Empowering Business Through Connected Data
We live in a digital age consumed with instantaneous access to information. Ninety percent of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years, nearing 2.5 quintillion bytes each day. With 4.9 billon unique mobile users, 8.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices and innumerable unstructured transactions generated from the web and social media each second, the global datasphere’s growth rate dwarfs Moore’s Law.
Our ability to transform bits and bytes of data into actionable real-time information, coupled with predictive analytics, is still in its infancy. As companies connect these disparate data points, new innovative opportunities will emerge, and long standing processes will be disrupted. Agile tech savvy firms will unlock creativity, bringing new solutions to market at an accelerated pace. To stay competitive, how do traditional businesses embrace today’s digital first paradigm that empowers employees to achieve more through connected data?
In practice, the heart of our ubiquitous digital universe is a comprehensive ecosystem designed to deliver collaboration and transparency while supporting a corporate vision. To put this into a business context, we invested in a comprehensive overhaul of our long-established residential leasing process. Our goal was to reduce the number of system touch points, automate manual processes, connect disparate unsynchronized silos of information, and provide a greater level of self-service. Secondarily, we would replace Excel as the reporting tool of choice with analytic platforms delivering real-time insight and visibility into trends, fostering a proactive management style.
Based on anecdotal conversations, we started to analyze a broad spectrum of roles and responsibilities. It became apparent many daily tasks had become disconnected and layered with unnecessary duplication. As we assessed the way people worked, our end users struggled to visualize the possibilities and were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with change. This dilemma is one every agent of change has faced, knowing that without stakeholder’s support, moving forward is fraught with risk and uncertainly.
To rebuild confidence and trust in technology, we turned to a new digital approach to illuminate our vision: storyboarding. Through a series of meetings with key employees, we delved into current processes, pain points, system usability and reporting requirements. The result utilized a graphical UX / UI approach that brought our findings to life in a simple, intuitive fashion. Through a "Business Lifecycle Storyboard," our end users were able to clearly visualize how technology would enhance their daily tasks and interactions with prospects and clients.
During our development cycle, the intrinsic value of preparing detailed workflow process blueprints, with accompanying swim-lane diagrams, became evident. It guided our strategic in-depth review of each application's ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram), focusing on table indexes and field attributes essential to successful data mapping. Furthermore, the creation of custom staging tables facilitating field level transformation based on business process triggers were developed to maintain system integrity.
With disparate data silos now connected, our employees had the ability to see trends and behavioral patterns across the entire lifecycle, building a foundation for strategic engagement. Through an intuitive graphical interface, managers and analysts could also visualize data from different viewpoints empowering them to make more accurate and timely business decisions. Over time, as historical data points are collected, new patterns will emerge allowing dynamic decision-making to drive revenue increases and operating efficiencies.
Cybersecurity risks are growing daily, and with proprietary data, intellectual property and perhaps a firm’s competitive advantage traversing the cloud, our vulnerabilities will grow as well. When constructing system interfaces and data connections, always incorporate a few simple precautionary cyber guidelines:
- Require VPN connections for data exchange
- Whitelist traffic using firewall rules
- Encrypt data at 256 AES, both in transit and at rest
- Implement strong passwords policies
- Monitor system intrusion alerts
This Week’s Sponsor
CBRE|ESI helps its clients successfully manage the energy use of complex building portfolios. We help companies take control of their infrastructure, connect disparate systems, lower energy costs, increase occupant comfort and safety, and prolong reliability and uptime in a way that lets them focus their time and talent on their core business. Please visit our website at www.thinkesi.com
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
FASB Compliance, Impacts to the Leasing Process, and Other Strategic Opportunities - 2/22/2018
With FASB compliance quickly approaching in January of 2019, organizations are required to get their real estate (as well as other assets) leases onto the corporate balance sheet. While this is primarily being done to more accurately report on the financial health of an organization by recognizing additional liabilities, there will be profound benefits realized when the data is collected and organized. Lease analysis, occupancy, utilization and other business metrics will all now be accessible for strategic planning. This webinar will focus on the compliance requirements, deadline realities, technology strategies and the long-term opportunities resulting from an enhanced and improved data organization platform.
Jean Chick is a Deloitte Partner in Real Estate and Location Strategy with over 21 years of experience. She is a leader in real estate technology enablement, portfolio optimization, advanced workplace strategy and operating model design. She has led a global corporate real estate function including all strategy, design, transaction management, facilities and program management. Jean navigates complex financial and operational issues while balancing change management to maximize return on real estate investments.
Edward Lubieniecki is a Managing Director of RealFoundations and leads the firm's corporate real estate practice. He has over 25 years' experience as a real estate management consultant. His experience with global corporate and institutional clients includes an extensive variety of assignments of significant complexity.