Savvy real estate developers have long recognized the importance of preserving institutional knowledge to deliver their current and future projects with more efficiency and accuracy. 

Generally, institutional knowledge is the combination of experiences, processes, data, expertise, and information possessed by company employees. It can span decades and comprise crucial trends, projects and perspectives that define a company's history. 

For real estate project delivery teams, institutional knowledge can include things like historical data from past projects; ease and familiarity with managing complex, tailored spreadsheets; vendor rates from past projects; experience negotiating change orders and the results they warranted; and much, much more.

By harnessing and organizing this knowledge instead of letting it get buried in one-off spreadsheets saved on a desktop (or living in the mind of a single employee), project teams are able to:

  • Negotiate proposals, contracts and change orders more effectively. Centralizing all historical data in a single source of truth makes all critical project information easily accessible by all team members. In the past, even if documentation from former projects was easily accessible, it took a lot of time to decipher and navigate the corresponding spreadsheets to get the information needed. More often, teams just based proposal, contract and change order negotiations off of gut instincts, what they could remember, and what they heard from peers.

  • Put deals together faster by starting projects on the right foot instead of starting from scratch. Managing projects with a universal template instead of a system that has no consistency from project to project gives teams a better foundation for every new project. By bypassing the process of recreating spreadsheet templates or trying to pull together a benchmarking analysis at the start of each project, teams can instantly access critical decision-making information from the start.

  • Stay on schedule even when dealing with staff turnover. When project data is easily accessible and navigable by everyone on the team, everyone is able to contribute to the delivery of a project and keep it on-schedule and on-budget. This removes any liability associated with staffing changes or someone leaving the firm and taking project knowledge with them.

  • Eliminate information silos across the firm. Whether it’s between the accounting, development or finance team, each team keeps a separate database of information. These numbers are constantly being reconciled against each other and hardly ever add up. By centralizing information and data that previously lived across file cabinets, multiple spreadsheets and different departments, real estate developers take back control of their project by eliminating bottleneck decision-making and reliance on either accounting or finance to pull data, documents and forecasts to inform critical project decisions. 

  • Make more data-driven decisions without any additional data entry. Tracking and reporting data in a modern, cloud-based software ensures that data only needs to be imported once to be populated across the entire platform, drawn on for analysis to inform strategic decisions, and stored in that same platform as a reference for future projects.

  • Never make the same mistakes twice. By having the data and results of past projects on hand to easily refer back to, teams can review what past actions yielded what results and never repeat the same mistakes. 

  • Mitigate risk by knowing which vendors are reliable and low-risk. Refer back to all available information and compare rates to ensure that your project is staffed with the best vendors at the best rates. Keep your project within budget and mitigate any risk associated with unreliable vendors.

  • Protect operations from a potential economic downturn. Ensure that you are not skipping a beat when unforeseen macro events impact your business or the industry at large. By having a database of all project and portfolio data, your team will be empowered to strike first once the market normalizes - beating peers to market with better deals.  

Yes, your firm’s institutional knowledge is truly that powerful. So, start taking advantage of it! 

Preserve and harness the information you’re already recording by:

  1. Maintaining a single source of truth accessible to all project collaborators

  2. Leaning on easily accessible digital dashboards to draw fast, accurate insights

  3. Smartly indexing data to be easily filtered and searchable for more informed decision-making

By implementing these (what should be) industry standards, teams using Northspyre have become more proactive and data-driven, and have lowered project costs while generating higher returns.

Interested to see how you could harness your own historical data and institutional knowledge to beat the market, surpass your peers and transform the way you deliver even the most complex project? Learn more about Northspyre today.

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