How Data and Systems Management can accelerate your property function.

Here, we continue our series, delving into the linkages within our Property Assessment Framework (which you can download here). Continuing this series by focusing on the foundation capabilities – data and systems management.

As discussed in our article focusing on financial management, management information systems (MIS) are used to manage both financial and non-financial information. Data management is often underinvested, as it is seen as a non-core business function; even though it is the second-highest cost after salaries.

While technology is key, it is also the systems used to capture, update and report on business needs that need to be assessed.

MIS is the spine of your property business model. Like the foundation of a house, if poorly built, the entire structure is compromised.

There is a growing trend for property systems to also interact with HR on staff numbers, ICT information on system connections and performance data relevant to the core business measure.

Let us take look at the overview of the key functions and activities of data and systems management:

  • Financial systems including AP/AR, budgeting and report – this is the core engine of accurate and timely cost reporting
  • Maintenance and asset management system – managing programmed and reactive spend needs data to drive decision making
  • Help desk and work order processing – system that managing your clients like they are real clients
  • Space management – the amount of space you use drives costs to you need to track and manage the allocation of space and assets to business units
  • Project management systems – capital works spend requires different capabilities for reporting and links to asset creation
  • Lease diary and property management systems – these systems now need to the ability to provide accounting information for AASB 16 reporting
  • Visual library  – plans, specifications, contracts, photos, warranties, leases and as-built data need to be digitised and made available

What you need to look for to make the most of your data and systems management.

The first issue is whether you are using a property system or an adjunct to your enterprise system. Secondly, how has it been developed? Has the system simply evolved over time or has the data management needs of the business been developed based on a deliberate strategy?

The third element is ownership. Is the system run internally or is part of all the system outsourced? Increasingly organisations with large and complex portfolios choose to outsource the data management to leverage the technology investment of specialised service providers.

Think you might have a problem in your data and systems management capabilities?

Most managers know that their systems are failing them through the inability to get timely and accurate reporting. Other symptoms include:

  • Multiple sources for the same information that don’t match up.
  • Limited or no ability to benchmark the portfolio or compare the relative performance for business units, geographies or sites
  • Where only one (or two) people in your business knowhow to extract data or worse when it’s a contractor or external vendor!
  • Inability to modify or change without horrendous development costs or time frames
  • Lack of trust in the completeness or accuracy of the information in a system.

When these issues occur not just once, but regularly, then the chances are that your systems have not kept pace with your business needs.

The complexity and variety of data captured and ever-increasing demands on reporting, benchmarking and cost justification mean that systems are often run on multiple platforms. An assessment of current data systems and a comparison to market capabilities will enable the design of the right mix of internal and external functionality.

Do you need help applying our framework to your business, or make sense of the data? Contact us today, and we can help you identify and resolve problems within your property function.