Guest Post by HoChun Ho, Head of Enterprise Data Governance and Enablement at JLL, and OSCRE International Chairperson, and Lisa Stanley, CEO of OSCRE International

Corporate real estate (CRE) leaders planning for employees’ return-to-office are struggling with how to make their spaces more enticing for people who have enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of working from home for more than a year. The hybrid workplace model is emerging as the preferred workplace strategy. In fact, two-thirds (66%) of employees expect to work from different locations in any given week post-pandemic, according to JLL research.

As new office floor plans are evaluated to foster both collaboration and comply with safety protocols, visionary occupiers are using data to drive decision-making. For example, accessing up-to-date office occupancy data enables portfolio decisions to be made more quickly, including renegotiating leases to better align their organization’s footprint with utilization under a hybrid model.

While the global crisis that emerged early last year highlighted the importance of consistent, accurate and accessible data to empower critical operating decisions, for many organizations it also revealed their deficiencies in this area. In many cases, companies that had begun harnessing the potential of data analytics found that their methods of collecting and analyzing data were lacking. To transform data into useful information, businesses must formulate and implement data governance standards that dictate how data is collected both within the organization and from external business partners. As CRE leaders work with their functional peers—in HR, finance and the like—to experiment with hybrid workplace strategies, a robust data governance strategy can inspire trust that the data from a variety of sources used to track the program’s success is consistent and credible.

Over the last several years, the non-profit member organization OSCRE International has worked with corporate and investment industry stakeholders to create a new approach to traditional data standards for real estate. These efforts culminated in the development of the OSCRE Industry Data Model™ (IDM) – a transition from the previously siloed OSCRE Standards. The IDM is free to access and well-suited for organizations who don’t currently have a data model or who are interested in exchanging data across platforms. It provides the framework for core real estate functions with more than 140 use-cases covering the original topics of  leasing, space management, facilities management work orders, portfolio information exchange and more. To help build the skills needed for the industry’s workforce in data strategy, data governance and digital competency, OSCRE also developed the OSCRE Academy, which offers a variety of learning programs to meet these needs.

As the industry grapples with the challenges of an evolving hybrid work environment, and increasing adoption of artificial intelligence, blockchain and other emerging tech applications, all signs point to the critical need for the industry to ramp up their digital transformation efforts. Now is the time for CRE leaders to (1) adopt a standards-based approach to the data they collect, (2) implement a data governance strategy, and (3) develop the skills of their team so they can extract the data for more meaningful decision-making. What are you waiting for?

HoChun Ho is Head of Enterprise Data Governance and Enablement at JLL and OSCRE International Chairperson

Lisa Stanley is CEO of OSCRE International