Business Tips

Benefitting from new Connectivity as a Small Business

By Paige Mueller, CRE, Managing Director, Eigen 10 Advisors, LLC

A new connectivity is forming as hundreds of tech firms begin to address the needs of the real estate industry. Platforms by firms such as Tableau, Microsoft’s Power BI, and Salesforce are now frequently being used by real estate firms to manage their own data–and push it back out to their tenants, employees and investors in easy-to-use dashboard formats, to view customized key performance indicators (KPIs) wherever they are.

In fact, Gartner Peer Insights lists 70 firms in the Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) category. If the ABI firm doesn’t keep up with their competitors, you can easily change platforms a year down the road. Unlike the past, the new ABI platforms allow inexpensive and ongoing customization that can aggregate, graph, table and map just about anything. This takes real estate firms out of the programming business—a major expense and stumbling block in the past.

Why are dashboards important? Reports that used to take a couple of days to create on a quarterly basis are now available at the touch of a key. Portfolio managers can quickly view leasing, debt or budget risks at the portfolio level and drill down to the manager or property level, to identify where pressures are building before they become a problem. We can now have proactive rather than reactive management.

We are also developing dashboards for clients for a number of other needs. Dashboard systems can aggregate internal as well as external market data and put it in an ongoing strategic framework that ties into underwriting, scenario testing, portfolio planning and reporting systems. Other systems are aimed at demographics, site selection and target market factors, risk, and news alerts, among other issues.

New technology is also creating efficiencies by enabling short-term connections in short-term commitments to work space. Firms like Upwork provide a global virtual connection for small companies and freelancers to connect and bring in operating expertise in areas such as technology and accounting. Forbes lists 78 similar websites citing 35 percent of the workforce now in freelance jobs.

As technology continues to permeate our lives, these short-term connections are likely to be the new way of life, completely changing our work processes, structures and environments. Counselors who adapt can lead clients through the changing tech maze, making their businesses more efficient, productive and profitable along the way.