Big data in the ascendency

The level of information available today is of a magnitude never encountered before.  A recent article in the FT estimates there are currently 5bn connected devices in the world gathering and creating data and this is expected to rise to 20bn by 2020.

Our connectedness and easy access to data is a double-edged sword. We want government and businesses to keep us secure and provide us with better services, but equally, we sense the threat to and seek to protect our freedoms.

So what’s in it for businesses?

From a business perspective, UK corporate intelligence / business intelligence is increasingly being seen as a positive tool.  Big data analytics are seen as hugely desirable and the level of buy-in from large companies across sectors is contributing to the upsurge in growth of the technology sector.

The hope is that big data analytics can lead to smarter, better informed strategies, monitoring and measurement of performance.  Potentially it would provide competitive advantage by spotting trends and opportunities and increase efficiency and productivity, shifting business intelligence from a descriptive to a predictive process, in order to anticipate changes in business conditions and make the necessary adjustments.

And specifically from a corporate real estate point of view?

There are a number of significant advantages that Big CRE Data can deliver:

  • Better inform and educate business about space use / workplace planning.  Companies can use data related to space occupancy to judge which spaces are being actively used and which might be ripe for consolidation – to determine how much space they need for their employees.
  • To forecast outcomes using predictive analytics. The availability of advanced analytics tools enables predictive analysis across a wide range of variables. It can validate strategic recommendations by providing proof points that back investment, acquisition and disposition decisions; analysing factors as disparate as lease expirations, projected capital investments and macro-economics.
  • Create competitive advantage through benchmarking.
    Comparative data can be used to forecast the impact of cost-cutting or new investment on customer service, morale, productivity and other key metrics. Potential improvements to operations can also be identified, by anticipating the highest-impact investments and focus on preventative maintenance. 
  •  Inform capital planning through fact-based decision-making
    Companies can learn to take action with confidence informed by portfolio analytics.  Organisations can likewise improve decision-making related to M&A, product launches and other major business moves with a robust understanding of real estate investment implications. The most sophisticated systems assimilate unstructured data like Tweets and search engine optimization (SEO) alongside quantitative data to uncover challenges and opportunities.

Big data collection and analysis is definitely in the ascendency.  Within the business arena in general and the corporate real estate sphere the benefits are clear.