Reporting on corporate real estate is difficult. Often it’s done in Excel, Google docs, or other individual CRE systems. In fact, no one in the room at the CoreNet Data Visualization event in SF last week said they had a unified business intelligence (BI) system. As one attendee observed, “It’s like when you look behind your TV and find cables everywhere. It’s like a behind-the-TV mess.”
Unfortunately, the “behind-the-TV mess” is reality for many in CRE. It is challenging to have comprehensive system-wide coverage of all the different components of real estate, but it is something professionals are asked to produce on a regular basis.
Many in the facilities industry update their organization’s building data every day. They live in the CRE and business systems that are most relevant to them. They are experts in their niche system and rarely fluent in others. At the other end of the spectrum are those executives in the industry who do not have the same luxury as those niche CRE managers. They may review the data once a week, or even once a month. Although the niche professionals can certainly benefit from it, it is for these executives that BI is most relevant.
What is BI?
BI is a way of understanding multiple sources of data and overlaying them upon each other to create meaningful metrics. These metrics could be something like cost per head and cost per square foot as well insight into whether your organization has a location that is above or below market rate. It allows for meaningful interpretation of real estate data in order to spur major change in the office.
Condeco Sense utilization data can fit directly into that so that with a few clicks of a mouse, a CRE manager understands which offices are being used to their fullest potential and which need to be managed more closely or undergo radical change.
Implementing BI is, unfortunately, not plug-and-play. The analysis is only as strong as the data put into it, so if data is old or not unified across all metrics, problems will occur. But once a CRE manager has scrubbed the data, there are many programs that can slice and dice it in complex ways and make data visualization an enjoyable project to take on. As John Horner, partner at Armanino, said at the event, “The trend is to create technology that is nice to be in. People use apps in their personal life all the time but resist business apps because they are clunky and difficult to work in.” The consumerization of enterprise apps is a trend that continues to apply.
Implementing workspace utilization data is a complex and daunting task to take on, but the right approach will allow business leaders to extract a tremendous amount of value from the quantitative interpretation of a space.