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How Business Intelligence Should Be Driving Efficiency

by Brett Abrams, Director of Operations, Strategic Consulting 

NSite Analytics

What can you do in 10 Minutes?

Ten minutes. What can you accomplish using all of your data sources, your tools, and your analytical capabilities in 10 minutes? That’s the question so many in commercial real estate functions have been trying to master for the better part of a decade. Far too often, we are relying on “back-of-the-napkin” spreadsheets, cobbling various data sources when we are trying to answer a few simple questions.

Business Intelligence has seemed to focus on the big, the theoretical, the hypothesis, and missed on simply providing efficiency for the end-user. Trying to utilize hundreds of big data sources will certainly turn into a fascinating whitepaper, but it hasn’t seemed to help the daily operationalists better manage their portfolios. What if we focused our data sources, our tools, and our skills on efficiency rather than the abstract? What if we built business intelligence applications for the manager in addition to the strategist?

What if Business Intelligence focused on how to make the everyday business more intelligent?

Every corporate real estate professional should have one central place where all of the information they need about their portfolio is available in real time. Can you get the answers you need to the following questions about your real estate portfolio in 10 minutes?

Six Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Portfolio

What makes up my portfolio?

Whether your portfolio is a complex, global one or a simpler, regional one, it’s important to be able to understand basic metrics, location, and cost quickly. Being able to see the differences regionally, by business unit, by company, or whatever is the driving force behind a portfolio is crucial. The basic foundational pieces of a portfolio should readily accessible and in one contained, controlled, and interactive source.

What drives my costs?

Cost management is critical for any real estate manager. Understanding the components of spend, how the vary by market, lease, business unit, space type, etc. are critical. Portfolio managers need to be able to compare costs and see the various breakdowns of your real estate spend quickly to make sound financial decisions.

What actions are upcoming for my portfolio?

The best real estate managers are able to stay far ahead of upcoming lease expirations and activity. Having a centralized place to go and understand the critical components of your lease expiration activity can help drive better decision making and more dynamic discussion on optimizing a portfolio. Having to cobble together separate leases or data sources to make these decisions is no longer efficient with the tools at our disposal.

Where are the market opportunities?

Identifying portfolio opportunities can be a cumbersome and tedious task, even for those armed with experience in these practices. Even with the right market opportunity identifying techniques, valuable research time is wasted if you aren’t looking at the most up-to-date market data. It’s vital to not only have real-time market data when trying to identify opportunities, but also to have layered data – i.e. data from multiple sources to remove bias and ensure accuracy.

What would be the impact of workplace standards?

Workplace planning is front of mind for almost all real estate managers when optimizing their portfolio. Being able to quickly understand the magnitude of implementing these standards can quickly validate how feasible and effective a workplace standards program could be. We now can take this practice out of excel spreadsheets and into a tool that is dynamic and gives the answer as quickly as you ask the question.

What demographic variables should I be considering?

The availability of labor is now central to real estate decision making. The inclusion of variables such as labor profile, household income, unemployment rate, educational attainment, and hundreds more should be playing a role in real estate decision making. Having the ability to understand and interact with demographic information in relation to a real estate portfolio can provide a much broader context into a portfolio’s health.

Abrams, Brett

Brett Abrams is the Director of Operations for Strategic Consulting for Cushman & Wakefield, a leading global real estate services firm.  He oversees all strategic operations with a focus on business performance, portfolio management, analytics, business intelligence, and operational excellence.

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