Spreadsheets, forecasts and market analysis provide us with a deluge of data, but how do we see the big picture it collectively creates? By taking an expanded view, companies can gain greater insight into the opportunities and challenges associated with a project. This can be accomplished by overlaying data on maps to find hidden patterns and blind spots, which allows for a story to emerge and an effective strategy to follow.
NAIOP asked Matt Felton, president of Datastory Consulting, about his session on this topic, “Finding and Telling the Story with Data” at O.CON: The Office Conference, Nov. 1-2, in Los Angeles, California.
NAIOP: What are location analytics and what type of insights can they provide developers and owners?
Felton: Location analytics provide a way of understanding data through the lens of a map. Maps have a way of integrating large amounts of data to reveal meaningful patterns and opportunities in a marketplace. For developers, this approach offers a competitive advantage by revealing new opportunities for investment or simply confirming a “gut feeling” that a given site is a good location for development. For owners, location analytics offer unique insight into who may be attracted to your project and how to position the offering. The resulting maps also serve as compelling marketing material that stands out among more traditional brochures.
NAIOP: An abundance of demographic and market data can feel paralyzing. What’s a good place for CRE professionals to start looking for actionable insights?
Felton: Transforming this abundance of data into an organized collection of map layers is the best place to start. Often there are invisible questions to be explored – in other words, what you didn’t know you didn’t know. By exploring data through a visually intuitive and responsive map, these new questions and their answers become clarified. As this process occurs collaboratively with other stakeholders, actionable insights emerge, which further feed this iterative process.
NAIOP: How can compelling data stories help contribute to successful real estate transactions?
Felton: There’s a lot of buzz around “storytelling” these days, and for good reason. Studies have proven that stories are a powerful way to engage people and hold their attention. Creating a “data story” about a real estate opportunity draws greater visibility to a given project and helps prospects clarify and understand if it’s a good fit for them.
Catch Felton’s session and others in emerging technologies and trends in office real estate at O.CON: The Office Conference. Visit the conference web page for program information, pre-conference tours and to register.
Brielle Scott is Senior Communications Manager at NAIOP.