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Digital Transformation

Four Steps for Taking Control of Real Estate Data Chaos

Written By: Joe Demski
November 11, 2022
4 min read

Changing physical spaces are everywhere around us. Businesses in retail, banking, medical, and more are focusing efforts on redesigning their current footprints to maximize their functionality and to improve customer experiences. In the process of this work, they’re running into challenges because of the complexity of these projects and inability to wrangle all necessary data.

While the phrase “complex building projects” might conjure up images of the construction of a football stadium or massive highway system, James Boye-Doe, VP of Solutions Marketing at Quickbase, points out size isn’t the only marker of complexity. Complexity is borne from the fact that these are projects are large in scale, time-bound, and tied directly to revenue. Because of these factors, cross-functional work is required, and complexity grows.

“Managing either a build out or redesign throughout the lifecycle requires coordinating people inside and outside of the company,” Boye-Doe states, “For the duration of the project, they need to act as one. And that's hard to do because you're running off with different datasets, different schedules, different workflows.”

The different datasets, schedules, and workflows result in uncontrolled data sprawl or data chaos. Add to that the systems in which this work is managed are often rigid and brittle, making them nearly impossible to customize in order to make insight actionable. Companies then rely on spreadsheets to become repositories for data, but then find themselves facing new problems mired in “Excel hell.”

Getting these building projects completed takes a collaborative effort across multiple teams, and conquering data chaos is paramount to ushering projects through the lifecycle. On the Age of Agility podcast, Boye-Doe offers four steps to take control of real estate portfolio data to complete projects more effectively.

1. Complete a “Friction Audit”

The first step in taking control of real estate data begins with understanding your existing processes. Conducting a friction audit means you map out the current system and identify points of friction. Look for points where disparate systems interact with one another, or communication needs to happen between different teams or organizations. In order to solve the data chaos, you need to begin by Identifying points of friction to address.

2. Determine your Reporting Needs

Making reporting and surfacing insight easier is the entire goal of reinventing your tech stack ahead of redesigning physical space. Define your KPIs. What data is needed to generate a holistic perspective of the performance of real estate within your portfolio? Reporting needs aren’t confined to merely the types of data, but who needs access to this information? Are there stakeholders outside of your organization that need access to your data in order to make informed decisions? This step is a big one in setting yourself up to solve data sprawl.

3. Define the "Art of the Possible”

Defining the “art of the possible” is a critical component of driving any digital transformation. Draft what your ideal state looks like. Map out how your processes and systems would be structured and interact with one another if you could build something exactly as you’d like it. This is the blueprint for finding a solution for your tech stack.

4. Evaluate Possible Solutions

Once you have taken a deep dive into what’s causing friction, what systems you already have, and what your ideal state looks like, you can go about finding a solution. The answer isn’t always more, new software. Ultimately, the best solution will help you minimize friction in your processes. Completing the earlier steps arms you with the information you need to make an informed decision about conquering data sprawl. Whether that means vetting tech vendors or identifying areas of improvement within your existing systems, understanding both your current and future, ideal state allows you to make the best possible decision when evaluating solutions.

Wrapping Up

Complexity is inevitable when it comes to completing real estate projects. As technology has been adopted into every facet of business operations, the data and insight we gather improves, but at the same time, systems become more disparate and difficult to access. Reducing the friction among internal systems helps simplify processes and ensures all project decisions are made with the best information available.

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Written By: Joe Demski

Joe Demski is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.

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