Even though we are in the midst of the digital era and the digitization of organizations has sped up in the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming a data-driven real estate organization is not an easy task. It won’t happen overnight.
The most significant challenge is usually to get the entire organization to work with a data-driven approach and understand why they should. It’s no different for commercial real estate owners who want to use data to make more informed and better business decisions.

They need to implement a data-driven culture.
Many organizations start with the how rather than understanding why one should use a data-driven approach. It may take a little longer, but we assure you that it will pay off in the long run. A few areas are good to look at when wanting and planning to become a data-driven real estate organization.

We have put together six areas to consider:

  1. Don’t underestimate the data-driven company culture
  2. Use cross-functional teams and secure the right competence
  3. Work agile
  4. Know your needs and the purpose of the data
  5. Gather your stakeholders
  6. Implement a standard platform, what we call a Building Operating System (BOS)

1. Value the culture in your data-driven real estate organization

If you want your organization to become truly data-driven, you need to create a data-driven company culture. Like any change management process, the data-driven culture needs to be systematic, and everyone in your organization should put time into adapting to the new way of working. Applying a data-driven approach should be at the core of everything you do.

2. Use cross-functional teams and secure the right competence

The data-driven approach is of no use if the IT department and the rest of the organization work in silos. You need to set up cross-functional teams to drive the process to become data-driven. It’s essential to make everyone in the organization understand why they need to work this way. Since a data-driven organization needs to act on business needs, new information, and data quickly, and if that’s only up to the IT department, the ability to perform and make decisions fast will fade.
Also, recent research* shows that only 5% of the people leading digital transformation projects in real estate companies have any background in data analysis. If you don’t have the proper knowledge of data analysis in-house, it may be wise to bring in outside help to ensure that you have the needed expertise in the project.

3. A data-driven real estate organization must work agile

When you have cross-functional teams set up to drive the process of building your data-driven applications, the team needs to work agile and use an iterative process where the application is built and tested in small steps. To be extended and enhanced over time depending on new and changing business needs. Working agile with an iterative process will make the process easier and more cost-efficient.

4. A data-driven real estate organization knows the needs and purpose of data

When transforming into a data-driven organization and building data-driven applications, you need to clearly define your needs, what data you need to fill those needs, and how the different kinds of data will integrate and communicate with each other. It often takes more time to understand your business’s needs than to develop the functionality. Try not to be too impatient, as knowing exactly your objectives and needs early on will help when the development starts. In short, the better defined your needs are, the faster you can build and the better the initial result will be.

5. Gather your stakeholders

It’s terrific if you, within your data-driven real estate organization, have agreed on what data to use and for what. But to optimize and create insights from your data that genuinely drive business, you need to cooperate with all your stakeholders.

They can be:

  • Constructors
  • Investors
  • Owners
  • Tenants
  • Service provider
  • Others

Try to make them strategic partners instead of spending energy, time, and resources discussing what data belongs to whom. It can help you leapfrog the competition.

6. Consider a standard platform for your data-driven real estate organization

Knowing your business needs and having the process of developing your data-driven applications in place enable you to create new applications cost-effectively short term. But for your data-driven business model to work a long time, you must have control of development speed and cost. You should have a platform in place to re-use your applications for your different buildings and use the applications as the base for new applications. To do this requires a lot from your organization, and your best choice may be to invest in a standard system with a common ontology geared towards your industry needs. This way, you also get access to an ecosystem of applications developed by other organizations in the real estate industry.

At Idun Real Estate, we have a solution for the above, ProptechOS, based on the RealEstateCore industry-standard ontology.
To learn more about how you can prepare to transform into a data-driven real estate organization, we encourage you to download our guide, Is your digital future in the right hands?