There’s no doubt that multifamily operators and owners are getting more serious about their data and reporting. It’s equally obvious that an industry not traditionally known to be cutting-edge in technology is both 1) catching up and 2) sometimes missing opportunities by aiming a bit too low.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the complex world of business intelligence (BI). There are so many different components to a true BI platform, and it’s easy to label just a piece of the full solution as the solution. That can come from an intent to sound more capable for internal or external marketing purposes or it could simply come from a naivete in which people honestly don’t know what they don’t know about all the components that should be part of their BI platform.
I think most people living in “Excel Hell” where all or most of their reporting is in spreadsheets will agree they don’t have a true business intelligence platform. That’s not to say they don’t get useful information, but they do spend an incredible amount of time collecting and collating data that could be better spent analyzing and acting upon their data.
However, when I ask people whether they have BI or not, I frequently hear some version of, “Yes, we have Power BI (or Tableau).” These are clearly powerful tools, but believing one has a BI platform because they have a good tool is like saying “I’m a carpenter because I own a saw and a hammer and a screwdriver…”
Tools enable various elements of a BI platform, but they don’t in and of themselves create the platform. To do that, we need to be purposeful about our BI architecture and design.
The figure above is the architecture we use at REBA to define a fully functional BI platform, and you can use this to model your own BI platform as well. We’ve chosen the cube approach (subject of a future blog, stay tuned!).
Note that reporting is just one element of…predictive analytics.