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Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate: Helping to Measure Productivity, Manage Risk

November 2012

Created at CoreNet ten years ago, OSCRE develops information exchange standards. Ian Cameron talks about the importance of using OSCRE in corporate real estate to define information in a consistent way and move information seamlessly between companies. The strategy moving forward for OSCRE continues to focus on consistent definition of terms in corporate real estate and to accelerate the adoption of OSCRE.

How productive is your corporate real estate — and how do you measure it? In most organizations, incompatible financial systems and inconsistent data make it difficult to assess the true performance of corporate facilities, particularly when data is delivered by multiple internal and supplier systems. As the importance of business intelligence rises for corporate real estate and IT departments alike, so does the need for common data standards.

Fortunately, the Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE) is addressing this issue. Soon, organizations will be able to share standardized data across systems and access performance metrics efficiently. With origins from within CoreNet Global, OSCRE is a not-for-profit neutral consortium that is developing data exchange standards for the global corporate real estate industry. OSCRE’s 400-plus members include the major commercial real estate companies, suppliers, industry associations, technology providers, government agencies, and other entities.

“Data standards are particularly critical now because corporate real estate organizations are using more suppliers than in the past,” says Ian Cameron, OSCRE’s Chief Integration Officer. “That means more data coming from more organizations.” The consortium’s goal is to facilitate a greater level of coordination, standardization, and collaboration across the key stakeholders in the CRE industry — corporations, public agencies, service providers, management consulting organizations, software vendors, and suppliers. OSCRE is standardizing the types of metrics and data definitions used to allow organizations to seamlessly share data from different property software systems from different manufacturers.

Unified Terminology
OSCRE standards are a set of definitions and rules that facilitate the automatic transfer of data between different software packages. OSCRE has created and published a number of XML data schemas for defining standardized structured data sets that any electronic application may use for sharing records and data with other applications. These standards include definitions for types of space, lease terms, portfolio information, income and expenses profiles for properties, work requests, and other information.

The standards are based on what OSCRE has determined to be key metrics for real estate productivity, including workplace utilization rates by allocation and actual usage; amount of space required per demand driver, for developing demand forecasts; expensed and capital real estate costs and workplace resource costs, including infrastructure costs, as a share of corporate revenue and expenses; corporate real estate costs and workplace resource costs per amount of space per demand driver; and corporate real estate overhead and management costs per demand driver.

Standardized Big Data
With its drive for data standardization, OSCRE is creating a bridge between corporate real estate departments and their suppliers. Eventually, corporate real estate managers will be able to look for OSCRE compliance as a criterion when selecting information systems for in-house use and among their suppliers. Corporate real estate executives need to manage risk and measure productivity across their portfolios, and being able to integrate information from multiple sources and perform analytics is essential for these management tasks.

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