Creating real value from data


Peter Mangin is realestate.co.nz’s Chief Operating Officer. Peter is a seasoned leader with over 22 years’ strategic professional experience. Here Peter explores the importance of data that adds value.

Collecting data doesn’t necessarily add value to a business. You must understand what data you are gathering, how you’re measuring or analysing the information and what it will offer your stakeholders. Only then does it become truly valuable. However, harnessing data that adds value to your business doesn’t come easily.

Here at realestate.co.nz data allows us to speak to a unique aspect of the property market, that of supply and demand. It is something we do well, which provides incredible value to our stakeholders. Getting to this point has been time-consuming and sometimes challenging, but it has ultimately transformed areas of our business in a very positive way.

Here is our recipe for creating value from data.

We started by starting

Look back two years and realestate.co.nz was collecting a lot of data, but we weren’t utilising this information to drive smart business decisions. We “started by starting” and by the time we had put a strategic long-term plan in place, we had a pool of historic data to refer back to, and use to begin our journey.

In building a data strategy we determined that the key was to answer: “What are we really trying to achieve?”. In order to build out your strategy, you should tackle this question head-on. It’s one thing to collect data, it’s another to create value.

Consider all of your stakeholders – in our case our shareholders, site users, real estate agents, staff and the general public. It’s important that your strategy aligns with your business objectives, to ensure that it is of value to your organisation.

This exercise helped us define what information we needed to ensure it was being captured. There was a fairly long list and it became clear we needed a true data layer.

Rather than capturing pieces of information here and there, a data layer allows an organisation to define a common data “language” – a universal structure, with a common key to sew it together later on.

I cannot stress how important this is. Get the data layer right - if this has not been considered, you’re walking into a gold mine armed with a spoon.

Take the quick wins

Data takes time to collect, however leveraging it in the short-term doesn’t need to be expensive. The average organisation in New Zealand has an online presence and uses Google Analytics (now GA360). Why wouldn’t you? It’s a great tool and for most organisations it’s free.

GA360 can be used quite quickly, out of the box, to consume your data layer and report on it. Most CRM and POS offerings also allow their data layer to be used in this way, often for little or no cost. If you get the layer right, it needn’t be an expensive exercise to get started and gives you an opportunity to get some quick wins.

In longer-term strategy, quick wins are nuggets of gold – they demonstrate the value you are heading towards. They allow you to test hypotheses, provide early insights and identify areas where further data may be required to deliver on the strategy. These provide value and help define longer-term technical requirements.

Where we are today

Today, realestate.co.nz collects big data. I define ‘big data’ as data with variety, velocity and volume that's aligned with business objectives. For context, we collect 175,000,000 data points just around supply and demand - per day!

This information provides significant value for all our stakeholders. The key to this has been defining a strategy and a data layer, which have grown with the organisation.

I have no doubt this will be an evolving journey which will continue to provide value by allowing us to better report on supply and demand, market dynamics and, most importantly, enhance our user experience.

This is a repeatable approach for any organisation; our scale may be different to yours, but the basic recipe is the same.

Peter Mangin is realestate.co.nz’s Chief Operating Officer. Peter believes in focusing on the human element of business. “Technology and data science can propel your business forward – but it’s people who are truly essential to your success.”

 

 

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