CRE data and insights
By Stephanie O'Neill

The challenges of life before corporate real estate business intelligence

Every enterprise deals with data coming from more than one source. As new types of software and applications hit the market, corporate real estate (CRE) organizations have developed large tech stacks to manage data about their people, places, assets, and things. Over time, however, these tech stacks tend to grow in complexity, which translates to higher costs, more hands-on work, and lack of insights from valuable information.

Data is fragmented and disjointed. Different point solutions are being deployed to focus on certain functional areas, but they don’t (or can’t) easily work together. For example, lease information can be found sitting in asset management software, work orders are tracked in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), workplace information is in a space management system, and financial data is housed in an enterprise resource planning platform. Meanwhile, data about building system maintenance and performance may be saved in a spreadsheet that lives on a facilities manager’s computer.

From workplace density metrics and desk-sharing ratios to energy-consumption data and work order volume, information is generated about nearly every asset and occupant. But is this information being put to good use? When it can’t be used to generate insights, data starts to lose its value. This leads to missed opportunities and makes the jobs of CRE, HR, IT, and finance professionals much more difficult, as they are forced to make decisions based on best guesses instead of data.

When vital CRE information is scattered across multiple applications and locations, it has to be managed separately, which creates additional challenges. Because it lives in different places, the data is most likely managed and controlled by different teams. When you need to find an answer to a business question like, “Can we reduce space this year?” you have to contact multiple people and ask for their help, and then wait for them to pull the portion of the data you need. Once you have these disparate pieces of data, a lot of manual effort is required to collate, validate, and extract meaningful insights from them. Finally, by the time the data has been turned into something useable, it may be outdated. As a result, decisions are being made based on old or incorrect information.

This complicated, drawn-out  process is still how many enterprises access the data they need. In fact, a recent uncovered two major constraints for CRE leaders in obtaining the BI they need with a majority citing lack of technology investment and lack of access to effective data and analytics.

Many CRE decisions have long-term financial and operational implications:

  • Deciding where to reduce or increase capital and operational expenditures
  • Determining whether to increase or decrease office space
  • Selecting a new service provider

You don’t want to rely on gut feelings or guesses to address business-altering scenarios like these. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping that everything works out, you need the confidence of knowing your decisions are supported by real-world data.

Let’s say your leasing data is held in a lease management platform, while your occupancy data is stored in space management software. Someone from your lease administration team can log in to their respective platform and report on lease costs and expirations. Meanwhile, the facilities team can log in to the space management tool to see how many people work in a building and determine if it’s over- or underoccupied.

But these datasets can also impact one another. Decisions made about leases can influence space management and vice versa. To determine whether your portfolio is fully utilized—and whether you’re paying for space you don’t need—you have to find and pull the right data from both applications. Then you need to blend the data together and perform some number crunching to see what the data tells you.

This is just one basic example of how complicated it can be to make decisions without a business intelligence (BI) platform—and how much better life can be with a CRE BI solution. The right solution gathers, analyzes, and interprets data from various sources and lets you access all your CRE information and insights in one place, so you know exactly where to go to get the answers you need.

Having easy access to the right data at the right time makes this possible and gives your organization a competitive advantage. Whether you want to drive operational efficiencies or conduct a market analysis of lease costs, you can be confident that you’re making the best choice possible—because it’s backed by accurate data.

CRE BI isn’t the future—it’s right now. It ensures you understand your real estate decisions to improve productivity, reduce costs, and create better workplaces.