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TORONTO, ON, September 12, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Is your company effectively managing its data? Managing data is a major problem for many in the commercial and residential real estate industry. Increasingly, I have been working with real estate companies to implement various SharePoint solutions to help them with accuracy, control and access of their data. Below are a number of data issues that many of my clients are facing:
Data quality issues are a pervasive and costly problem in most organizations in North America. The struggle with ever increasing amounts of data throughout organizations is a common concern regardless of industry. Many firms struggle with managing their data and with developing strategies to transform the data into usable, meaningful and accessible information. A few years ago, The Data Warehousing Institute published a study that indicated that poor quality data costs U.S. business $611 billion a year in increased overhead costs, and this issue continues to be a major concern.
There is a general lack of data integrity, difficulty getting to required information and a lack of consistency toward data management. When I visit new clients, instead of a proper data management approach, these firms often have thousands of databases, excel spreadsheets, and silos of data, throughout the organization. Companies frequently have numerous third party systems that do not integrate with the core accounting systems. Literally, "stuff" is all over the place, and we can sort of put it together, using brute force to get it done - neither a timely nor effective approach.
There is generally no integration of the data and a tremendous amount of rekeying. If the client is using excel extensively, a lot of rekeying often results in many versions, and the whole problem of lack of "one source of the truth." Often this rekeyed data is both incorrect and inconsistent. These redundant sources of the same data can result in reports that don't agree. Clearly, this leads to inefficiencies, mistakes and poor decision making.
It is often difficult to trace back to a source document. Most property management systems, including Yardi and MRI, are point in time solutions. Your system is a snapshot of your corporate data as at this moment in time. It is a summation of all of the data that has been entered into the system over the past years. Supposedly, all of the data links back to an original source document such as the lease; however, it is difficult to point at any piece of information in the system and then trace it back to that source document except in the accounts payable system. It is particularly difficult in the leasing database since the lease abstract is often a combination of data from the lease and the numerous addenda to the agreement.
Additionally, it is impossible to track who entered it, when they entered it and who checked the accuracy of the entry. Many companies try to solve this problem by limiting access to data updates to a specific number of staff; however, this causes another problem. In this case, data is often not entered at the point of the original transaction, by the person who is doing the work; but instead by another person, at a later date who does not own the process, and may not have an accurate understanding of what information is correct or important.
Management information is often not easily accessible. Vital information is often lost somewhere. We may have confidence in the rent charges, but what about other information and questions such as: Can we put a cell site on the roof of the building? - no one's captured that. It's all in documents in files somewhere, but trying to answer this type of question becomes a time consuming exercise.
In addition, it is generally very difficult to track discussion threads with customers, tenants, vendors or even legal. Things like: Who said what, when, where, and who was talking to whom, what was agreed to at various points in time, is usually not documented anywhere. It is all on notes on pieces of paper somewhere, now lost.
The reality is that Staff at all levels must have easy access to accurate and current information in order to be effective decision makers. They need to know what is happening within the company now. The better the ability of employees to use data as useful information, the more likely good decisions will be made for the organization. Clearly, the data must be accessible, but it also must be useable or "fit for use".
The U.S. Census Bureau defined data that is "fit for use" as having the three attributes listed below:
1. Utility - the usefulness of the information for its intended users.
2. Objectivity - whether information is accurate, reliable, and unbiased, and is presented in an accurate, clear, and unbiased manner.
3. Integrity - the security or protection of information from unauthorized access or revision.
("Census Bureau Principle: Definition of Data Quality." 14 Jun.2006)
A SharePoint Solution for Real Estate
My experience in the industry is that most companies fall short in these areas, and are generally lacking in an effective data management strategy. During the past few years, my consulting firm, Lynx Systems, has increasingly focused on solving these types of issues. We currently provide a variety of SharePoint Solutions that have been specifically developed for the Real Estate Industry, and that effectively solve for these data management problems. Through our SharePoint solutions all data, both accounting and non-accounting, can be combined in one central repository. They provide a way to have all documents online, real time with drill down access. You now have the ability to answer your questions quickly: you don't have to go looking for answers. Information is accessible to those who need it, when they need it. Through a host of mobile devices, this centralized and accurate data becomes accessible and searchable from anywhere.
Lynx Systems Inc.
1-866-517-1088 Ext 263
About Lynx Systems Inc.
Lynx Systems Inc. is a technology consulting company that specializes in assisting real estate companies with their automation needs with a focus on Yardi, MRI and Microsoft SharePoint solutions. Lynx Systems works with clients to improve productivity and reduce costs by focusing on key processes and by recommending state of the art solutions that streamline operations. Our services include the selection, implementation, support, customization and training on a variety of applications. www.lynxsystemsinc.com
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