Director of Product Development, Global Corporate Services
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