In this first blog post, I will explain how important it is for companies to focus on the analysis of the data they have, and what challenges and possibilities are faced by Corporate Real Estate and Facility Managers when it comes to handling and analysing data.
The importance of data-driven decision making
Hurricanes are a common type of natural disaster in the U.S. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), 36 hurricanes had hit the country between 1995 and 2017, of which 13 were considered major. For decades, retail stores have experienced brave inhabitants that stay put to weather the storm, stockpiling their inventory. How did stores anticipate this sudden change in demand?
Usually, a group of store managers would sit together and discuss what products should be bought for inventory. They came up with a sensible list of groceries like cases of bottled water, bread, milk, eggs, toilet paper, batteries, and torches. Because it would make sense to stockpile these essentials, right? Then a big American supermarket chain analysed their own collected scanner data and found the truth.
The top sellers are Strawberry Pop-Tarts, beer and liquor! This phenomenon has a great name, emotion-regulation consumption: buying hedonic goods to compensate for negative emotions, lowering stress and thereby increasing happiness. An important lesson: by analysing in-house information, the right supplies can be bought, and more profits can be made.
Using your ‘gut feeling’ to predict behaviour has proved to be less successful than collecting and using data to do the same.
Leveraging data in CRE and FM
Not only retailers, but organisations in Corporate Real Estate and Facility Management should also invest in collecting and analysing data. In fact, In CRE and FM, Big Data and Analytics are the ultimate “game-changers” over the next three years. Many organisations in this field are already capitalising on it, making their management of expenses and revenues more effective, contributing to the overall success of the company - the true goal for CRE and FM.
For CRE and FM, the current digital revolution in our society has resulted in the possibility of having smart buildings packed with sensors that continuously collect information about the buildings or about the people inside. Imagine the added value of gaining complete insight into how usage of that space impacts operating costs and workplace performance.
All in all, previously inaccessible information can now help people to arrive at more informed conclusions. If your company can have 1) data in place 2) the right questions in mind and 3) room to invest in the appropriate tools to analyse this data to find answers to these questions, the possibilities are endless.
Challenges in Big Data & Analytics
All major opportunities come with their own challenges. With regard to the optimal use of Big Data & Analytics, good examples are:
- High quantity vs. Low quality. The storage of massive amounts of data is a huge challenge. Data lakes and warehouses are used to combine raw data across multiple platforms, many of which are managed by outsourced parties. This often leads to inconsistent and inaccurate data. It makes data handling an overwhelming job. Companies are becoming more aware of the importance of using a standardised approach to define and collect the data.
- We have the data, now what? Corporate real estate and facility managers have been heavily focused on collecting as much data as possible, through point solutions, CAFM and IWMS solutions, sensors, and beacons. It is crucial, however, to take a step back and to keep the initial goal in mind.
- The right analytics (BI) tool. You do not just want to sit on your goldmine. You want to extract the right information from this huge pile of data and transform this into actionable insights.
What solutions are there?
These challenges have given rise to a new breed of specialised business intelligence tools, like Tableau, QlikView, SpotFire, and Microsoft Power BI. These tools promise easy access to timely and relevant information for all business users. They produce impressive reports, are surprisingly easy to use and come with rich mapping capabilities. In CRE and FM, we see using BI tools as particularly promising for point-in-time decision support.
How can Planon help you?
Planon has recently launched a new functionality called: ‘Planon Connect for Analytics’. It is an extension of our product portfolio that allows your Business Intelligence or Analytics tool to be connected with the data out of any of our Planon Universe solutions. Connecting to Planon data and discovering the story in your own data will be much simpler and more efficient.
Are you currently using Planon Universe and have questions about our new functionality ‘Planon Connect for Analytics’? Learn more here.
I hope that with this blog, I have made you more aware of what analytics can do to take your CRE and FM strategy to the next level.