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How To Choose A Data Management Platform?

We all know about the importance of data-driven decision making when running your estate. In our previous article, we discussed why you might need a data management platform to help collate and analyse data from various sources. Getting the right system in place can help improve the efficiency and accuracy of data collection, enable the data to be analysed at different levels within an organisation and help drive improvement by benchmarking and performance management.

But, in a congested and complex market with all sorts of options, how do you choose a solution that is right for your organisation? More importantly, how do you ensure that your system is a help and does not become a burden?

As a starting point, we should review what makes data useful. Property asset data is only valuable if it meets the four C’s or data management;

  • Current
  • Correct
  • Complete
  • Consistent

“The way you collect and manage the data can help ensure that all of these criteria are met.”

For example, setting templates and guidelines on how you collect data will improve the consistency of reporting. Automating updates will help keep the data current and facilitating comparison and quality control will help maintain the quality of the data.

So, what should you be asking of your potential system, supplier or internal team before implementing a data management platform? Here are a few questions you should ask:

What data are you managing?
Your data often comes from multiple sources from formal reports and surveys to informal knowledge and legacy records. What are the sources and formats of your information and can the proposed system receive and integrate them?

What functions do you need?
Consider the scope of your remit and find a system to match. Asset Management can cover a huge spectrum of activities from building condition and planned maintenance, to the management of health and safety, compliance and training. If you add facilities management and work ticketing into the scope, your requirements could be very different from an organisation with a more focused scope.

Look at any proposed system and ask; does it do everything we need? But also, are we paying for features we don’t need or won’t use?

What outputs and reports do you require?
Consider who is going to use the system but also who is going to view the output. How flexible is the reporting? Often a data management system will have users at different levels within an organisation, from those at a strategic level to those making detailed or operational decisions. Can system outputs and reports be tailored to different levels within an organisation? Keeping a single consistent set of data and pulling out different reports helps maintain the four C’s of data management, particularly consistency.

Who owns the data? What are your exit options?
Something to consider in the long term is what might happen if you need to change the system. This could be because your organisation has changed and has different needs, or it could be that you become unhappy with your provider. Whatever the reasons, how easy is it to extract yourself from the system? Do you own your data and can you extract it in a format that remains useful? If not, you could find yourself tied into a system that is no longer fit for purpose or be hit with costs for recollecting lost data.

What resources do you have to manage the system?
Assess your internal capability both in terms of quantity and quality. Do you have the expertise and time to get the most out of a complex system or do you need something simple and flexible that can be used by non-technical staff? Larger organisations may have estates managers or even data specialists who can dedicate time to the system. It is useful to have a long-term vision of where you want to end up, as systems can have a habit of growing organically and becoming unwieldy. Making the step up to a full CAFM system is a significant step and only to be undertaken with careful planning and understanding of the resources required to get the most out of it.

SIMPLE TO USE – The intuitive user interfaces means minimal training is required.

PORTAL SOLUTION – No software to buy. Your data can be accessed anywhere by multiple users

COST EFFECTIVE – The solution is accessible to all organisations. Provides the best value and immediate return on investment.

FLEXIBLE – Different tools allow data to be viewed at different levels of detail depending on function

UNIVERSAL – Import your existing data or can be offered as part of an end-to-end condition survey programme

INDUSTRY LEADING – Referenced in DfE Good Estate Management for Schools Guidance as an effective way to manage your estate

SECURE & COMPLIANT – Compliant with ISO27001 and HM Government G-Cloud Framework and an RICS Technology Affiliate.

Barker has over 30 years of experience in delivering a comprehensive range of property consultancy services. To find out more or if you need further consultation advice on how to effectively manage your data, be sure to contact our team today: Contact – Barker Associates (

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