two business women having a conversation outside of buildings in a business district

From waste to wow: The future of CRE data

Commercial real estate (CRE) is everywhere, and it impacts nearly every human on earth. It also generates massive amounts of data. But what do CRE firms do with it? Unfortunately, a lot of valuable CRE data languishes in disparate systems. With so much information available, it’s a significant challenge to organize, secure, and make sense of the data before CRE leaders can even consider making strategic decisions with it. In an industry that continues to struggle with creating trustworthy data from many sources, it’s no easy feat.

This challenge was further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in an increased demand for data. Building managers and occupiers wanted a greater understanding of their surroundings from a safety perspective, and they needed data to do it. As a result, many real estate firms started to think about how to leverage their property data, including everything from leasing agreements to building occupancy rates.

But real estate firms encountered another challenge: the need for someone who can manage all of this incoming information and adopt the necessary technologies to turn their data into value. This falls outside the realm of IT in most organizations. Since the CRE industry is still figuring out best practices when it comes to data, companies are beginning to rely on dedicated leaders, like chief data officers, to set precedents on how their organizations can determine what data is useful and how it can provide actionable and strategic insights.

Many industries are in the throes of digital transformations, including real estate, but CRE firms have been historically slower to adopt technology as part of their business strategies. However, in this new age, it’s essential to modernize and build a data strategy. As many real estate companies are now starting to realize, becoming a data-driven enterprise provides valuable insights to better serve clients, maximize long-term value for investors and the broader organization, and work toward strategic business goals, like reducing environmental impact and facilitating safer ways of working in a post-pandemic world.

It’s an exciting time in the real estate industry with a lot of organizations pursuing innovation and adopting technology—in some cases, for the first time ever. This is a huge opportunity, but it also necessitates educating stakeholders about the value of data and how it can help transform the industry with data-driven decision-making.

Most organizations are still in the early stages of their CRE data journeys. According to JLL’s The Future of Work Survey 2022, only 13% put themselves among the most advanced organizations for data analytics maturity, while 59% say they do not regularly capture and report data or only do so intermittently.

Graphic showing percentages of where CRE leaders stand in their data journeys

Everyone in an organization—including all of its stakeholders—has a role in the maintenance, storage, and protection of data. In an industry like commercial real estate, which often deals with sensitive data, there is an added responsibility to ensure stakeholders protect the data and that companies are transparent in how they are leveraging it.

Real estate requires a broad variety of data, and traditionally, CRE leaders have had to manually generate it. CRE firms don’t just need data about buildings, they need data about the surrounding areas around the buildings, the people inside those buildings, and the activities inside them. This kind of data is more difficult to collect and analyze.

JLL has all of its data curated in one place, which is a major innovation in the real estate industry. We generate massive amounts of data across the business from hundreds of different sources. Then we created an easily accessible, traceable data platform from all of those data sources, which is invaluable in our business and for our clients’ businesses. This not only puts us in a position of having the most comprehensive, trustworthy, and organized data in the CRE space, but it also allows us to function as a unified organization and give our clients sharper market insights.

Data is a real estate firm’s most important asset. More and more CRE leaders are aiming to use data to gain a critical competitive edge. If you can’t easily access and analyze your CRE data in one place, now is the time to get a handle on it and implement a viable solution.