Asset managers gather data to help determine everything from actual costs to occupancy issues to troubled properties. While this dedication to data is important, according to Forbes, the problem is that we are approaching the breaking point with how much data a company can process, analyze, and act upon. The right amount of data at the right time can enable you to apply the best solutions to real problems concerning property performance, and not overwhelm you with data overload. Since 60-73% of all data collected goes unused for analytics, it is important to gather the information you need when you need it, in order to manage your business efficiently.

An abundance of data can be good and bad. While information about your property portfolio can be a source of successful decision making, inaccurate or outdated information can result in costly decisions that do not address your property’s real problems. Successful asset management can depend on the quality of your data and how well you are using it. And while companies are aiming to establish data-driven cultures, few have been successful in doing so.

Working Harder, Not Smarter?

The amount of data produced today is causing enterprises to become overwhelmed and work harder rather than smarter to determine which data to analyze. Companies have more information about user preferences than ever before, but it is overwhelming to parse through the data to extract valuable insights. If you don’t attack an issue when it first arises, you are more likely to become bogged down by the next problem, and the next, and the next. Eventually,  you’ll feel the full weight of those unaddressed problems on your shoulders and may believe they have become too big to tackle. In the same way, many companies have quit collecting or reviewing the data they have because the sheer amount of it is intimidating.

How can you avoid data overload? Start by determining whether your data is good, meaning it is relevant and current to your property portfolio. Then, tackle one problem at a time.

What is Good Data?

Whether your goal is to improve portfolio performance or to increase staff efficiency, good data coupled with a good Business Intelligence (BI) solution can help identify the positive and negative patterns that will allow you to course-correct and increase profitability.

It is challenging to determine the best business strategy to achieve growth goals, and analyzing data can exaggerate that feeling of overload. The Harvard Business Review outlines specific guidelines on how to avoid the pitfalls of blindly trusting what might appear to be good data. One of the pitfalls is that “analytic skills are concentrated in too few employees. When a new form of analytics enters the workplace, companies typically start by hiring experts versed in using it, reasoning that the skills will trickle down to all. But too many companies are stuck in the ‘expert’ phase. They have a handful of highly skilled analytics professionals but have not begun to train everyone else to make use of their analytics methodology.”

By focusing equally on information and on technology, you will create a data stream that is more accurate and reliable. Here are three ways to maximize your investment in an analytics solution:

  1. Know what is already available to you. Ensure you know the types of data that are already available to you through platforms you use. You may be surprised to learn that there are valuable metrics you are not making use of.
  2. Ensure data integrity. Make sure your solution provider supports data validation and checks for errors and outliers.
  3. Facilitate the right data access to the right people. Empowering your team with proper training on how to review and utilize data valuable to their role can create an informed data stream.

The Importance of Active, Accurate Data

The days of manual data collection are no more. Manual data collection is slow and opens the door to human error which can invalidate the data and lead to inaccurate reporting. The introduction of BI solutions that create access to relevant, clean data in real time has transformed the multifamily industry. BI is comprised of the strategies and technologies used to provide historical and current avenues of business operations. Multifamily owners and managers that have moved beyond antiquated data collection methods to invest in powerful BI solutions are able to identify the root causes of property performance issues, and implement more targeted and timely fixes.

So now that you have the data. How do you implement the strategy?

    1. Identify your business objectives, specific goals, and any measurable performance indicators. This helps identify important metrics to track in order to measure progress to these goals over time.
    2. Develop a process and timeline around tracked metrics. Creating a system for reviewing and documenting the metrics involved ensures consistency in data trends.
    3. Create benchmarks for comparison. Utilize existing data to identify trends, averages, and other means by which to compare metrics over time. This can also help inform key performance indicators and smaller SMART goals to be measured for progress.
    4. Measure and interpret. Enact your process over time to gather data points necessary to compare to your stated goals. Develop conclusions over the success of your efforts and their impact on your results.
    5. Implement an action plan. Create tactics to improve or adjust areas where the data does not meet specific goals or contribute to objectives. Modify goals based on achievements or insights. Repeat.

The right BI software for your company can empower owners and managers to make timely, targeted decisions that will increase efficiency and address the right issues to ultimately run a successful portfolio. Implementing BI software can mean the difference between identifying the actual problem areas in your portfolio and making rash budget decisions based on poor data or personal assumptions. Time is valuable in such a busy industry.