3 Reasons Why Managing a Global CRES Portfolio Through Spreadsheets Will Negatively Impact Data Quality

September 20, 2019

Space and people CRES data impacts resourcing, space planning, an employee’s workplace experience and the organization’s reputation. Poor data quality destroys business value. According to Gartner, organizations blame poor quality data for annual losses equaling an average of $15 million. Accurately capturing and managing CRES data is key to understanding how the built environment is being used, by who and how delivering and driving optimized facilities.

One quick fix, which never resolves issues around improving data quality and building a data set reflective of facilities that are broadly visible for communications and planning is the use of spreadsheets.

CRES Teams will work to manage their own space (building/ regional) through spreadsheets, thinking it’s the easy, quick fix. However, for three reasons, it’s not. CRES data is too complex with too many stakeholders involved to manage data in the near and long term reliably through spreadsheets. The variety, velocity and volume of crucial management and planning data cannot be handled by spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are also not effective at data analytics to discern rightsizing strategies. Additionally, the sharability and communication needed for consistent, joined-up deployment in buildings and across a portfolio is not best achieved through spreadsheets.

Using Spreadsheets as a Central Home to Manage CRES Data

Look, spreadsheets are very useful. Digital spreadsheets have been used since 1969, so we do know their value. However, when managing the complex big data sets that summarizes all of CRES’ sophisticated activities, spreadsheets are not the best suited method.

Cross-facility in-bound Data Sources and Feeds

Because of the multiple roles and responsibilities of CRES Teams from across operations and strategic activities in-bound data comes in a variety of formats, varying velocity rates and volumes. Let’s not forget the variety and volume of data required to successfully manage facilities. Off-the-shelf and custom-built Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) are available to link tools and automatically draw in the necessary data to a spreadsheet. Without some form of automated process through data centralization from across relevant areas will be manual, slow, painful and prone to errors. Scaled to the level of data CRES typically works with and the number of people involved in managing, it won’t be long before data doesn’t reflect the built environment and on-going activities in the built environment.

Manually maintaining spreadsheets will also require CRES Teams to continuously pester adjacent teams for data updates (chasing HR for changing employee data or security for building/ special area access). This is not a rewarding task nor a good use of time.

The time intensity to manually collect data impacts data’s relevance and almost guarantees that some part of the required data to effectively manage to plan will be old or inaccurate by the time it’s needed.

Due to the time-intensity of collecting, the difficulty of collecting and maintaining data quality continuing to collect data manually will slide as a priority. Space Planners will ‘intuit’ space deployment as a result. The daily safety of building users will be jeopardized and the long-term strategic effectiveness of CRES will be compromised.

Strong CRES practice takes into account user needs and short-term goals while also looking to the longer-term horizon planning for tomorrow’s trends. It’s the multi-regional, many teams involved and on-going data quality requirements that demands a tool better capable of managing those broad and deep requirements than spreadsheets.

Multiple Teams Operating Across Functions and Regions

Both teams within organizations and third-party service providers do not work well together. Teams tend to operate in competition with each other and distrust each other. Managing a global portfolio through spreadsheets and the lack of inherent visibility will defeat any possibility of cooperation and joined-up operations.

Data captured and managed through spreadsheet will become silo’ed amongst stakeholders who work together. Silos between data and process is going to nullify any chance of data validation, meaning data bases are going to become further fragmented.  Silo’ed data will lead to gross inconsistencies in portfolio management, significantly affecting costs and user experience.

Using Spreadsheets to Manage CRES Data Over Time

CRES Teams effectively manage their portfolio over a long-term horizon. In order to do so successfully, data, must remain valid, current and consistent. Even maintaining CRES data for a single site through manual spreadsheets will see irregularities and inconsistencies weakening data quality quite quickly.

Data Analytics and Business Intelligence Reporting from Spreadsheets

Even the market leader of spreadsheets, Microsoft, have acknowledged the limitations of spreadsheets by building another tool to report on business intelligence – Power BI.

CRES’ multiple lines of responsibility requires teams to be able to quickly and easily identify their management gaps and successes. Spreadsheet based reporting is difficult for tracking opportunities and strategic targets, quickly identifying issues and sharing insight with teams where fast remediation is needed.

The above issues of data fragmentation and the resulting unreliability of data eliminates any value in trying to extrapolate meaning from data.

Beyond the problems of a lack of reliable, valid data, spreadsheets lack the strengths of purpose-built reporting tools when handling the volume and variety of CRES data. Additionally, spreadsheets lack the ability to illustrate data through stories making business intelligence easier to interpret and create actionable plans from.

A purpose-built tool can gracefully weave together data from security overlapping utilization information on a floorplan with employee ID’s for searchability. Understand floorplate performance and target achievement of the teams responsible for floorplate management.


Managing data quality and achieving the highest level of data integrity is a critical goal for any facilities team. Data is the lifeblood that fuels successful operational and strategic actions driving business forward.

Purpose-built, hosted CAFM tools alleviate the strains seen through spreadsheet usage and the use of other adopted tools.

WebCoRE’s baked-in processes and data visibility enables CRES Teams to manage data quality and quickly identify possible sources or causes of decreased data quality. A client improved their data quality using WebCoRE realizing cost reductions of $30 million annually.