Why Tracking Projects in Real-Time is Crucial to CRE Asset Management

Asset managing commercial real estate is a tough job – you need to make many critical decisions on a daily basis. Making the wrong decision could cost your fund dearly. This means asset managers need to be vigilant at all times, catching problems early and solving them immediately.

Real-time tracking helps asset managers stay ahead and make the right decisions – let’s take a closer look at how this works.

What is Real-Time Tracking?

Real-time tracking is a feature of modern project management software. It allows all parties involved in a project to be continuously updated on all important metrics of a project: current status, budget vs. actuals, next steps, etc… 

Asset managers and project managers can simply log into the system and get a full overview of the status of all projects. Any new developments are logged in the system immediately, meaning the information is always up-to-date.

Real-Time Tracking Means Better Information

Decision-making scholars often talk about the “Value of Information”. To them, “high value” information means:

  1. The information is new
  2. Next actions might be changed based on this information
  3. The information comes from a reliable source and is accurate

Real-time tracking has the advantage of providing high value information. In turn, this helps asset managers and property managers make data-driven decisions.

Better Information Means Better Decision Making

Good decision making isn’t based on the quantity, but rather the quality of the information at hand. Decision-making experts argue that high value information leads to high value decisions, whereas low value information usually leads to poor decisions.

How Does better information lead to better decisions?

Up-to-date Information
Asset managers usually have weekly calls with property managers to get the run-down on all ongoing and future projects.

That’s great in theory, but unfortunately the information that is shared during these calls  is often, already outdated. Property managers typically have dozens of properties to look after – and for the most part, use static tools that are not fit for purpose, such as Excel spreadsheets and pdf files. To give an example; usually after acquisition of a real estate portfolio, there is a list of technical due diligence items to resolve. Keeping track of the progress, budget and actuals of these works is currently entirely done in excel.

Real-time tracking allows you to get access to the latest information whenever you need it.

Relevant Information
Every project is different and has its own peculiarities. Property managers are increasingly involved in specialist discussions that go into great detail on all technical aspects of maintenance and capex projects. Often, much of this information isn’t relevant to asset managers, leading to wasted time.

When you track information in real-time, you can select the information you require, and ignore the rest. 

Accurate Information
Many asset managers and property managers use systems that lead to the presence of inaccurate information. This is because they use tools that are not intended for the tasks they want to carry out.

For instance, entering data manually in Excel spreadsheets (which is a common industry practice) opens the door to typos and other mistakes.

In addition, a lot of information isn’t properly logged in the first place: phone calls aren’t recorded and emails get lost in inboxes.

Asset managers need to work with property managers who consistently show they are in control of their projects.

Real-time tracking automatically logs updates for every project, ensuring the information is correct.

Modern Project Management Tools Will Do the Tracking for You

Tracking is part of modern project management – pressure is mounting on all parties involved in CRE management as budgets are tightened while expectations continue to rise exponentially.

The margin for error is shrinking – as an asset manager, it’s important you stay in control and hit your targets.

High value decision-making is made possible by real-time tracking. This helps keep projects within budget and prevents them from running behind  schedule, ultimately helping you increase ROI for the assets you manage.

Whatever project management tools you or your property managers use, make sure they involve real-time, automated tracking.