Modern analytics tools and services are literally transforming businesses of every size and empowering them in new ways; making them smarter, faster, and more profitable. How do they do this? They bring advanced capabilities from cloud-based tools allowing you to understand and improve your own operations and greatly enhancing what you know about your properties, vendors, tenants and other customers. These tools are powerful, easy to use, and flexible enough to connect to most existing sources of data that drive your business.
Not Just For Enterprises Anymore
These capabilities used to be reserved for large, well-off businesses that had the money and expertise to buy and operate these enterprise-class tools. The new breed of technologies are designed for business users and are much less expensive than the older technologies they replace. New tools like Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, Looker, and many others, can connect to most any data source (including spreadsheets) and slice and dice your data anyway you prefer. This is important because you can combine data, look for trends, and generally explore your data the way that makes sense to you.
For example, data can be quickly organized and analyzed to see how individual properties are performing against custom KPIs and even industry benchmarks. These reports are all web-enabled and allow you to click and explore the data anyway you want. Perhaps the most popular way to present the data is through a map interface; just click on the property and key metrics are instantly available.
Visualize Real-Time Data Instantly
When connected to your existing financial systems (and even spreadsheets), reports that used to take days to create are now instantly available with accurate, fresh information. Because you have updated data, you don’t have to guess how things are going; you see trends developing as they happen so they are not a surprise at the end of your reporting period.
So how do you get started? Even in this time of advanced computing and cloud technologies, spreadsheets are still the most common way property firms report on financial and operational performance. And while it may not be the best way to analyze your data, using your existing spreadsheets as a data source lets you understand how these tools work and get the most out of your existing information. Remember, you can organize your data any way you want and create truly stunning visualizations of your data. The reports can be turned into web-based dashboards and easily shared within your business.
Admittedly, all this sounds pretty basic, and in many ways, it is. But consider for a moment that most real estate firms don’t know, in an instant, how they are doing at any given moment in time. Moreover, every stakeholder wants a customized view of business performance. The CFO will want to know how things are going across the firm but a property manager will have more parochial needs; they want to know how their properties are doing against their own key performance metrics.
No More Guesswork with Data Driven Decisions
In summary, the process looks something like this: firms sign-up with one of these vendors (usually with a free trial version), and kick-the-tires by creating interactive, visual representations of their financial spreadsheets. Once the tool is better understood and the staff knows how to get the most out of it, it can be connected directly to your financial systems or really, any data source of your choice. This allows end-users have direct, secure, up-to-date access to the most recent performance metrics available. This is a huge step forward; decisions can be made with actual information instead of guesses being made from stale information. More than ever, business performance can be understood, shared, and acted upon. This is truly transformative.
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