Real Clear Software is launching a RCS Portfolio, a new software that will house data in a single place. Real estate is largely a data-driven business, and real estate veteran Chris Sausser and Craig Morris saw an opportunity to bring a software program to the market that could help real estate professionals access and analyze data. They describe RCS Portfolio as “an advanced analytics and automation software that that solves the problems of dispersed and uncorrelated data.” And, they think it is a game changer for the market.
“In 2015, our firm, SVN was hired by the CEO and counsel of a then 250-location US retailer that was wanting to expand to over 2,000 location. The client needed to improve their real estate planning, processes, location approvals, C-level reporting, lease administration, and store selection criteria in order to successfully execute their strategy to reach 2,000 locations,” Chris Sausser, CMO and a founder of Real Clear Software, tells GlobeSt.com. “They had the typical problems that many multi-location retailers face: dispersed and inconsistent data, manual reporting that didn’t track real estate KPI’s that impacted financial performance, and a reactive real estate team that was putting out fires and unable to create strategic value through real estate. They needed self-service analytics and automation tools that would combine real estate with financial and operational data, measure and track portfolio performance, and help them understand things like why some locations out-perform others.”
This was the inspiration for what would become RCS Portfolio. At the time, there was nothing in the market that could accommodate these needs. “After an exhaustive technology search, we learned there wasn’t really anything built for tenant occupiers, despite real estate being one of their largest fixed costs,” explains Sausser. “We had a broker friend who was also a talented developer and decided to create what turned into Real Clear. As other brokers and retailers saw and loved the software, we had that ‘ah hah’ moment and knew that this was a big void in the market and opportunity to help thousands of companies.”
Sausser says that the ultimate goal of the software is to create portfolio transparency in real estate operations. This, he says, produces myriad benefits, including faster site selection, faster approvals, better market strategies and execution and increased productivity. “By integrating real estate with other key business data—sales, ERP, HCM, finance, inventory—companies can view their business from any departmental angle in real-time, whether it’s understanding all real estate costs across their portfolio, correlating this data sets with their operating, sales and HR KPI’s, identifying what specific aspects create successful or underperforming locations, or simply as an advanced portfolio transaction tool,” he says. “Our advanced analytics and data visualization capabilities analyze a companies’ top performing locations to unveil, which metrics correlate to profitability and operational efficiency. They use this to create better site selection criteria, benchmark their critical operating KPI and real estate expenses in order to improve their decision process.”
In addition to working to streamline data and create more efficient operations, the program also aims to improve decision making and communication. “The program supports cost reduction analytics, defining metrics that best predict performance, and make data-driven decisions,” says Sausser. “We also wanted to create productivity tools that would free up time for strategic thinking and improve departmental communication among stakeholders. This means reducing manual data entry, centralizing project and task management, and standardizing broker communications across markets; overall it’s a single version of the truth and hub for real estate teams to do their job more effectively.”
Sausser uses the example of a client correlating key sales and operating data through the program. “We confirmed 4 of 12 items that was thought to be true, but also found 6 key site selection items were inversely correlated,” he says. “One item was demonstrating the Net Income loss between a freestanding location and an end cap location (-32% NI), and further eroding of profitability with inline locations (-12%). We have included a C-Suite Dashboard that shows daily updates on key metrics as it pertains to the health of the real estate portfolio.”
The industry has been very receptive to the program. “Tenants, sponsors and brokers have been very impressed with what we’re doing. They’re often pleasantly surprised that a company is finally creating solutions specifically for tenants or occupiers,” says Sausser. “There’s been significant technological innovation throughout Commercial Real Estate in recent years, but much of it is focused on brokers, landlords, and investors. Real estate teams are ready to shed the stigma of being late adopters of technology and have an immense desire to harness the power of data to improve how they operate. 90% of sales till occur in physical stores and this is one more way retailers can gain a competitive edge through real estate.”
Subscription services range from $500 to $3,000 per month, depending on users and portfolio size. In the beginning, the team works with clients to understand the company strategy and challenges and to identify areas of improvement. “From there, we customize their dashboard and work to select the right metrics to measure and track,” he adds. “Our team has experience working with Fortune 1000 clients to drive successful technology adoption, so we make it simple to embed Real Clear into operations and set them up for success.”