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How Property Developers Can Harness the Power of Data

How Property Developers Can Harness the Power of Data

Big data has become ubiquitous, and it's informing decisions across almost every industry. That doesn't mean using it is easier. In commercial property development, like many other spheres, business leaders are coming to the same realization: Collecting big data is far easier than analyzing and using it to fuel progress.


Developers are right to aggressively pursue the insights offered by big data. They can identify and capitalize on trends or leave money on the table. However, the competitive nature of commercial development would suggest against the latter. The good news is that advancements in technology make analyzing big data easier than ever before.


Demystifying Big Data


Artificial intelligence, in particular, is helping developers analyze millions of data points that inform how well a location will do over time. With sophisticated software weighing risks and calculating potential returns, developers can spot investment opportunities with a higher degree of accuracy than ever before.


By relying on relatively affordable software instead of expensive third-party data analysts, developers can bring formerly outsourced roles in-house. With this change, leaders gain additional control over the data analysis process while saving large amounts of capital for reinvestment.


One of our clients recently approached SharePoint with a similar set of goals in mind. It was looking to increase employee productivity, secure and organize decades' worth of on-premise data, and improve collaboration with clients. By incorporating smart data management tactics with intranet sites, we were able to help the client keep valuable data in one place while improving employee access through more efficient workflows.


Creating a one-stop shop for data should be a high priority for any business — a claim supported by research from M-Files' "2019 Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report." Out of 1,500 survey respondents, 82 percent reported their productivity was negatively influenced by disparate data sources. Furthermore, 91 percent felt that being able to locate data assets more rapidly would facilitate their jobs.


How to Start Your Big Data Transformation


If you're like a growing number of commercial property developers, you're starting to recognize the potential for big data to transform your organization and improve business outcomes. You're probably also slightly unsure about where to begin this transformation. The following three steps will get you started on the right path.


1. Survey the present situation.

Identify your current data tools, from CRMs and project management platforms to procurement solutions. Once you know what tools are at your disposal, it's time to identify where the gaps exist and find the solutions that can fill them.


Even developers who operate mostly on intuition will be surprised to find out how much data they actually have available for use. Any resource you've used, including apps and software, can provide valuable information. Identify what you have, and organize it based on its potential value. Decision makers across industries are often surprised by how much data is being wasted in their organizations.


2. Develop a road map.

Take time to craft an implementation strategy that outlines the tools you're looking to integrate. A complete strategy puts these tools on a tentative implementation timeline, which is especially critical for projects with multiple stages. Develop a thorough road map from the beginning, and you'll make the process as efficient as possible.


Knowing which tools you'll need and when you'll need them is also vital for setting a realistic budget. Getting your data into a usable form can be expensive, but by creating a well-thought-out road map, you'll be able to identify areas where existing tools can accelerate an otherwise lengthy process.


3. Cultivate buy-in.

Digital transformations can be a jarring experience, particularly for employees who are caught off guard by change. Spend time educating your employees about how they stand to benefit from technological upgrades. They'll be better equipped to handle the transition and less likely to make simple mistakes.


Don't forget investors or other stakeholders. Change can be hard, especially if you're paying for it and are uncertain about the return. Instead of trying to disrupt the industry on day one, start with small wins that develop expertise, build momentum, and allow you to continuously move the bar higher. Investors will also be more likely to sign off on initiatives to unlock big data if they have concrete evidence of return.


Technology is creating exciting opportunities around big data, but commercial developers should note that it's also leveling the playing field. The competitive advantage gained by technology adoption starts out strong but will fade away as more companies get on board. With that in mind, it's imperative to follow the above steps, adopt early, and iterate often. With the right approach, your organization can unlock insights hidden in big data and tap into business value that was previously overlooked.


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