For several years now the term “big data” has become quite the buzzword. But what, exactly, does this term mean and, more importantly, how does it specifically impact your business? The property management industry, like so many others, is one in which mountains of information and data sets are gathered every day. The key is extracting what’s valuable out of that data and leveraging it to your advantage. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Here are a few tips to help you master the big data phenomenon like a pro.
The beauty of big data is that it’s so chock-full of information that you can glean almost anything you want from it. But with literally billions of data points (and growing), you can’t really do much until you understand precisely what it is you want to learn. Some examples of aligning data with company objectives might include driving growth, responding to competitive threats or delivering exceptional client service. Identifying these goals will help you pinpoint and reduce the data down to something more manageable.
There are a wide variety of ways companies can collect the data they need, including the internet, mobile technology and even online surveys. The way you choose to gather information for your property management company is something you and other key decision makers will have to determine, but regardless of the chosen method, data collection is the next step in the process. Don’t expect much of this data to make sense at this stage in the game, as it is typically raw and quite dense.
Once you have your goals in place and have gathered the raw data you will use in developing strategies to achieve those goals, the next step is to break those goals down into key metrics that you’ll need to measure. These can be further categorized into core metrics, or those that are essential to your property management company’s success, and “nice to have” metrics.
Determine who will be in charge of analyzing the data sets being gathered. Many executives make the mistake of forgetting the human element in this step of the process. Machines are great for collecting and organizing data, but it takes people with analytical skills and creative minds to take all those numbers and turn them into actionable insights. If this isn’t your strong point, you may find it necessary to recruit one or more data analysts to join your team.
Remember that there are plenty of advanced technological tools available at your disposal to help organize, store and optimize the data you’ve collected. For instance, using property management software to track customer data can help you identify trends that uncover new business opportunities to explore. The right data management system can also be invaluable in the event of an audit.
Finally, be ready and willing to adapt to changes as they come. New technology and additional data are being introduced almost daily, which means businesses must adapt accordingly if they are to remain competitive. Additionally, the insights you’re gleaning from big data will likely require changes to your business practices as well. For example, after collecting and analyzing information about your customers’ demographics or buying patterns, you may need to adjust your marketing strategies.
The world is full of valuable information that can help business executives develop more profitable strategies for the future, but only if you know how to gather and use that data to your advantage. This framework should provide a good foundation upon which you can start to leverage the data that’s available to you to bring your property management company to the next level.