Real estate data

How to Make Data-driven Decisions on Real Estate Development Projects

Big data is proving to be one of the most transformational segments of digital innovation because it simply impacts everything. There is not one aspect of business that cannot be augmented by the proper collection and best use of good, clean data, and commercial real estate (CRE) is no different. Let’s examine a few ways in which big data has impacted the CRE space, and how you can best use that information to your advantage.

Mixing the old with the new

In order to ensure that current collected data is as comprehensive as possible, it must be seamlessly merged with institutional knowledge, which is defined as the combination of all experiences and information collected throughout the history of a company. This institutional knowledge literally defines a company’s journey and helps to establish its culture, ideally with processes based on best practices and expertise cultivated through properly collected data and information.

It is also important to be able to integrate traditional and non-traditional data sets, the latter comprising secondary data elements such as walking traffic, reviews and nearby schools. When it comes to the adoption of digital innovation, the CME space has notoriously lagged behind other industries, especially in gathering these secondary data elements. But the industry is working on changing that.

Some CRE companies have now started hiring outside data experts with backgrounds in other industries to help them with the collection of both traditional and non-traditional data sets. For example, California-based investment firm Archer brought on a data scientist with a hedge fund background and built its own proprietary technology platform to help identify acquisition opportunities, according to Wealth

Using data to manage decisions

Cutting edge data analytics solutions will employ artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics and big data to help solve problems. In fact, it takes disruptive digital innovation such as AI to manage and process these large and complex data fields.

Big data allows us to understand new trends and create an informed investment strategy on a macro level, but as tech advances, it’s becoming possible to understand new trends and create an informed investment strategy on a micro level, as well.

When it comes to data, more is better, provided it is properly collected and managed. After all, knowledge is power.

Data should help retain focus on both project and finance perspectives

In the CRE development industry, developers are very dependent on project budgeting software. The best solutions in this space should give the project perspective as much attention as the financial perspective. All the software modules or functionality should be project aware, with each module providing the necessary project perspective to complement the general ledger perspective.

Independent perspectives are the key to addressing the real estate developer’s needs and reducing technical debt. In this way, the project perspective permeates the software design, and the developer gets to see the project from the top-down. Since most developers hire a general contractor and subcontractors to implement projects, top-down financial control is more critical than bottom-up details.

Nearly all job costing software emphasizes the subcontractor or general contractor perspective where the detail level drives the reporting. But success in the developer market comes from its ability to go beyond the details and show management top-level project status and the various detail levels that support it. The software solution must address the complete life cycle of a real estate asset: from project inception to project completion, and from pre-development to property management, in order to minimize budget debt and maximize profit, efficiency and client satisfaction.

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