Real estate executives increasingly acknowledge the need for data governance frameworks

The survey, which captured views of 750 CRE executives— owners/operators, developers, brokers, and investors—in 10 countries during the summer of 2019, shows that the real estate industry is starting to take data governance significantly more seriously now that individual firms are capturing and utilising their own proprietary data for businesses decisions.

Technology has unleashed the potential of data for real estate owners, investors, developers and financiers – and with that comes responsibility for security and new protocols. Deloitte says real estate companies need to develop platforms, processes, and a governance structure that enable data discovery, availability, management, and usability. The development of a flexible data governance framework that outlines processes, policies, standards, roles, responsibilities, and procedures will structure data’s commercial utility and security.

Deloitte explains:

“Data governance policies should also identify the data management and governance owners and assign responsibilities. This is important even if the data is managed externally, as is the case for 45% of our survey respondents. For the remaining

55% of respondents, data is managed by a chief data officer or an equivalent C-suite executive or by collaboration across business verticals. The bigger focus, though, should be on recruiting the appropriate talent to manage various data governance activities.”

“CRE companies, managers, tenants, and third-party vendors should be clear about who owns different forms of sensor data captured at their properties. These parties can improve transparency on data ownership by outlining policies at the time of a service contract and avoid any confusion related to the ways in which the data can be utilised. For instance, the data captured by beacons in retail stores could be owned individually or collectively by the retailer, mall owners, and/or the equipment vendors.

“CRE organisations should consider using data lakes, a common repository that stores all structured and unstructured data at any scale and in raw format. Next, they would require a data dictionary, a ‘firmwide policy that defines the terms and attributes of each data element’ that can be used across an organization.26 When put into action, CRE organizations would have to index which specific data characteristics they want to use to support the use of data analytics tools to generate meaningful insights. They should also consider classifying data based on its value and risk, such as personally identifiable information (PII), and ensure compliance with regulations, such as GDPR.”

There are a variety of tools and technologies available for every stage of the data governance process. CRE companies should evaluate and make appropriate choices based on quantity and quality of data they can capture and analyses they wish to perform, Deloitte added.

james.wallace@realassetmedia.com