Displaying an asset one-to-one on a digital platform and thus turning it into a transparent trading object, this is the idea behind the concept of ‘digital asset’. Real estate documentation can already be completely digitised today. The effect: centralised and accurate documentation, easy access for all parties involved – even mobile. Significantly reduced communication volume and more efficient processes. If the property is up for sale, it is directly ready for transaction – at one click. In addition, complete documentation reduces the risk of purchase price markdown.
Heterogenous folder structure
Where are all the documents of your managed asset? Probably, you have multiple answers to this question: Partly, on a local server, in a CMS system, in a cloud or also in a file folder. Actually, part of the German real estate industry snoozes in an interim phase. Even though the concept of an efficient asset management already exists – the digital asset – the reality looks a little different.
Digital asset in 3 steps
Step 1: spring-cleaning
The initial set up of a digital asset has to be handled carefully and systematically and goes along with a “spring-cleaning“! Starting with scanning of previously undigitised paper documents, this generates a considerable amount of PDFs or photo files. As part of the clean-up process, these documents are also reviewed, renamed, classified and sorted to the correct place in the filing system. Not surprisingly, this is a time-consuming process when done manually.
Luckily, AI services like DELPHI can automatise most of this work. The essential basis for this work is a common standard. Hence, classification and naming follow for example the German-wide gif e.V. guidelines.
Until digital data is directly gathered in the future, data extraction will also play an important role. AI already can assist here. Algorithms recognise texts and data fields in i.e. rental agreements, land registers, maintenance contracts or correspondences and ensure that data is read out – more reliable than hand-read – and available – in data form – in the company-owned systems and processes. Also, at this stage, the format of extracted data should also follow commonly agreed guidelines.
Step 2: Connecting with internal systems
Digital documents and extracted data are now forming the “ground truth“. The included information are resources. To make use of these resources, data needs to flow. It is therefore important to connect the digital asset with (already existing) internal systems. In this way, data sets are standardised, validated and everywhere available. Smart interfaces (API) are essential for implementation. APIs are also a prerequisite for connecting with additional third-party services and solutions. Thus, little by little, it will be formed what the industry longs for: one data ecosystem in which you can activate the services needed for individually use-cases on demand.
Step 3: Analysis, Big Data
Integration of other systems via APIs leads to a growing volume of data. This requires new methods in analysis and evaluation. It is a first step towards “Big Data“ and the development of new business and data models, which have their first use cases, i.e. with predictive analytics and benchmarking tools. They ensure that management decisions will be based on a more data-driven approach in the future.
Added value for the asset management
The journey to the digital asset is both, an individual AND a united one. The initial situation of a company is always united AND individually. Individual is always the initial situation in the company. What is the amount of paper? On what systems are all the documents and data stored? How many duplicates and obsolete documents still exist? Are there enough human resources and knowledge to review and rework?
BUT it is also a united journey because a ‘private’ digital asset does not exist. Stand-alone solutions are a relict of ancient times. Documents, data and exchange file format have to be based on a common standard – otherwise not added-value can be achieved. The concept of the ‘digital asset’ even implies the asset value – the asset manager’s key responsibility. However, the property as an asset requires interaction – and thus several parties beyond the owner are involved. Providers, appraisers and potential buyers are stakeholders that are linked to the asset. This is particularly obvious in transactions. In this situation information needs to be available quickly and (dependent on the permission) shared without barriers.
Who still has data silos or even goes down to the basement to search for files, accepts a loss of productivity and lets the competitors gain advantages. Who follows the structured process to the digital asset, may extend the lead and stays ‘battle-ready’. At any time.
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* Partly translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)