Our client is a leading diversified property group managing more than $17 billion in property assets across Australia’s office, retail, industrial and residential property sectors. It has two main arms: one focused on investment and property management business, and another concentrated on developments. This case study explores how we developed a new and robust business intelligence capability for the organisation, and created a master data solution connecting data from disparate systems. The result? Reports that used to take a week to produce are now generated at the click of a button.
In the property and asset management sector, a company’s success depends on accurate, timely and integrated performance data. An understanding of past performance is equally important as reliable forecast data. The ideal scenario is seamlessly integrated actual and forecast data, which provides rich information to guide a company’s strategic, operational and investment decision making.
In early 2015, our client’s frustration with its disparate software systems had reached a peak.
- Their investment business used two separate systems for financial reporting, with one capturing the actual ledger and the other generating forecasts based on various market parameters.
- Their development business also used different systems for the actual ledger and forecasting, and additionally used Salesforce to manage residential and commercial property sales.
- The organisation managed a separate ledger at the group level, which incorporated information from the various source systems used by its investment and development businesses.
With three separate ledgers and multiple source systems, team members faced a range of productivity challenges. It was near impossible to reconcile data and ledger postings across systems, there were significant data gaps for managing building and assets, and there was limited business intelligence to provide a view of company performance. A new solution was urgently needed.
After working with technical partners to establish the necessary preconditions for a system transformation (such as base architecture and data warehouse), the organisation engaged Analytics8 in 2016 to create a new and robust business intelligence capability.
We conducted a technology assessment and gap analysis, which enabled us to identify the organisation’s core business and technology challenges and develop a path for remediation.
Using an agile and flexible approach, our team worked collaboratively with the organisation to implement a range of improvements and enable an effective business intelligence capability.
- With limited attribute history and different data management approaches across systems, data had historically siloed and lacked meaningful business value. With a new approach to capturing attribute history, our work enabled the organisation to track their property assets and income over time and overlay actuals data with forecasts. These changes significantly improved the quality and accessibility of their business intelligence.
- Our client did not have a master data solution, which meant it was challenging to gain enterprise-wide visibility of assets or performance. We implemented a master data solution to connect data from disparate systems. This enabled the client to integrate data from across its three ledgers (investment business, development business and group data) and identify gaps, errors or inconsistencies.
- The sales platform used by the development business, Salesforce, was not integrated with other systems or data. We built a solution using MuleSoft to connect Salesforce data to the client’s new data warehouse. In doing so, the client was able to access and analyse enterprise data in new ways.
- Having significantly improved the client’s data environment, we recognised that a user-friendly reporting tool was essential for the client to fully realise the value of their new business intelligence capability. We implemented Power BI Report Build to integrate data from the client’s disparate systems and enable team members to generate reports quickly and easily.
- To improve uptake, we completed the engagement with a range of support and training activities to assist users. For example, a data dictionary and BI glossary were created to build the client team’s skills and confidence with the new business intelligence capability.
We established a new and robust business intelligence capability for the client. The work has unleashed significant productivity benefits for operational and analytical staff, and greatly improved the decision-making confidence of executives.
For the first time, the organisation has successfully achieved a seamless integration of actuals data, budgets and forecasts across multiple, different source systems. With automated analysis and reporting features, team members are no longer reliant on time-consuming and error-prone Excel spreadsheets to assess company performance.
Importantly, teams can view integrated datasets that are directly relevant to their core business with ease. For example, members of the Leasing Team can view data from various source systems on a single screen. It is fast and easy to identify leases approaching end dates, unit vacancies and opportunities to improve profitability.
With a single view of enterprise data, the client has benefited from reduced time and effort to produce reports. Where team members previously required seven to ten days to generate a straightforward report, key information can now be provided in a digestible format with a matter of clicks.
Lastly, we identified various data gaps throughout the engagement and provided guidance on how best to address them. As a result, there has been a measurable increase in data integrity and accuracy.
Analytics8 is an Australian-based analytics, business intelligence and data warehousing consultancy founded in 2002. Our vendor-agnostic team of 60+ consultants has deep expertise and implementation experience. We specialise in design, development and deployment of effective data solutions.