The Importance of Data Integrity

Data is like oil to multifamily organizations, a valuable resource that takes a fair share of effort to acquire. And like oil, obtaining data is only half the battle, as both are of most value after being properly refined and processed.

While data integrity is essential in any industry, this is especially true in multifamily. Critical investment and pricing decisions rely heavily on the information this data provides. There is no overemphasizing the importance of strong, reliable data to aid better decision-making and improve operations.

“Data leads to information, information leads to insights, insights lead to better decisions, and better decisions lead to better business outcomes,” says Mike Tolman, director of reporting at Entrata. “If the data is flawed in any way, it can skew perceptions and lead to faulty analysis. If the data is significantly flawed, it can be entirely misleading and lead to misinformed business decisions that turn out to be costly.”

Entrata has been in the business of solving data problems for the multifamily industry for years. Over time, we have observed a number of interesting circumstances where incomplete or misleading information has led to difficult situations. On the bright side, these situations have provided opportunities for us to find innovative short and long term solutions. These solutions will be greatly enhanced by our self-service business intelligence product, Entrata Insights™.

Here are a few situations we have seen where insufficient or incomplete data has made things difficult, and how Entrata solutions can help solve these problems:

  • Organizations that utilize disparate systems to manage operations often experience difficulty in quantifying the data contained within disconnected or third-party systems. Insights are often isolated within those systems, making it nearly impossible to get a holistic view of an organization’s performance. Open technology platforms eradicate this issue by offering a centralized solution, but data integrity is even more protected in open-data platforms. Even when integrated, it can be difficult to enforce strict data integrity policies, as businesses are at the mercy of their vendor’s propriety data models. Current solutions provided by Entrata’s open platform and APIs, combined with our robust reporting framework, allow our partners to access all of their operational data from Entrata.

  • We’ve seen instances where access to centralized data systems is restricted to a privileged few who have the technical capability of extracting the data of the backend systems and databases. Even with access, those without advanced knowledge of databases, data tables, and querying techniques often struggle to convert the data into anything that creates a tangible effect. Entrata solves this problem by providing standard and customer filters, multiple custom display options, and other settings that allow a drilled-down view of the data to meet the needs of the end-user.

  • Tracking market trends and comparing your organization’s performance to industry benchmarks is nearly impossible without the relevant corresponding data. An open-data platform can provide insights by collecting historical data from multiple time periods and multiple sources from across the organization, allowing for strategic analysis. The platform can also allow in-depth market research by analyzing large volumes of data from multiple, disparate sources and platforms from throughout the industry.

Entrata’s data integrity (“highly refined oil”) allows for advanced machine learning capabilities as well.

“Leasing office life would be a lot simpler if all leads were created equal. Unfortunately, they’re not, and you can’t always tell just by looking whether or not a lead is likely to progress to a lease,” says Ryan Byrd, chief technology officer at Entrata. “Luckily you don’t just have to trust your gut, because Entrata’s Lead Scoring machine learning algorithm scores each lead on its likelihood to convert based on a historical analysis of that property’s own leads, allowing leasing agents to focus on those leads with the greatest potential to convert.”

We recently heard of a community that was experiencing a projected exposure of 10 percent in the next 60 days. Some property management companies will see this number and request additional advertising–or a decrease in rent rates–in an effort to sign a few leases faster and reduce the number of units projected to be unoccupied in the coming weeks.

Instead of playing a guessing game, property management companies with sound data systems and practices can assess their average lead-to-lease closing ratio, and in the same system, can identify which marketing source drives the most qualified leads, or leads with the highest lead-to-lease closing ratio. From there, marketing teams can pull appropriate levers without touching the pricing lever.

Simultaneously, operations teams can peruse their unit-turn data to ensure their maintenance teams have the appropriate resources to turn units within the lead-to-lease timeframe outlined in the data set above.

In this instance, poor or incomplete data can lead to a cloudy perception of actual leasing demand, unwise allocation of marketing expenditures, or several other questionable decisions. Flawed data sometimes can be worse than having no data at all. At the very least, it can cause business decisions based on concepts that aren’t necessarily accurate.

For apartment operators, few things are more important than being able to trust the integrity of the data at your fingertips. Technology, like at Entrata, can help in this pursuit, as open-data platforms soon will transform data points into high-integrity, actionable resources.

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