The Power of Commercial Real Estate Data Analysts: Unlocking the Potential of Your Data
Data has emerged as a critical asset in the rapidly evolving commercial real estate industry. However, the sheer volume of data can be overwhelming, and without the right skills and tools, its potential can go untapped. This is where commercial real estate data analysts generate value for your organization and stakeholders. These professionals have the expertise to sift through vast amounts of data, extract meaningful insights, and drive strategic decision-making.
Let’s delve into the importance of assessing your data capabilities, the crucial role of CRE data analysts, and how to find and train these invaluable team members.
1. Evaluating your data capabilities: The first step toward growth
Every commercial real estate enterprise, regardless of size, is a treasure trove of data. From underwriting deals to analyzing financials and performance, data is everywhere. However, the ability to harness this data effectively varies significantly across organizations.
To assess your data capabilities, consider the following questions:
- Can your organization centralize data from different sources into one secure place?
- Can you access this data reliably and consistently?
- Can you define and monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
- Can your organization act on data-driven insights and monitor the outcomes?
- And finally, can you spot and model macro and micro trends, and project their results?
As your data collection systems evolve, your organization needs to keep pace. This involves developing advanced capabilities to leverage all the usable data. This progression often includes moving from having general analysts to employing data analysts, and in some cases, data scientists.
2. The role of commercial real estate data analysts: Why you need them
While not every firm will require data scientists, the importance of data analysis in a CRE enterprise cannot be overstated. Data analysts take structured data and run mathematical calculations and analyses on it, a process that is invaluable when dealing with large volumes of records. However, most emerging and mid-market firms don’t need to dig so deep as to require a data scientist.
Every CRE leader should make data and analytics a core business component. The more data you have, use, and analyze, the more powerful your organization will become. Fortunately, this shift towards becoming data-centric doesn’t have to happen overnight. It can be done gradually or with the help of companies that provide data management solutions.
The key is to combine your data with a business intelligence tool to equip your analysts to tap into the power of your organizational data. Analysts with the right tools are the bridge between your data and the insights it can provide.
3. Building your team of CRE data analysts: how to find and train them
Once you understand the importance of having analysts on your team, the next step is to identify the skills needed, assess if you have someone with those skills already, or decide if you need to hire externally.
To help evaluate potential analysts, let’s review more about their roles. A CRE analyst needs to understand the business, how data increases the company’s value, and how their duties help the organization become data-centric. Their responsibilities include bringing data in, ensuring its accuracy, organizing it, storing it, and using it for visualization, reporting, analysis, or activation.
Many CRE firms already have individuals with data analysis capabilities. These are often the experts who are proficient in Excel. They can evolve into exceptional data analysts with industry- and niche-specific training. It’s typical to encounter candidates who shine in either data or real estate during the hiring process, but rarely both. In these instances, targeted education can effectively resolve this skills disparity.
Several education platforms offer data analysis, cleaning, collection, and visualization courses. However, it’s advisable to avoid overly technical programming classes, which can be overwhelming and unnecessary for most analysts.
Once trained, your analysts will examine data and use tools such as business intelligence to extract insights from it. The first step is to translate the data, and once structured, a business intelligence tool can be used to understand the data and its implications. Then the third step is implementing a data management platform, either an existing solution or custom-built software.
Building a team of CRE analysts, investing in technology tools, and incorporating data processes into all aspects of your business requires significant time, effort, and money. However, the investment is well worth it.
Becoming a data-centric powerhouse
In the world of commercial real estate, data is a powerful asset. But its potential remains untouched without the right capabilities and people to analyze it. Commercial real estate data analysts are instrumental to unlocking this potential. They allow you to harness the raw data and actionable insights, driving growth and profitability for your enterprise.
The power of your data lies not just in its collection but in its analysis and application. Investing in your data capabilities and building a team of skilled CRE analysts offers rewards far outweighing the costs. Analysts can transform your organization into a data-centric powerhouse with the proper education and tools.
Learn more about the importance of including data analysts in your team in my book, Beyond the Building.