Business intelligence (BI) tools in the real estate space are underutilized. If you’re not making the most of yours (or not using one at all), then you are missing out on valuable data and insights that can help you improve your performance and seriously impact the success of your business.
In today’s post, we will examine one of the best business intelligence tools for real estate firms. Read on to learn all about MRI Software’s Analytix BI tool, how it can help you, and how to get the most out of it.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence is the process of gathering a comprehensive picture of an organization’s data and using it to make decisions based on an enhanced perspective.
The term “business intelligence” is hardly new. I was surprised when a quick Google search revealed the term has been around for more than 150 years. Having worked in the proptech space for over two decades, I have heard it uttered many times by many colleagues and clients. Of course, over the years it has taken on different meanings.
Today’s advanced phase of BI combines:
- Data aggregation and normalization
- Data mining
- Data visualization
- User experience
BI tools develop current, predictive, and historical views of a company’s operations. That’s a lot to think about, particularly when most people simply mean “reports” when they talk about BI. We live and work in a space where great reporting is expected from enterprise software. In most cases, the advanced reporting functionality is there.
But business intelligence is much more than the production of reports; the very basics of BI should involve blending data from multiple applications in a way that provides a 360-degree view of the business. Business intelligence, developed in a meaningful way, requires a strategy, an approach, and an investment.
What Is MRI Analytix?
MRI Analytix is a portal and data store that is designed to transform your raw real estate data into actionable insights.
Exploring data using traditional methods (like reports and static dashboards), in my experience, tends to generate more questions than answers. When you see an outlier or significant change in data, the first question you should be asking is “why?”
To get to those answers in traditional reporting tools means running more reports or deeply exploring the application for the answers. Sometimes it means commissioning additional reports to be created or altered in order to show more underlying data.
In my experience as a technical consultant, I have seen firsthand how many fresh questions and ideas are provoked by a new report. To get those additional answers, more reports and edits to existing reports are needed. It’s a cyclical and unending process, a process that proper BI tools seek to eliminate.
With MRI Analytix, the visualizations can be explored, edited, and drilled into. Users of the tool will find that when data sets are properly created, they can move forward and backward through them without leaving the application to get answers to all the questions that inevitably arise.
Insights Dashboard Overview
Your Analytix Insights Dashboard offers Accounts Receivable, Occupancy, and Advanced Retail functions, each containing all the information you need to make decisions in these three key areas. These dashboards are fast and simple to set up, meaning you will have minimal disruption for implementation and can begin taking advantage of them almost immediately.
Accounts Receivable Dashboard
The Accounts Receivable (AR) dashboard offers extensive data and, even more important, insight into trends. You can view easy-to-understand visual representations of your receivable data and sort by asset as well as by asset manager, date, amount owing, or various other filtering mechanisms. You can also see the aging history at the click of a button.
Thanks to these advanced filtering capabilities, alongside color-coded and easily skimmable charts, you can make business decisions for a specific portfolio, tenant type, or asset manager. This allows you to build policies and processes that keep your AR Aging (the length of time an invoice or amount owed has been outstanding) from exceeding your specified thresholds. This, in turn, allows you to make smart decisions about ongoing investments based on the cash you have on hand.
The Occupancy dashboard shows you everything you need to know about the occupancy of properties in your portfolio. This includes actual leases, occupancy statistics by geographical region, lease changes, and the percentage of leases that are soon to expire. Occupancy data is crucial to robust budgeting and forecasting, which we will discuss in more detail shortly.
Advanced Retail Dashboard
The Advanced Retail dashboard offers detailed insights into occupancy and retail metrics. Here, you can view not just the performance of individual tenant types, but also a direct comparison between different tenant categories. You can also drill down into the specifics of each category to understand why a particular tenant group is performing well or poorly.
Exporting and Cross-Referencing From Your Insights Dashboards
You can export data from your Insights Dashboard at the click of a button and cross-reference the data with point of interest (POI) data then use them in your reporting, budgeting, and other business processes. Data can be exported as an Excel file, CSV, or PDF.
Tying Business Intelligence and Analytics Into Your Budgeting and Forecasting
Building your annual budget and forecasting your financial position for the next year involves clear, specific, and detailed awareness of your trends, accounts, and assets’ performance. You can configure MRI Analytix to pull relevant budgeting and forecasting information easily and automatically, automating parts of the process that would otherwise have had to be done manually.
Using the AR Aging data we discussed in the last section, you can get a clear understanding of how much cash your business has on hand at a given time. Understanding the average aging time will give you insight into what you will have coming in and when. Understanding AR delays can help you predict not just cash flow, but also the liquid assets you will be able to apply to future projects and investments.
Finally, the occupancy data you can glean from a tool like MRI Analytix will be invaluable in your budgeting process. Insights into occupancy metrics can help you understand your typical occupancy rate at any given time and take steps to improve it, as well as understand occupancy to performance factors. All of this data helps you make smarter decisions to ensure that every asset in your portfolio is working as hard for you as it possibly can.
Supporting Your Journey to MRI Analytix
The evidence is clear: Using the right real estate business intelligence tools can improve your investment performance and tenant health, and allow you to make better use of the external data points that will impact your success. These tools are underutilized, and we are on a mission to change that
Out of the box, MRI Analytix provides a lot of what is needed from a BI solution. You get the analytics, the ability to visualize data, and a modern user experience.
Whether you’re implementing a business intelligence solution like MRI Analytix for the first time or just need a little help training your staff to get the most out of the tool, we are here to support you.
To maximize this technology investment, companies will need to provide data from their other applications. This data will have to be normalized and related to the MRI data. The flow of data will need to be automated. Fortunately, REdirect has amassed vast experience pulling data sets together and automating them. With our decades in the real estate industry, we are well-positioned to help you, no matter where you are in your business journey. Get in touch today and one of our expert MRI Software consultants will be in touch to discuss the ways that we can work together.