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Analytics in Commercial Real Estate at CBRE



Overview of Use Case

CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, leverages their high volume of market data and speed of delivery as key differentiators in their product and service offerings. Their Alteryx adoption impacts analytics in the organization and helps deliver new outcomes in key business areas. CBRE use Alteryx to: create an automated data pipeline to replace 60-plus custom Python scripts, reducing a manual monthly process by 50%; build sentiment analysis tools and predictive models to predict tenant occupancy churn; and analyze historical and current state of the market to identify trends and predict business opportunities.


Describe the business challenge or problem you needed to solve

Working in commercial real estate, our industry is somewhat slow to adapt to technology and not ahead of the curve in terms of utilizing different platforms. There’s limited transparency in commercial real estate data combined with a lack of access to get data. As the world’s largest real estate company, we have no shortage of data but needed to understand which platforms could allow us to utilize our data to identify opportunities that impact the business. We had to find the right platform to solve our data management, cleansing, and forecasting needs, fortuitously, Alteryx was able to help. 


Describe your working solution

Initially, Alteryx was not intended to be a long-term solution. We were working on a few minor data transformations, migrating from point A to B. We had Server but weren’t using it all. There was a heavy reliance on Excel for prepping data, statistics, aggregations, as well as data management.


While Alteryx was not necessarily in our long-term plan, we started utilizing it on some quick wins. For leaders it was a bit unexpected, because with Alteryx, we were working faster and accomplishing more. It gave us time to focus on other use cases and help more users across the company. Of only a handful of people using Alteryx, we started increasing our skills and growing the presence throughout the organization. We made a lot of progress in the areas of spatial, predictive, and data engineering. A couple of the key wins that we had, are highlighted here:


  • Sentiment Analysis - We did a sentiment analysis on 3800 customer surveys, understanding how our clients felt about our work. Before this project, we couldn't do anything with the existing data for some time but we finally downloaded the Azure machine learning tool from the public gallery and combined that with Alteryx. Alteryx helped turn a manual task which may have taken a month, conservatively, into a repeatable workflow taking only 30 seconds to process. That started opening a lot of eyesclipboard_image_0.png

  • Predictive Analysis on Tenant Churn Probability – Our team built a model based on historical data to predict the likelihood of lease renewals for building tenants. For a large real estate company, that was huge. We used Alteryx to do all the data exploration and help evaluate and select our models. This is when key leaders started seeing the impact the platform had.


  • Data Cleansing Using Proximity Based Matching – We created a workflow to cleanup duplicate property records with alternate addresses using only location attributes.



  • Future Investment Analysis – Provided brokers with intelligence to identify future investment properties in SoCal ahead of the trends curve using historical and projected figures for populations, Construction Project Completions and spatial data. We did this by overlaying location data on top of our historical figures and forecasted growth numbers.


We hit our stride when we started making use of Server. Teams started scheduling processes in Server, automating workflows, and reducing the number of man hours. We saved 50 hours a month by scheduling one process. We started doing parallel development too because of Server’s version control, since it’s much better than developing on just a desktop. The business was a lot happier because they had autonomous processes on Server or we could automate sending their data. There is less of a reliance on IT, which has removed barriers to receiving data.


CBRE created an internal User Group and Center of Excellence, where we started having weekly sessions, focused on problem-solving and presentations, spreading our knowledge amongst the internal group. I don't know if I coined this phrase or not, but I'm calling it “Crowdsourced problem-solving.” With Alteryx, we are growing our skills as individuals, but we also know what others in the organization are capable of and can fill in gaps where we lack expertise.






Flexible Data Management

  • Schedule via Server

  • Fast development

  • Batch Macros

  • Quick Insights / ROI


Enrichment and Cleansing

  • Data visualization friendly output

  • Parse/add spatial data

  • Output for visualizations

Probability and Forecasting

  • Data prep for models

  • POC for effort estimation

  • Model validation

Business Benefits

  • Time savings – 50% reduction in manual data gathering process

  • Error reduction – on the fly data validation and immediate notifications

  • Improved management –seamless integration with cloud storage

  • Scalable processes –reduced 60+ python scripts down to 1 workflow

Business Benefits

  • Improve Data Quality –data quality and quantity increased by 35%

  • Time Saving – 400% faster with periodic workflow on manipulation of data

  • Scalable Practices Ability to re-use workflows for similar story telling output


Business Benefits

  • Accelerate model development – quickly build, compare, combine models to improve accuracy

  • Business accessibility –make predictive modeling more approachable than displaying lines of code

  • Reduce manual effort by utilizing ML methods; 3-week survey analysis task reduced to 1 day


Describe the benefits you have achieved

Alteryx is fully integrated within CBRE and has provided a tremendous ROI for us, from huge time savings to higher data quality, our organization is delivering better and faster results. We are using the platform for just about everything, from prep and blend to predictive modeling, and we continue to develop new use cases. Coming from different divisions, skills, and backgrounds, Alteryx unites us to achieve the best outcomes to support our business and its goals. Together, we are collaborating to create new and better analytics for CBRE.


Related Resources


The entire PowerPoint presentation can be found here. Additionally, visit this link to watch the entire recorded session.