Defining Your “Data DNA” in the Changing World

Data-Driven Globalization

The world is changing. Data-driven globalization is our new reality and impacts every aspect of our lives, our business, our environment, and our planet.

Across the real estate and asset management industry, these impacts are far-reaching and pervasive.  Our resources, both internal and external, need to be able to effectively collaborate and partner through shared common knowledge across our workplace.  With government and private sector working more closely the boundaries of ownership and access continue to blur and workplace attributes and requirements are rapidly evolving to meet changing use and occupancy patterns.  Market conditions are pressing organizations to improve corporate social responsibility and foster sustainability within the communities in which they operate.  These are real challenges that every organization is working to address, and great strides are being made across the industry.

In order to address these challenges, everyone wanted more information and data to assist with the process.  We quickly went from trying to obtain digital data to information overload. Organizations are now buried with data across all resources, processes, and functions that support their operations.

Getting Beyond Information Overload

The question for organizations quickly shifted from “where is the data” to “how do we drive value and insight” from vast volumes of raw digital information to help inform decisions and develop capital investment strategies that align with our business objectives.  To understand how to best accomplish this goal, organizations need to define their unique “Data DNA”.  Every organization has a data profile that is required to support strategic decisions and is totally unique to meet their specific needs.

By working from the top down, a simple analysis can be completed that will drive out the elements of information required and the business processes that create them. Starting with a “reverse engineering” exercise of an organizations’ existing KPI’s, benchmarks and management reports establish a baseline of existing data elements used and the corresponding processes in effect.  You will quickly learn which information is static, siloed, obsolete and/or unstructured for use.  Data that is robust, accurate, accessible and maintained will be readily identified. Mapping both data types to their respective business process further helps to shape which information can provide value today and which data elements will require vetting and improved process to instill confidence in its reliability.

This baseline can now be used to determine which reports are providing value and what reporting and metrics capabilities do not exist today and should be incorporated.  Managing the volume and specific number of required data elements to the lowest common denominator, and mapping these specific data elements into the supporting business processes, provides a true foundation for use in defining an organizations’ “Data DNA”

The next step in the process is to understand how the organization defines its business goals and objectives and how they manage their performance against these goals.  This can be accomplished through simple assessment and surveys of those responsible for establishing these policies and managing and reporting on organizational performance. The outcome of this effort will establish the over-arching information needs and a gap-analysis from the foundational data is relatively straightforward.

An organization’s “Data DNA” is now definable as the minimum set of required data elements, derived from standard business processes, and required to support strategic decision-making and performance management of the organization.  Each of the individual data elements identified must exist as a derivative result of a business process in order to ensure accurate and consistent quality on a real-time basis.

True Data DNA

Once true “Data DNA” exists within an organization, it has the ability to standardize how it does business in the globalized environment across all resources, functions, processes, and assets with all stakeholders and constituents.  This data standardization provides for performance management across a global portfolio, a specific asset class on a worldwide basis, or on a single asset in one site location.  The power is endless and the differentiation astounding. To learn more about strategic asset management please visit