Building Engines announced over the weekend their plans to launch BuildingConnect, an affordable, fully branded, and easy to maintain website solution for commercial property owners and managers. Offering attractive design themes complemented by powerful search, communication and management tools, BuildingConnect will allow individual properties to manage their brand, showcase their amenities and service, and drive tenant engagement.
While these are two very different CRETech companies and products, they are part of the same overall strategy grounded in delivering value to our customers while achieving the objectives we’ve set for ourselves and our investors. – I thought it would be helpful to share some high-level insight into each of those.
An infallible truth is that every business must grow to survive. There’s a finite period of time where either negative growth (losing more business than you win) or stagnation can continue before the ability to functionally operate (attract/keep employees, meet payroll, pay suppliers, etc.) is impacted. We are very transparent when talking with customers and prospects that as a for-profit company, our goal is to deliver an exceptional customer experience while growing our business at a rate that is attractive and reasonable to our investors. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive.
Growth can come in a few different ways that are true for many businesses like ours. One is that we find more new customers who find value in what we offer at the price we’ve set while keeping the customers we have happy and renewing. The second is to sell additional products or services to the customers you already have. Again, they have to find value in the product or service at the price it’s being offered at.
Along with a continuous effort to improve sales and marketing effectiveness, last year’s AwareManager acquisition is representative of the first part of that approach. – AwareManager offers similar products and services to Building Engines and we assimilated their great customers into our installed client base and service program. RDM helps us achieve the second part, as we now have new products and services to offer which we believe our customers will find value in. Additionally, we now have direct access to RDM’s client base to share the Building Engines value story with.
The RealAccess platform is an integral part of our leasing process and asset management,” said Brian Feil, Vice President of Leasing at The Feil Organization. “The platform has helped us achieve additional value at each property level by remeasuring assets and growing Rentable Square Footage (either BOMA or REBNY standards). Having a direct API to our accounting software provides quick access to important information in a way that is very easy to digest.”
Help the CRE Tech Adoption Problem
In their recent article, “The Proptech Industry is Set for a Wave of Consolidation,” Blake Liggio and Lillian Kim from the Proptech Practice at Goodwin, propose that stage one of the pending consolidation wave is “competition for funding and achieving scale through tech to tech M&A.” – They argue that one of the benefits from company consolidations is to increase the potential for utilization within real estate firms because of enhanced scale.
Liggio & Kim do an excellent job explaining one of the challenges facing consumers of CRETech today. – There are far too many available solutions to consider, evaluate and integrate easily into an organization or individual’s daily activities. This is especially true on the operating side of CRE where personnel staffing levels skill sets are essentially the same as they were a decade ago and operating requirements and customer expectations have become far more complex.
In order to drive adoption and use of CRETech, providers need to address this problem with logically integrated solutions to create a cohesive user experience.
We think the acquisition of RDM and future complete integration with Building Engines, is a clear example of how this problem can be solved.
Supporting a Vision
In announcing the deal last week, Building Engines CEO, Tim Curran shared insight into our future combined products vision in his quote – “We’re excited to welcome RDM to the Building Engines family,” he said. “Not only is their software entirely unique, but its intuitive functionality is also used daily by CRE firms to better visualize and optimize their rentable space. Together, with Building Engines’ robust suite of intelligent building operations tools, we will bring to market the best way for property teams to maximize asset value. Our forthcoming combined solution will far surpass static, two-dimensional stacking plans, and lifeless, tabular grids currently used for CRE property management.”
In addition to our data-backed point of view of how tenants prefer to communicate with management and property teams (see Bengie,) we also believe that CRE professionals prefer to consume information visually and that the foundational element for them are digitized building and space diagrams.
We believe that combining RDM’s expertise in digitally representing and providing easy access to space (measurements, tenant and leasing) information with the tremendous volume of operational data, including tenant insights, that Building Engines collects, will deliver a greatly enhanced customer experience by creating an easy to consume and understand visual representation of what’s happening in a property across multiple dimensions.
The possibilities are extensive, and we have already heard from clients (both BE and RDM) about their excitement over this direction. In the meantime, we’re happy and excited to welcome RDM to the Building Engines family. We’re just getting started, but will move quickly, so stay tuned for product developments and other news!