Six compelling reasons why corporate real estate executives should be data-centric

July 29, 2014 / By

Data remains a hot topic, and, at personal level, whether we realise it or not, we encounter the application of data and analytics on a daily basis. For example, when shopping online, many retailers use the huge amounts of data they capture to provide us with real-time personalised offers and recommendations. Indeed, much of the data and data analytics limelight has focused on consumer-facing industries. However, data and analytics have the potential to transform entire industries, increasing productivity and profitability in organisations that embrace them. This includes corporate real estate (CRE).

The data story in CRE is a relatively recent one. Simple questions such as ‘How much do we spend on real estate globally?’, ‘How many leases do we have across the world?’ or ‘Which buildings are we able to exit in the next 12 months?’ only became urgent during the global financial crisis (GFC). Many CRE teams have been unable to answer these questions quickly or satisfactorily.

Our Global CRE Trends report clearly identified the rising significance of data and analytics, with almost a third of respondents saying the provision of data and insights will be the most important future contribution of CRE within their organisation.

Nevertheless, many companies still overlook the value of effective data creation, management and application. To progress, more attention needs to be given to addressing gaps in data quality (complete, consistent, comprehensive and well-managed data), application (turning data into business insight) and skills (data scientists) within CRE. Addressing these challenges will enable CRE teams to realise the benefits of increased productivity, greater efficiency and stronger decision-making (Fig 1).

Figure 1. Six compelling reasons to be data-centric

It is clear that becoming data-centric is no longer a choice for CRE. There are four key moves that will determine which teams lead the way:

  1. Capture to capitalise: Manage/add structure to existing data while exploring ways to create new data internally or draw on relevant external data sets.
  2. Don’t separate, integrate: Do not go it alone. Work with other functions such as HR, IT and finance to align and integrate your data.
  3. Be a change agent: Take the lead in your organisation’s mission to become data-centric. By building bridges with other data initiatives across the firm and collaborating on new initiatives, you can establish a stronger context for actions within CRE.
  4. Embrace analytics: Turn data into insights. Those at the leading edge are moving quickly beyond data and harnessing the power of analytics.

To find out more, please download the first piece in our data and analytics thought leadership series, Data-centric CRE: A competitive imperative, which explores the defining principles and key challenges of data-driven CRE and issues a call to action toward a more data-centric CRE function.


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