The Demand Solutions Blog

Multifamily's BI Evolution (Not Revolution)

Posted by Dom Beveridge on June 30, 2020

When we come to write the history of the changes that coronavirus forced upon multifamily, there will be plenty to say about its impact on technology. With social distancing virtualizing property operations, demand for proptech has skyrocketed, for example (as we will discuss on this blog in the next few weeks). But as companies have accommodated work from home, another, more traditional technology has come to the fore: Business Intelligence (BI).

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Topics: BI & Analytics, Multifamily Technology, COVID-19

The Statistic that Predicted the Last Recession

Posted by Donald Davidoff on November 20, 2019

There's been a lot of talk of downturns lately in Pricing and Revenue Management (PRM) circles. It was a major theme of the recent NAA Maximize conference and was also covered at NMHC OPTECH last week. While no one knows when the downturn is coming, everyone seems to agree that it's a good idea to plan for it. While occupancy and rent growth are still strong, the sheer length of the recovery since the last recession has everyone wondering how much longer this bull run can last.

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Topics: Revenue Management, BI & Analytics

Gross Potential Rent: A Case Study in Wrongheadedness

Posted by Donald Davidoff on October 22, 2019

In recent weeks we've been both thinking and writing about two things: pricing and revenue management (PRM) skills and the possible impact of an economic downturn.  A recent conversation reminded me of another related topic: the metrics we use to measure performance.

Given the importance of pricing and business analytics to our success, the metrics we choose to measure performance matter.  Yet while the industry has made great strides in employing ever-more sophisticated software, many processes and rules of thumb remain that have not caught up to where the technology is.

There is perhaps no better example than the metric "gross potential rent" (GPR). This metric is so ubiquitous that many property management systems (PMSs) embed it in their data model and standard reports.

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Topics: Revenue Management, BI & Analytics

Bridging the Business Intelligence Divide

Posted by Dom Beveridge on August 26, 2019

Lately, I’ve been talking to a lot of companies about business intelligence, and the ways that organizations attempt to deliver this key capability.  While there is a broad understanding of the need to bridge the gap between the business and IT organizations, the evidence suggests that the gap remains unbridged at many companies.

A recent article on the subject from McKinsey: “Analytics Translator: The new must-have role” suggests that the rewards are getting bigger, rather than smaller for companies who succeed in providing business leadership for increasingly critical IT-enabled analytics projects.  The logic goes that as data sets get bigger and data mining resources more sophisticated, firms will require a level of leadership that will ensure the maximum impact from their analytics.  

The point of the article is persuasive; however, we have argued for a long time that this requirement already exists.  In fact, it’s probably the biggest single reason why multifamily companies fail to reap the benefits of their business intelligence projects.  As we explained in our own white paper: “Creating an Analytically-Driven leadership Culture,” if business people are blue and IT people are red, then the best business intelligence resources are purple.  As both articles strongly suggest, purple people are among an organization’s most prized associates.

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Topics: BI & Analytics

A Data-Backed Strategy to Drive 150bps to Multifamily Rent Per Unit (RPU)

Posted by Donald Davidoff on April 16, 2018

I’d like to take a moment to talk about a piece of the demand management platform that often doesn’t get much attention—handling the initial prospect call. Specifically, I’d like to make the case for using a professionally-run call center (full disclosure: I am on the Board of, and an investor in, Anyone Home though I like to think of that as “putting my money (and time) where my mouth is”)

So as not to bury the lede, I’d like to ask you if you would be attracted to a solution with a proven track record of raising RPU (revenue per unit) by 150bps? Okay, that’s the kind of “salesy” question meant to get your attention since there’s clearly only one logical answer to that. However, those of you who know me, know that I’m educated as an engineer and I don’t make claims like that without solid, proven test data. Though not necessarily well publicized, that very specific data exists.

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Topics: Revenue Management, BI & Analytics

3 Ways Leading Multifamily Operators Are Using Business Intelligence (BI)

Posted by Donald Davidoff on November 28, 2017

Most multifamily operators know they should put “gut feelings” aside in exchange for technologies that can turn raw data into meaningful information for better decision making. And while on an intellectual level they know that a data-driven business is more effective strategically, tactically and operationally, the exact way to go about it can be daunting.

Not so for leading multifamily operators. They know exactly how to accomplish this through the use of business intelligence (BI). Continue reading for 3 ways leading multifamily operators use BI to improve decision making.

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Topics: BI & Analytics

The Role of Business Intelligence in Multifamily

Posted by Donald Davidoff on July 07, 2017

As more apartment operators are embracing data and analytics, and desire making data-backed decisions, (rather than by mere observation or gut) the focus and discussion on Business Intelligence in general and BI software specifically is continually increasing. 

Having moved past the hype of “Big Data” and more to the realities of how much we can accomplish in our industry, I’ve seen that by focusing more on “little data,” operators are now benefitting from their investments. Unfortunately, we have also seen the road littered with BI projects that have failed—with hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars wasted on projects with disappointing results.

So what truly separates successful BI projects from mediocre ones (or, worse, from those that end up in the scrap bin)?

As the interest and importance of this question has gained increasing relevance, the search for answers has grown as well. I recently provided a perspective on this topic in a three-part series that appeared in Multifamily Executive.

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Topics: BI & Analytics

An Update on Rent Growth Numbers

Posted by Donald Davidoff on March 16, 2017

Just as I sent out an executive newsletter highlighting the rapid decline in new rent growth, out comes successive reports from Axiometrics that YOY rent growth was flat from December to January and actually rose for the first time in many months from January to February.

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Topics: Revenue Management, BI & Analytics, Multifamily Trends

How to Realistically Budget Rent Growth This Year

Posted by Donald Davidoff on July 28, 2016

As we roll through the “dog days of summer,” my thoughts turn to two things:

1. Upcoming pennant races - my Baltimore Orioles, while somewhat inconsistent, are at least relevant again.

2. Every multifamily executive’s (and associate’s) favorite activity - budgets (hopefully the dripping sarcasm is evident).

This year is a particularly interesting year for budgeting. After 5+ years of a multifamily bull run, 2017 will almost surely not be as good as 2016. Major data companies report YOY rent increases dropping to 3.5% vs more than 5% just a few months ago. Public companies like EQR have revised guidance downwards based on softening rent growth, and reports on new builds seem to indicate an increase in deliveries in 2017 rather than a corresponding decrease.

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Topics: Revenue Management, BI & Analytics

4 Key Functions of Business Intelligence

Posted by Donald Davidoff on March 08, 2016

Information is power. And power is finally starting to come to multi-family housing. One of the trends I’ve seen in my practice the past few quarters is increased interest, and investment, in access to data. It largely comes in two forms: purpose-built tools aimed at providing deep insights into specific dimensions (think Rainmaker’s Slopejet, now called Intelligent Lead Management) and more general purpose overall business intelligence (BI) systems (think Rentlytics for an “off the shelf” tool or ReLuminous for more custom-designed solutions).

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Topics: BI & Analytics