So You Want it All? No, You Can’t Have it and Here is Why

Oh, the possibilities of this next sentence.

“Could he possibly be talking about…..?”

No, I’m not. Let’s get serious and get down to business.

I’m talking about your commercial real estate data and the tools you use to manage that data.

You do want it all and I understand why. It’s a pain in the ass to aggregate and populate all the different platforms, or as they have also been called silos, on a daily basis just to get your job done.

Property and listing data, customer relationship management data, comps data, deal analytics data and on and on. Again, I get it. You sit back and imagine what an amazing world it would be to have it all in a neat tidy and clear format. You just click on a single tab and there it is clean, clear, updated and usable just like Bloomberg or maybe even better.

It is 2017 after all, that should be able to happen. All these tech people say they can do all kinds of things. Why not this? Oh, and of course you would pay for that right? Say $9.95 US a month. That seems like a fair price. You might even tell a couple of buddies or friends in the business just to, you know, pay it forward.

What’s the word I used in the title again? Yes, it was NO, as in no you can’t and won’t have it your way.

Let’s start with the simple base of property data. Where does your come from now? All the same spot and or source? How about your colleague four states over? It’s the same data set for them as it is for you. It’s not? Why not? Why is it different? The markets are different? Are they really? They are not different but as you sit there today the data still is aggregated differently by how many sources? Just think. It could be up to ten different sources. Where does the Bloomberg data come from?

I had a conversation with a big time hitter tech and CRE CEO, he asked the big obvious question. “Where are you going to get all of that data and how much would it cost? Who would be willing to give it up? What do they gain buy giving it away?” My response to him was “you realize brokers do that now and pay to get it back.” His response was, “Yes that’s exactly my point.”

How about market and or property analytics data? It’s the same problem as above is it not? Of course it is. Pretty simple when you start looking at data and it’s sources that way. Here’s a question for you. What if there was just one source of data? That would be a good and positive thing? Are you sure? I thought part of your value and existence was the ability to source market data and put that to use to do what? Oh, yes create a deal or value for the marketplace.

Hmm, not looking good so far is it? I wonder if this is just a basic workflow complaint? That would seem like a simple problem to solve or is it really? Do me a favor and grab you phone. Go ahead hold it up. Right up in front of your face. Look at all the different silos, platforms and or applications staring you in the face. I just looked at mine and on the front screen I have a calendar, email, maps, Twitter, Uber, LinkedIn and the actual button for a phone call, remember those? I also have some kind of Golf Channel app. I use them all and use them at many different times. I don’t think of integrating or merging them in any way. Do I use them to help create some type of workflow? Of course I do. Just take a business trip somewhere and see how many times you use each different app. Also what happens when you start to run out of juice? You panic, just like me right?

Why is using your phone any different than the tools you use for work? Why do you not even think it should be any different? I’m sure there are people out there trying like hell to do just that. What would the point of that be? If I could integrate my Golf Channel app with my Uber app would that be awesome? I don’t know maybe. How much would I actually use it? Hard to think of a practical use. Let’s see Golf Channel and mapping? There might be something. Golf Channel and email? Uh, nope. No reason to put those two together. What the wife does not know!

Will we possibly go down a path of commercial real estate data integration at some point in time soon? Sure we will. When it creates more value for the market.

How about more value for the actual end user the tenant? Hey, now we are talking. What, you don’t want that? No access to your quality data? Why not? Okay, I understand why (just for now) and that may be a topic for another day.

You Think You Want and Can Have It All?

It’s not going to happen just yet.

And I know you are smart enough to understand why.

At least you are for today.

Give me a reason to tell you why you can.

It will help us all!

  1. I agree to a large extent – and certainly in respect to the near future. The data is in many cases all that is left of commercial real estates competitive advantage. Why would they give (or sell) it away simply to allow competitor businesses easier access? I think that it’s easier than you suggest to design a cross platform app that pulls data from any number of sources (there’s examples in play already), but as walled gardens most of the data required is off limits, drastically reducing the usefulness. And as you say, who wants their golfing details integrated? Some things are better off on the outside.

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