Retail Real Estate Management in the True Cloud

NRTA Survey: Retailers moving away from point solutions

Posted on: Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Retail technology expert and Lucernex President, Joe Valeri (see Joe’s management summary here), discusses one takeaway from the recent joint NRTA / Lucernex survey on retailer FASB readiness.

We recently concluded a joint survey with the National Retail Tenants Association (NRTA) focused on the retailers’ perspective of the impact of the FASB changes and their readiness for those changes. One of the great things about collecting this much data at once is that many different dimensions can be explored. The finding that intrigued me the most was HOW retailers are planning to solve the problem and WHO they were involving in the resolution. This finding accentuated for me the vast advances the retail industry has made in both technology and process integration over the past 10 to 15 years.
Get the NRTA survey results
As a general rule of thumb, most retailers made their first selection of a lease administration system anywhere from 10 to 15 years ago. During the selection process, a few key resources, typically the head of real estate and perhaps an accountant and lease administrator came together to evaluate a solution for THEIR singular need – retail lease administration and rent accounting.

Added to this mix is that for the past 7 to 10 years, other parts of the real estate and accounting groups have made their own selections of technology to solve their own individual needs for things like lease analysis, project management, capital or special projects, site selection, market analysis, facilities maintenance and facilities management. In most cases, these choices were made in a vacuum with a set of requirements meant to solve only their narrow needs.

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What has developed, as a result, is a complicated mixture of disassociated systems (point solutions) held together by complex and fragile integrations (read: EXPENSIVE). Many retailers have found that making these selections in a vacuum and focusing on getting the cheapest product to meet a narrow set of requirements has ended up costing them FAR more money than they planned. Worse, they have not substantially improved the performance of their real estate; instead they merely automated old processes and solidified their functional silos.

Where has this led us? Ultimately I think retailers now are being much smarter and more calculating in their system selection. I am confident it’s due to lessons learned through a history of buying and implementing expensive point solution selections coupled with a maturing of the overall industry. Decision makers now understand the impact these selections have on their companies performance.

  • 89% of respondents somewhat or totally agreed that they are “increasingly aware of the impact of real estate activities on the company’s key performance metrics”
  • 56% also somewhat or totally agreed that new procedures were being identified to integrate procedures across multiple groups
  • About half of respondents (with 22% abstaining) also said they have a task force in place to create a plan for new technology and process changes
  • While 22% said Real Estate is running that task force, far more responses indicated their task forces included a combination of real estate, lease administration, accounting, finance and IT

Clearly, in replacing their legacy lease administration system, many retailers are not going to make a knee jerk point solution selection this time. Instead, as we have seen in recent sales opportunities, retailers are taking a broader look at their requirements and how they can integrate processes across the lifecycle of a store in ways that don’t just automate their processes but allow them to dramatically improve their store lifecycle management.

In the past two months we have been involved in sales processes with several retailers, each about to make a point solution selection. During the decision-making process, these companies realized they needed to be broader in their selection and look at a full lifecycle system. We will be announcing the first of these as a new client in the next few weeks, and we expect this trend to continue.

Shameless Plug

Lucernex’s has the ONLY Store Lifecycle Management (SLM) solution built from the top down FOR RETAILERS by RETAILERS. Before you jump to buy a point solution that does only one or two parts of the store lifecycle process, consider the massive savings and strategic advantage gained by implementing a SINGLE solution for market planning, site selection, project management, lease administration, retail rent accounting, lease analysis, capital project management and facilities management.

Lx Retail was purpose built for retail and is built on one platform with one database and one user interface – meaning low cost of maintenance over time and only one vendor to deal with.

Previous IWMS related Blogs

What is IWMS anyway?
IWMS? It’s Location! Location! Location!
The Power of Location Management
IWMS – Why so expensive?
IWMS in the “Cloud”
How Capital Project Management fits in an IWMS
What makes one IWMS easier to implement than another?
Why building real estate software in house is no longer financially feasible
Risks of upgrading Lease Administration Software alone or as part of an IWMS
What makes Store Lifecycle Management different from IWMS?