Retail Real Estate Management in the True Cloud

The history of the IWMS market

Posted on: Monday, November 22, 2010

Corporate Real Estate expert and Lucernex CEO, Mike Nuzum (see Mike’s management summary here) along with IWMS expert and Lucernex President, Joe Valeri (see Joe’s management summary here), discuss their perspective on the history of the IWMS market.

Typically in our blogs, we attempt to write an impartial analysis of the subject at hand and save the Lucernex marketing for the end. However, in this blog, the story of the IWMS market is really the story of Lucernex so there is no way to separate the Lucernex details from the body of the blog.

This is the story of how the IWMS market came about, from the perspective of several industry experts who work at or with Lucernex. As IWMS is a consolidation of the Facilities Management, Facilities Maintenance and Corporate Real Estate software markets, I am very sure there are other opinions from other vendors, especially from outside the retail part of this market, but here’s our viewpoint.

In the mid-1990’s Mike Nuzum and Joe Valeri, Lucernex’s founders, had similar visions for technology the retail market needed to improve its processes. Mike had successfully built multiple retail chains as the real estate expert and had developed repeatable processes that made him successful. Joe was running property development systems for Marriott International and trying to find software that fit his vision for what the market needed.

In 1999, at the AEC systems show in San Francisco, Mike and Joe were introduced through a mutual friend at the Fairmont Hotel on Knob Hill. Both had visions of a software product the industry needed. The result of that meeting was a collective vision for a new software product, which led to the founding of Lucernex in 2000. In 2001, the first Software as a Service (SaaS) IWMS product of its kind was released. The term SaaS has just been coined in February 2001 and the acronym IWMS had not yet been coined; Lucernex was delivering both. The product drew the attention of the industry leader and innovator in Lease Administration, Ken Brown of the National Facilities Group (NFG), maker of SLIM. Ken and Joe set out to integrate the two applications and, at NFG’s 2002 User Conference, what was then called Lucernex Rollout Manager was demonstrated for about 100 retail and corporate users of SLIM. This 2.0 version of Lx IWMS included integrated Market Planning, Site Selection, Transaction Management, Project Management, Facilities Management and Lease Administration all delivered over the Web as a SaaS solution.

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In 2002 Lucernex won a few small deals with AEC firms, developers and small retailers, then, in 2003 Lucernex got its first major sale to Chipotle Mexican Grill, then a roughly 70-store chain. Chipotle used what they call “Lucy” to manage the growth of their real estate. Additional sales to YUM Brands (they call it YUM Builder) and Circuit City helped Lucernex finalize the Store Lifecycle Management (SLM) technology. Michael Bell, then of Gartner, coined the term IWMS in 2004 around the concept of an Enterprise software product that covers the lifecycle of real estate.

In 2005, in an effort to rapidly increase sales, Lucernex licensed the product to Accruent with the idea that Accruent’s established sales team would do a far better job of driving new sales than Lucernex could. Accruent had also purchased NFG and brought the SLIM product under its umbrella, which was already largely integrated with Lx IWMS. With the Lucernex product, branded Accruent Store Lifecycle Management (SLM), Accruent established itself as a market leader in the IWMS space. For the following 3 years Accruent sold SLM to over 50 large retailers and, with Lucernex inside, became one of the top performers in the IWMS Magic Quadrant.

In 2008, after Accruent had chosen a dramatically different technology path, Lucernex decided to update the product and return to the market including selling it directly to the market. With Ken Brown now at the helm of Lucernex product development, the data architecture was expanded to allow a single database solution to handle the entire lifecycle adding lease administration and rent accounting to the otherwise complete list of IWMS modules.

This led to the introduction of the first Cloud Computing solution in the IWMS industry in 2009 and the first product to support the expected, new FASB guidelines in 2010.

Lucernex began as the industry visionary in 2000 with a SaaS-delivered full lifecycle enterprise corporate real estate software system to manage all aspects of any real estate holding. While our initial focus was on the Retail market we have broadened our capabilities over the years to include Healthcare, Financial Services, Service Providers and the broader Corporate market. We have never deviated from our goal of creating a single platform, single database solution that is high performing, easy to implement and inexpensive to maintain. We are the only full lifecycle IWMS product on the market today that can deliver the entire functional lifecycle on a single JAVA platform and single database with no third party licenses required. We have also maintained our technology visionary status with the first Cloud solution (IWMSCloud) in 2009 and the first upgrade for lease administration and lease analysis to handle the new, proposed FASB / GAAP rules in 2010. We have more innovations planned for 2011 so stay tuned!