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How can the Commercial Real Estate industry use data efficiently?

Commercial Real Estate (CRE) is the fourth largest global industry, accounting for roughly US$360B in 2020 – a decline as a result of the uncertainty and disruption of Covid-19 throughout the past twelve months. This impact will likely be felt for months if not years to come but, with 90 per cent of the world’s data being created in the past two years, opportunities for the CRE industry are ripe for the picking… as long as companies have the right tools in place. To rebuild the industry, CRE organisations must find new ways to solve age-old challenges. Here’s how.

Developing a digital growth strategy

The recent global pandemic has seen the commercial real estate workforce—like most industries—shift to remote working. This big change has brought to light challenges the commercial real estate industry was facing specifically around technology and digital transformation. In fact, 56 per cent of 200 industry leaders strongly agree that the pandemic revealed these kinds of issues.

Unfortunately, commercial real estate firms had to take a reactive approach to digitization, scrambling to retroactively put measures into place to avoid serious issues such as data decay, cybersecurity, and remote entry to work assets. It’s now clear how digital transformation needs to be baked into firms’ strategic plans to yield better results year-over-year.

“Data has always been a central part of the real estate decision-making process yet traditionally it wasn’t collected digitally,” says Isaac Pernas, CIO of JLL for Southern Europe. “Now, mathematical models applied to big data are allowing the commercial real estate industry to assess and act on information in ways that were unthinkable in the past in terms of volume, timing and accuracy – not to mention improving market transparency and making it easier to predict future behaviours.” JLL

Slowing (or eliminating) data decay

Research shows that client data is actually decaying by 70 per cent year-over-year, and because 88 per cent of customer relationship management (CRM) users are not engaging with the platform, data is suffering. Why? One major issue is that users simply aren’t using their CRM, and those that are using it report that up to 80 per cent of their time can be taken up with inputting data. 

“Managers could spend as much as 80 per cent of their time on gathering or manipulating data to make it ready for analysis. These current process inefficiencies prevent some institutional investors and managers from exploring new sources of data and in-depth analytical tools and capabilities.” Deloitte

One way to overcome these challenges is for commercial real estate firms to define a standard data management process for teams. Without clear instruction on how to employ CRM, leadership is missing out on a higher ROI, plus stifling the productivity of their sales team. One best practice to improve user adoption we recommend at Introhive is to build CRM around your company’s sales process. For commercial real estate firms it would make sense to automate data entry, taking away the pain point of manual entry for users.

Overcoming the challenges of remote work

Every industry needs to be technologically nimble, to grow and change as the digital world does. The shift to remote working has brought on challenges for many professionals regarding communications and access to information from colleagues. The first step in breaking down information silos within an organization that is working remotely would be to get data into a CRM. Being able to access firm-wide data will instantly improve information sharing, reporting, collaboration, sales cycle and mapping. The deep levels of learning used by AI and intelligence can improve the profitability of commercial real estate firms.

“Essentially, for using advanced analytics and AI, CRE investors and managers must first build a data foundation. This typically involves establishing data standards, eliminating enterprise data silos, and establishing data governance protocols.” Deloitte

Forging a path forward

The staggering fact that 90 per cent of the world’s data has been created in just the past two years is a glimpse into the future of data management. According to Forbes, at our current pace, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. With that figure in mind, how will the commercial real estate industry respond? How can firms realistically keep track of data in a world where 156 million emails are sent out per minute? 

A recent case study on Colliers International shows what happened when they went looking for solutions to improve internal efficiency; encourage CRM adoption; enrich relationship data; increase the number of relationships in their contact database. 

After implementing Introhive, Colliers International saw: 

  • 40% more relationships generated
  • 3,606 contacts automatically created
  • 25,100 emails automatically tracked and logged 

Read the full case study here.

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