By Bo Hamrick, Pereview Software by Saxony Partners
I recently finished my first season of coaching my son’s soccer team. I could use a cold beer.
This was his first year playing the game – the same could be said for most of the four- and five-year-olds on his squad. This wasn’t my first year to coach. I played high school soccer and have coached kids big and small. I’m not new to the game, but I’m new to the way these kindergartners play.
If you’ve never watched a group of four-year-olds play soccer, just imagine a pack of eight kids kicking their 16 legs aimlessly in the general direction of the ball. As the ball moves, so does the pack – legs akimbo, shoes flying. It’s like watching an amoeba moving under a microscope. The ball is the nucleus, and the kids are the ectoplasm bulging and contracting around it.
It can be more than a little frustrating to watch, much less coach, amoeba ball. It feels a little like trying to herd a gang of cats.
The cats – pardon, players – are moving in a hundred different directions. The job of the coach is to try and get them to run in more-or-less the same direction, at the same time, while moving the ball down the field toward the goal. (Remember the goal, ya’ll?) Every once in a while, you catch lightning in a bottle.
So, what? You came here for advice on real estate asset management. Why should you care about my Saturday morning coaching chores?
Last week, I was in New York for NAREIM’s Asset and Portfolio Management conference. Chatting with the other attendees, I realized that the No. 1 topic on everyone’s mind was data management. But when asked how solutions, most just shrugged their shoulders. Many said they did not know where to start in managing their data. They did understand the value proposition, that proper management of real estate assets maximizes the value of the investment.
Similarly, my young soccer players understood that the ball needs to go into the net (eventually), and that we’d rather be on offense, rather than defense. However, getting a group of little kids to work together threading a ball down the field and into the opposing goal is easier said than done.
Real estate organizations have their own four-year-olds and herds of cats. Acquisition officers are running one direction, while asset managers are heading in another direction. Accounting is siloed on one side of the field, and investor relations is clustered somewhere else. Unlike four-year-olds and cats, real estate organizations have the capacity to understand and adopt thoughtful, effective solutions.
The solution is multi-faceted. All of your data needs to live within a Single Source of Truth – and no, Microsoft Excel is not an adequate SSoT database. Your disparate software systems need to be integrated. You probably need a business process review to eliminate redundancy and explore where automation can be employed to save time and money. You might need a software platform that covers the entire lifecycle of the real estate asset.
Questions? Do you feel like you’re playing amoeba ball with your data? Connect with me and let’s talk about solutions. I am a coach, after all.