One of the great (small) challenges in business life is all the silos of data within an organisation. For example, the property information in the property management software that could be useful to have in your CRM system and through the growth of standards there may be a solution in sight.
The hard work
However, standards don't just pop-up. They are the result of some serious hard work and timeless efforts to put them in place. A standard is an agreement between maybe 100s of counterparts that first of all not may be aware why they need it (!) or want it (software suppliers making it harder to switch supplier). That's a tough starting point. The second is that everyone is doing their business in an unique way making it hard just to have a common understanding of 'what is included in the rent?' or 'what type of area is it?".
Luckily for the property industry there are organisations driving the work of standardisation. The largest effort internationally is run by OSCRE, which is a merge between an US based organisation (OSCRE) and a UK one (PISCES) a few years back. Their effort is nowadays not limited to any particular country. See some of there larger projects listed here. A great interview with Stephen Spooner, the Executive Chairman of OSCRE, is found at crePodcast.
In Sweden the equivalent effort is run by the fi2, which has been successful in the construction phases. (OSCRE has been more focusing on the investment & valuation phase.)
Some examples on the benefits of standards.
Case: Lease data
A great examples is from the large commercial real estate consulting firm JLL described in a PISCES case paper.
Jones Lang LaSalle has devised a lease administration system to manage its clients’ portfolios. Originally information was transferred to this system from lawyers using paper-based systems. This traditional approach required specialist staff to extract the data, was monotonous for those involved, and therefore prone to error.In contrast, when the PISCES Lease Standard was developed it became possible to take lease data direct from law firms straight into the lease administration system. Using PISCES, ambiguities are minimised and the responsibility for data is more clearly defined. Definitions are often unclear with paper leases but with PISCES there is more precision, because the data standard defines that if a data field is populated in a particular way it carries a precise meaning.
Case: Underwriting process
Found a video showing how standards are used in the underwriting process.
Case: Making the data in CAD drawings searchable (In Swedish)
The fi2 has created a PDF with existing solutions at companies like ABB Fastigheter and Regionfastigheter.
Why not sign up at www.OSCREiForum.org (hosted by CREOpoint) and join the discussion?
The different standards have today reached the point when the main problem is not to make them work, but to convince firms to start using them (or demand suppliers to put them in place). This is a challenge of marketing and selling.
I believe the only way is to SHOW existing real time solutions (like the video above). Then also to focus the 'sales' towards the large investors & banks who then will show the benefits for (/put the pressure on) all other parties in the industry. Cause like always, money talks.
Finally, to all you people out there working within the area; keep up the great work.