Excitement is building ahead of Proptech Connect, one of Europe’s largest proptech events, which is set to take place in London from the 6th to the 7th of September. Among the many panels and talks throughout the event, one of the panel discussions in particular looks set to catch the eye.
The topic is “How to leverage data to drive forward your organisation”, and it features industry experts such as Knight Frank’s Simon Hayter, Brivo’s Jeff Nielsen and RICS’ Andrew Knight. This roundtable promises to highlight the best means of achieving data-driven real estate success, from those in the industry who actively pursue that outcome.
This idea is also central to our work at Property Inspect, so let’s take a look at the importance of data in modern business practices, its role in commercial property decision-making, and the benefits that can be reaped as a result of a forward-thinking, data-driven approach.
The importance of data in modern business practices
There’s no denying the value of data. A Harvard Business Review study recently revealed that companies making data-driven decisions are more profitable than their competitors.
Although this realisation has caused the rethinking of models across the banking and insurance sectors, commercial property companies on the whole have been slow to catch on. Speaking to Forbes, technology investor Louisa Xu picked up on this, saying that although real estate is the largest asset class in the world, “it is one of the last to adopt technology.”
However, there has been a gradual switch from using pen, paper and spreadsheets to adopting integrated property management technologies – going from documents to data. This enables the collection and analysis of commercial property data at a much more impactful scale, and, as such, data-driven technologies are being leveraged for an overall competitive advantage.
The digitalisation trend has accelerated following the pandemic, with the wider adoption of data-driven real estate technologies to address issues such as environmental, social and governance (ESG), within which sits an emphasis on sustainability and the eventual achievement of net zero.
However, there are still challenges to overcome in terms of managing the change and ensuring that property professionals have the skills required to get the most out of data-enabling technologies.
In a recent RICS Tech Partner Programme Survey, it was revealed that the need to increase efficiencies across the sector, which still lags behind all other sectors, is driving the adoption of data and technology.
One survey participant said that since 2020, there have effectively been two main drivers of technology and data adoption in the sector. The first is an increased level of attention on sustainability, and the second, unsurprisingly, was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In terms of digitalisation, following the pandemic, there has been widespread adoption in users preferring automated solutions. This is particularly true in commercial real estate.
This increased technological adoption has occurred as a result of changes in the use of commercial spaces and the need for carrying out remote property surveys. It has meant the wider use of paperless and virtual solutions for tasks that were previously carried out in person, with a pen and a clipboard.
Addressing the opportunities and challenges of real estate digitalisation, Andrew Knight said: “The sector is in some respects, still very archaic and poor in terms of the quality of data that’s out there….data is often siloed, not particularly well structured, and not even available digitally.”
This presents somewhat of a challenge, as the insights are only as good as the data. So where do we go from here?
Driving the shift towards data-driven decision making
The pace of adoption is beginning to pick up, with increased flexibility and ease of use cited among the top reasons to shift towards data-driven decision-making, with the demonstrable ROI of commercial property technologies being realised.
Using Property Inspect, for example, gives property professionals access to a single source of truth, with key data being shared through the live dashboard or through our partner integrations.
As we mentioned in our blog on the role of commercial property management technology, these tools and solutions make property professionals’ work easier, safer and more transparent, leading to numerous efficiencies.
Andrew Knight has lent his voice to the topic, saying that it’s not just tech for tech’s sake, it’s because tech delivers real benefits and can be cost-effective. He said: “You can actually demonstrate that it does have a return on investment, that it saves time, and that it increases profitability. It increases your ability to win business by increasing the quality of service you can provide.”
The RICS global data and tech lead also pointed out that property software integrations are vital, given that there’s no single piece of technology which allows for streamlined end-to-end commercial property management.
“There’s this requirement that these systems work together. And it’s particularly around data that can flow from one system to the next. They need to be able to pull datasets together and give that sort of single pane of glass view, depending on the context and pull [of] data from multiple systems.”
The benefits of data-driven tech adoption
Informed decision making
With access to increasingly advanced technologies, property professionals are able to make better-informed decisions. Such tools allow for the real-time monitoring of property performance, making it easier to identify necessary changes for reduced expense and improved income. The automated collection and presentation of data also affords considerable time savings, which can be put to use in the better management of commercial property assets.
Using the latest data-driven real estate solutions, one can predict the need for potentially-cost saving maintenance of equipment, facilities and other physical assets. Property Inspect makes it possible to share real-time property reports and alert team members to the need for such work, effectively limiting the risk of downtime and saving any unforeseen expenses.
Efficient resource allocation
Facilities management tools also allow for the more efficient allocation of physical and intangible assets. Vital property information can be shared with investors, tenants and other stakeholders for a collective understanding of optimising commercial asset value. Efficiency is bound to improve as a result of streamlined inventory management and handling of maintenance duties.
Compliance can be ensured with real-time notifications of any changes in property legislation. Such notifications may indicate the need for change in the management of commercial properties, with continuous improvements being made for the avoidance of any legal issues down the line. It is also possible to extend the lifespan and improve the eco-friendliness of commercial assets with enhanced maintenance tracking and reporting. With the emphasis placed firmly on net zero and sustainability, this may prove valuable as these regulations evolve in the coming years.
Improved tenant experience
The multiple benefits of commercial property technology combine to result in a better tenant experience. With preventative maintenance tasks being carried out, tenants can rest assured that their health and safety is treated with absolute importance. Everything from energy efficiency to property security can be monitored, with changes being made for greater levels of tenant satisfaction. This will make for higher retention rates and improved ROI.
Are you among the switched-on generation of commercial property managers looking to achieve a competitive edge with data-driven real estate? Start with a free trial of Property Inspect today.