11 January 2023

The power of data in CRE

How to leverage the power of data to future-proof your corporate real estate

The pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we interact with the workplace — with as little as 25% of employees working in office buildings. With hybrid and remote work as the new normal, this shift poses significant questions for corporate real estate (CRE) managers when managing and planning the office layout. 

For instance, what square footage of office space do organizations need when planning ahead for the next two, or five to ten years? How can they continue to strategize the utilization of commercial space, without it feeling like a shot in the dark? 

Moreover, after the challenges brought on by the pandemic, inflation is rampant. For some sectors, the entire operating profit will be absorbed by energy costs — which are up to seven times higher than housing costs for industrial companies. It’s also weighing on corporate real estate decisions, with over half of large firms having reduced their real estate footprint since the beginning of the pandemic, and 28% of these aiming to reduce their portfolio by up to 10% in the next two years. 

What should corporations do now to safeguard their business?

Given the current energy crisis and impending recession, lease terminations are happening frequently, with 41% of organizations looking for more cost-effective buildings and lower rents. It’s time for corporations to urgently implement effective solutions to safeguard and future-proof their business. 

To successfully survive and grow in this climate, they must remain agile and find inventive solutions around mobility of people in their buildings. Through accurate portfolio planning and “rightsizing” to adjust their space and square footage needs. And it all starts with collecting the right data.

Data is an invaluable asset in these wildly fluctuating times. Having access to the right data enables you to make data-driven, evidence-based operational decisions – while continuing to work towards top-line objectives such as productivity and sustainability. Marek Sacha CEO BuildingMinds

The value of real-time data for real estate post-pandemic agility

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been hailed as a promising beacon for the real estate sector for years now, making us all reconsider traditional approaches to property management. But in the post-pandemic world, data is not only invaluable to implement IoT-based predictive maintenance in corporate real estate — it is necessary. Evidence is mounting of organizations using this data to help uncover trends in CRE and drive better operational decisions throughout the property lifecycle — from buying, financing, and building through leasing and occupying. 

In automatic real estate, access to near real-time (NRT) data offers the most substantial benefits for enhancing the efficiency of CRE. Collecting and disseminating this data also contributes to greater real estate transparency and it can lead to significant payoffs — from saving energy costs, and optimizing air quality, to improving sustainability. Done correctly, it should enhance efficiency and speed up processes to hit your commercial real estate metrics.

But despite its potential, a little too few corporations are adopting the right Business Intelligence technology to help them scale their system data (with allegedly a third of the CRE industry still running off Microsoft Excel), and reap its benefits — perhaps due to the overwhelming challenge of beginning to tackle data.

The challenge of using data in real estate management

JLL’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2020 reveals that technology adoption has helped many real estate markets boost their position in the ranking, but that the majority have had trouble implementing new technology fast enough. So, it appears that despite their best efforts and digitization initiatives, companies in our sector don't have the comprehensive elements in place to actualize their plans.

The issue is that real estate benchmarking and harnessing data is extremely complex. While it’s difficult to aggregate data and use it correctly for a single individual building, it’s vastly more difficult to do so for a portfolio of buildings — where there can be millions of data points: from lighting, to security and fire safety. These systems are often designed, built, and installed by different manufacturers, not integrated with each other — and therefore, the data exists in silos and is not standardized. The data points are scattered across different systems and platforms that require varying protocols and authentication methods. 

Moreover, simply having access to this data is not enough. To be reliable, the data needs to be collected, consolidated, and extracted with speed and precision. It can only be used once it is standardized and processed. Mapping this data manually and without the right tools, expertise and frameworks are not only resource-intensive and time-consuming, but it can lead to missing or low-quality data — which renders this process entirely inefficient and wasteful. 

Overall, the lack of digitalization across the CRE sector prevents data reporting from becoming a real business value driver instead of a mandatory burden. Rather than questioning the validity of data and digital innovation, corporations should urgently be looking for the right tools to access and leverage near-real-time data.

How to use near real-time data to enhance efficiency

As a CRE manager, using an ESG analysis and reporting data platform like BuildingMinds can help your organization overcome the biggest roadblock to digital transformation in real estate, which is the efficient and reliable collection of data from smart meters, IoT sensors, and other sources.

Using an Application Program Interface (API), our integrated solution supports you in real estate data management, by mapping millions of data points that can be interlinked and integrated to deliver near real-time insights on building experience, cost efficiency, and sustainability KPIs. You can use a variety of corporate real estate modules to fuel success and help you achieve goals across different areas, such as:

  • Improve sustainability to meet environmental targets: While you may already be looking ahead to 2050’s net-zero challenge, the payback time of sustainability measures is much shorter and visible than ever due to the high energy costs. The BuildingMinds Sustainability module can contribute to operational savings and accelerate sustainability efforts through consumption analysis and carbon emission calculations. 

Get all consumption and emissions data from different energy sources and fugitive emissions in a single, reliable insights cockpit. The data is gathered and normalized, enabling you to identify immediate operational gains and cost reductions. You can also benefit from real estate benchmarking via advanced and net-zero product features on carbon risk calculation, ESG reporting, retrofit planning, and impact assessment.

  • Develop agile workforce and workplace strategies: Post-pandemic, the office is viewed as a service to employees, rather than a hub for the employer or client. This trend will drive office space planning into this next decade. So, for effective cost optimization, strategizing and implementing effective workforce and workplace strategies should be a priority. Using 3D view and real-time monitoringand technology to track your staff's space usage and analyzing occupancy habits, you will be able to identify relevant new office space needs accordingly. 

BuildingMinds’ Workspace Module is a real estate tool kit that enables you to develop agile space strategies, optimize utilization and drive cost optimization. Benefit from a 3D view of your spaces and a desk booking solution for better planning, as well as data points integration. 

  • Optimize your portfolio performance: Gathering and making connections between the vast amounts of data generated by your buildings – such as building costs, lease, energy consumption, space utilization, and financial performance – is incredibly hard to do manually. But by interlinking parts of your portfolio and identifying cost-saving opportunities, you can truly optimize your real estate portfolio’s ROI towards your business goals.

The BuildingMinds Portfolio Performance offers intuitive dashboards to effectively access data on use cases at portfolio level. You can manage KPIs and automate processes for lease, building costs, and space utilization monitoring. Benchmark low-performing assets against high-performing ones in order to devise an action plan which improves asset performance and optimizes your real estate portfolio.

  • Improve Building Experience: Aggregate well-being data on a building, floors, or spaces in a centralized location to create attractive, healthy, and efficient building experiences to drive productivity and enhance your employees’ experience. Monitor vital well-being KPIs such as temperature and CO2 concentration. Visualize KPIs in an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard in order to make data-driven decisions.

The future is now

With space usage becoming more responsive and adaptive in the new era of working, corporations must future-proof their business via integrated technology that simplifies and boosts data transparency. Digitalization drives effective risk management, a more agile business strategy, more sound future investment, and improved sustainability.

Pioneering organizations are already paving the way by experimenting with new processes and protocols, to stay ahead of the competition and be well-equipped for the big changes brought on by the “new normal”. Leading corporation Schindler is collaborating with BuildingMinds on disruptive real estate with the digitalization of Schindler’s Innovation Campus buildings in Berlin. By connecting an entire portfolio of hundreds of buildings, they aim to unlock the potential to exponentially increase value, and to sustainably reshape the future of real estate. This project will lead to workspace optimization, operations cost and emission reductions, and employee well-being.

Similarly, you can also achieve your real estate KPIs and prepare for the future of digital real estate in the long-term by leveraging the power of a real estate management solution offering ESG reporting and collection of data-based insights on a single, automated platform — supported by experts.

 

Investing in cost optimization and workplace alignment efforts are crucial to realize long-term business plans and generate value for years to come. Marek Sacha CEO BuildingMinds
Start harnessing the power of near-real-time data to level up your corporate real estate building portfolio. Talk to our experts and find the right solution to your needs today! Book your meeting

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