In the recent past, we have seen a rise in property tech companies changing the way data is aggregated and reported.
As a result, there are an increasing number of data points for commercial real estate that are helping institutional investors understand the market and make more informed decisions. Tech companies are beginning to harness this wealth of information and hand it back to the property industry, effectively increasing revenue, mitigating risk and increasing efficiency.
However, with an increased number of datasets available, there is an enhanced need for improved reporting and standardisation. With so much more data available and coming online, the industry needs systems that can effectively mine data and interpret useful insight.
In light of the major political and economic events of recent times, it has taken valuable time for institutional investors to determine the asset exposure, or risk, that their portfolios contain.
Managing contracts, spreadsheets and tenant information all sit in separate reporting systems and, with no industry standard for aggregating each dataset, it takes time to put together a full picture of how a portfolio is performing.
The lack of transparency and standardisation of data seems contradictory to the size of the industry. Arguably we are working in a sector that is performing better than other asset classes and holds a substantial portion of the world’s wealth, so why has there not been a standardisation of data and reporting to increase performance and mitigate risk?
With the varied number of new data-mining tools available, should they not be standardised to ensure that the technology being used is both fair and working safely and effectively for those supporting institutional investors?
Whatever your specialisation within the commercial property arena, the technology you choose should be specifically designed with a commercial property audience in mind. Every industry is unique and has various ways of reporting, as well as nuanced challenges.
However, the sheer volume of tech platforms available means that there are more tech options on offer than there are solutions capable of supporting commercial real estate data and reporting needs.
There are vast privacy, insurance and liability issues to be addressed in the changing digital landscape
A technology solution should be flexible and continuously improving so it aligns with long- and short-term business strategies and the way a company works, ultimately improving workflow. Static solutions do not take into account the varying nature of property companies, investment strategies and internal structure.
Technology should be streamlined to limit the amount of ‘digital baggage’. With many different data streams available, platform technology should serve to not only provide critical core functionality but also to allow for the aggregation of all historic technological interfaces and present them all on one screen. They must also be available to internal and external teams in an easily comprehensible and usable format.
Governance is particularly important with any tech being implemented. In order to provide a level of standardisation or forecasting, one must have access to a single version of the truth, ensuring that all reports represent reality rather than metrics that simply serve to benefit managing partners and their job security. Data must be secure, accurate and easily disseminated throughout an organisation.
The property industry must look at how to standardise technology. There are vast privacy, insurance and liability issues that will need to be addressed in the changing digital landscape. Individual companies must use their voice to champion the correct use of data solutions, ensuring best practice. Institutional investors who fail to find solutions to data and reporting needs will face an unsure future.