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Ambitious Software Systems for Today's Shopping Centers

The latest software propels the industry toward faster, smarter, more targeted decisions. >From desktop mapping and financial analysis to lease administration, daily >sales reporting and utility bill management, solutions from the nation's >leading providers of real estate software systems are hastening and >refining the most complex industry applications. What once took hours now >takes minutes with more powerful, easier-to-use programs designed for the >end user and decision-maker, not a technical support staff.

Here is an alphabetical listing of today's more progressive providers of software for the shopping center industry, along with an overview of their leading product and service offerings.

ACG Professionals, Inc. Headquarters: Atlanta Phone: 404-658-9020 Websites: (consulting); (products) Primary Product: LDSOne Function: Lease administration and abstracting Target User: Owners/developers

ACG is a real estate and financial consulting firm that helps real estate companies cope with today's demands for information. Typical services include lease abstracting and estoppel writing; financial modeling and budgeting using various discounted cash flow programs; and the development of customized off-the-shelf databases and spreadsheet applications.

ACG's premiere retail product offering is LDSOne, a user-driven lease administration and lease abstracting tool. The package tracks leases from proposal to execution, consolidates information and links to accounting systems and other popular industry software packages. It includes a report writer as well as a query engine that allows users to segment leases and view fragments of information.

Other retail products from ACG include: Sales Database System, an integrated sales tracking, contact management and analysis tool; and Visual REMIS, a lease administration system originally developed for UPS and now customized for ACG clients.

All of ACG's Microsoft-based software tools can be "web" enabled so software doesn't have to be distributed to multiple office locations, in many instances, says Todd Zeldin, ACG president.

ASI International Headquarters: Lafayette, Calif. Phone: 800-421-8191 Website: Primary Product: Strategic Lease Processing (SLP) Function: Lease process management Target User: Owners/managers

Strategic Lease Processing (SLP) is a leasing tool that helps real estate owners and managers automate their leasing process, from a broker's first inquiry to actual lease execution. By utilizing the powerful workflow automation, document management, messaging and document-routing features of Lotus Notes, SLP helps organizations shorten their leasing cycles, resulting in an improved bottom line.

"Case studies show that shortening a leasing cycle by just one day per transaction makes a significant financial impact," maintains Jeni Paltiel, marketing coordinator for ASI International. "Everything about SLP is e-mail enabled, which significantlyexpedites the lease transaction."

ARGUS Financial Software Headquarters: Houston Phone: 800-332-7372 Website: Product Name: ARGUS Lease by Lease for Windows Function: Financial analysis Target User: Owners/developers/investors/underwriters

"ARGUS Lease by Lease, a fifth-generation Windows program, is the easiest solution to understanding the financial intricacies of a deal," says Boomer Cardinale, ARGUS marketing director. "It allows users to separate fact and assumptions, and clearly understand and present the economic realities of a real estate investment."

Large regional malls, small strip centers, offices, mixed use, industrial, hotels, apartments and portfolios are all available in ARGUS Lease by Lease for Windows. These components detail existing lease and property revenue and expense information, proposed lease-up of vacant space, as well as current and future market assumptions for rollovers and renewals of existing leases. The program's monthly cash flow integrity is used by property managers for budgeting, asset managers for planning, investors for return analyses, and underwriters for debt capabilities.

ARGUS Lease by Lease also includes other features and functions: development cost scheduling; mini-perm and permanent debt structuring; yield matrix definition; flexible purchase and resale parameters; equity partnership structures with cash flow; resale distribution rules; depreciation and tax analysis; construction and draw note financing; and, with OpenARGUS, the importing and exporting of customers' own data.

CACI Marketing Systems Headquarters: Arlington, Va. Phone: 800-292-2224 Website: Product Name: Site Reporter Function: Mapping and site reporting Target User: Developers/leasing agents/retailers/real estate managers

PC-based Site Reporter package provides more than 320 demographic variables, including current-year updates and five-year forecasts, to help users understand their markets more clearly. From easy-to-use mapping and report generation, to drive times and add-on batch geocoding, the package offers flexibility and data that can be used immediately, says Eric Cohen, vice president.

The program includes 28 1990 Census variables at the MicroGrid level, showing demographic detail down to 1/16 of a square mile. It also includes 43 ACORN Consumer Classification Types, allowing users to learn the complete buying profile and lifestyle category of each of their customers and know where to target for potential customers. Site Reporter provides custom maps, self-guided site analysis reports and maps, and data for all U.S. shopping centers greater than 750,000 sq. ft. It can import data from the most popular databases, including a customer's own.

Datascape Technologies Inc. Headquarters: Don Mills, Ontario, Canada Phone: 800-823-7541 Website: Primary Product: Daily Sales Advantage Function: Daily sales reporting system Target User: Mall managers/owners/developers

Daily Sales Advantage (DSA) is an automated daily sales reporting system that utilizes the latest in Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to give management and retailers the ability to react promptly to current sales trends.

Sales data is entered quickly and easily using a touch-tone telephone, then is computed and presented by DSA for immediate analysis. A graphic user interface allows pertinent reports to be generated with only a few clicks on a computer mouse. Larger developers can access up-to-date sales information for entire portfolios by individual mall, geographic region, retail category, and other viewpoints.

DSA allows center managers to pinpoint when the time is best to execute marketing initiatives and promotional events, and accurately gauge their effectiveness. This ability helps mall managers respond quickly and accurately to today's increasing financial accountability to REITs, Wall Street and the tenants themselves, says Stephen A. Da Cambra, a Datascape Technologies partner.

"With increasing competition from big-box retailers and Internet sales, it is more important than ever for shopping centers to fully understand their retailers and how they are performing on a daily basis," notes Da Cambra. "DSA clearly enhances that understanding. Extensive research, detailed design, ease of use, versatility and a proven track record all combine to make DSA a powerful and profitable tool."

DYNA Software & Consulting Inc. Headquarters: Clearwater, Fla. Phone: 727-535-0333, Ext.111 Website: Product Name: DYNA for Windows Function: Lease management Target User: Owners/lenders/investors of retail real estate

DYNA for Windows is a fully integrated lease analysis, budgeting, forecasting, valuation, construction development and portfolio management software tool. The program helps users accurately time tenants' payment of percentage rents by forecasting multiple and cumulative sales breakpoints, sales reporting frequencies, and lagging collection of percentage rents from the merchant's sales reporting cycle. DYNA is flexible in modeling percentage rent, CAM pool recoveries and retail reporting, while performing structured yet flexible and powerful portfolio sensitivity analyses.

DYNA can track a specific individual "market rate" for each tenant space, says DYNA vice president of marketing Lewis Foshee, in addition to the tenant's "contract rate" for use in speculative renewals and risk analysis. This facilitates the user's ability to perform an accurate analysis to determine the risk inherent in a property.

GEAC Property Management Systems Headquarters: Houston Phone: 800-231-0605 Website: Product Name: StarSuite Function: Property management and leasing Target User: Commercial/retail property managers

StarSuite is a client/server, open architecture, relational database software system specifically designed for commercial property management. It provides the tools to effectively manage a multitude of portfolios and perform routine tasks quickly and efficiently. Feature highlights include CPI rent increases; sales histories; percentage rents; CAM calculations and rebillings; spreadsheet interfaces; and anchor tenant data.

Reports Michael Mullin, divisional operations manager for GEAC, previous property management tasks and procedures that were once tedious and time-consuming can now be accomplished with just a few keystrokes using StarSuite. All lease information is set up one time, and an unlimited number of rent adjustments, steps and increases can be set up to ensure that users never forget to increase their rents.

Geonomics Inc. Headquarters: Boston Phone: 617-451-2520 Website: Primary Product: iSITE Function: Site selection/ desktop mapping Target User: Real estate brokers/developers/retailers

Michael Kesselman, vice president of Geonomics, says power, ease of use and affordability best describe iSITE, a desktop mapping solution for site-selection applications. The PC-based package integrates advanced spatial data processing with comprehensive data-sets, allowing users to locate sites, plot customers and competitors, generate trade areas, create presentation quality maps, summarize and visual-ize demographic trends, and more.

Compared to similarly eq-uipped systems, iSITE is priced substantially lower and pays for itself after about 10 site analyses per year, Kesselman says. The presentation quality of its maps are better than those offered by competitive software, and full coverage of the United States is provided for the same price other companies charge for just one or two MSAs, he adds.

Integration Technologies Headquarters: Newport Beach, Calif. Phone: 877-ITI-SALES (toll free) or 949 752 1440 Website: Product Names: 1) AnySite Professional, 2) Anysite LE Function: Desktop site analysis and selection Target User: Developers/real estate companies/retailers/restaurants

AnySite Professional is a comprehensive, easy-to-use site analysis and selection mapping system with an intuitive, scalable technology that allows users to generate customized, presentation-quality site maps and authoritative market-intelligence reports in just minutes. Its "open architecture" a llows customization for each client's business, allowing users to mix and match demographic and geographic database products to create a tailor-made system that best suits their corporate requirements.

AnySite Professional is available in two versions: Standard Edition (SE) and Custom Edition (CE). AnySite Professional SE is prepackaged with a powerful collection of data, while AnySite Professional CE is custom-configured to meet customers' special business requirements. AnySite Professional CE allows the integration of virtually any available data source for geocoder, street files, demographic or specialty databases (such as NRB, ABI, and R.L. Polk).

Says Casper Zublin, president of Integration Technologies, "AnySite Professional maintains a robust set of features and is simple to use, producing easy-to-read reports in just minutes. Its scalable, open and flexible structure are key factors in the product's success."

J.D. Edwards Headquarters: Denver Phone: 303-334-4000 or 770-926-8194 Website: Product Name: J.D. Edwards Software Solution, Property Management Module Function: Property management Target User: Property managers/accountants/brokers

The J.D. Edwards Pro-perty Management system provides access to accurate property, lease and financial information at any level of detail, accommodating and enhancing a user's style of gathering, processing and storing data. It accommodates diverse billing, from simple, one-time invoices to the most complex billing re-quired by any type of lease. Users can simplify refund and interest calculations and streamline cash flow with automatic processing of security deposits and late fees. They can process and maintain even the most innovative lease terms with this lease-based system, and can achieve a competitive advantage with the latest information on occupancy patterns, property data and market updates.

"The J.D. Edwards Solution is a completely integrated information management package, of which the Property Management module is just a segment," explains Andrew Rains, the company's industry marketing manager.

"All modules are scalable, meaning hundreds of shopping center properties can be accommodated simultaneously. Customers come to us for the powerful functionality of this package, and for the comfort of working with a large, strong vendor with over 5,000 customers and 4,400 employees," says Rains.

Locus Communications Inc. Headquarters: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada Phone: 888-275-5628 Website: Product Name: Looking Glass Function: Shopping center marketing Target User: Shopping center marketing director

Looking Glass provides a more accurate view of how marketing dollars are influencing shopping center sales. It collects daily sales totals from shopping center merchants and uses this information to generate mall sales analyses such as mall sales trends, daily category performance, cost of sales, year-end forecasts and more. The package is Windows-based: Its data can be merged easily with any other Windows-based spreadsheet and accounting software, as well as traffic count, weather and other electronic data to create more full-bodied marketing reports.

"The integration of information is a big trend, and Looking Glass is at the forefront, with all pertinent marketing and daily sales functions accommodated," says Maryse Campbell, product manager for Locus. "Mall managers don't need five different computers or specialists to run five different marketing applications, which also reduces hardware and software costs."

Another industry trend is increasing the practical use of the Internet, says Campbell, and Looking Glass' browser-based Head Office version responds to that trend by allowing the secure transfer of daily sales information over the Internet to a head office computer. It provides asset and leasing managers with daily cross portfolio sales analyses such as national retailer sales, category and mall sales trends, and year-end sales forecasts. In-house and hosted versions are offered.

"The Internet costs less than communicating on a dial-up network, since users don't pay a long-distance charge, and it's also much faster," Campbell says. "Head office personnel can evaluate updated sales information for all centers on a daily basis."

Also available from Locus Communications are: Inter-active Website Hosting, a service that hosts an interactive website for malls; Work Order Maintenance, facilities maintenance and budgeting software; and Order Express, an Internet retail application for electronic commerce.

Management Reports Inc. Headquarters: Cleveland Phone: 800-321-8770 Website: Product Name: MRI for Windows, Advanced Retail module Function: Property management Target User: Shopping and strip center owners/managers

Part of MRI's proven IT solutions for real estate management is its MRI for Windows Advanced Retail module, a flexible tool that tracks and integrates information about store performance, leases, special events, locations, taxes and expenses, while guiding users to more accurate decision-making. From ap-plications such as calculating percentage rents to tracking breakpoints to customizing sales curves, the package helps owners/managers improve forecasting, tighten cost control and increase staff productivity, as they gain increased control over retail portfolios.

The Advanced Retail module is easy to use, even for the most complex leases, according to Ron McComas, vice president of marketing for Management Reports Inc. "There's not a retail lease we can't handle," he claims. "In addition to our knowledge, no other company offers a package as easy to use for lease abstracting and generating formulas for calculating percentage rents on a PC-based platform."

McComas reports that the MRI for Window's Advanced Retail module is just one of MRI's complete library of applications for real estate property and asset managers. The company offers an array of software tools, outsourcing services, and design and installation services to create a comprehensive, customized solution that lets users focus on business instead of technology.

National Facilities Group Inc. Headquarters: Chicago Phone: 312-223-9700 Website: Product Name: Strategic Lease Information Management (SLIM) Function: Lease and portfolio administration Target User: Organizations leasing more than 70 locations

Strategic Lease Information Management (SLIM) is a sophisticated project management and reporting tool that helps real estate executives take a more positive stance with respect to managing real estate assets. It helps users reduce real estate administration costs, manage properties at peak efficiencies and negotiate more cost-effective transactions.

Time and cost savings are offered through system features such as statistical analysis of operating expenses; trend analysis of taxes; transaction analysis and comparison; seamless integration of information; option control and management; financial reporting, forecasting and accounting; and density analysis and control.

"Real estate departments of major retailers are being asked to do more with less people, and SLIM enables that," says Timothy Henry, director of sales and marketing for National Facilities Group.

Newstar Technologies Inc. Headquarters: Markham, Ontario, Canada Phone: 888-707-4000, ext. 4221 Website: Product Name: Real Estate Management System (REMS) Function: Property management Target User: Property and construction managers/developers

Windows-based Real Estate Management System (REMS) is a fully integrated management and processing software platform designed for shopping center professionals seeking full efficiency and access to commercial and retail property management reporting; work orders, purchase orders and preventive maintenance software; accounting and administration operations; and more. Processing and distributing business information, a fully relational database, and drill-down capabilities are just some of the highlights of the Newstar system.

Notes Rena Amer, marketing manager for Newstar, "REMS is a fully integrated property management system that includes financial capabilities, so users don't need a separate accounting package."

OmniComp (An Enron Company) Headquarters: State College, Penn. Phone: 800-726-4181 Website: Primary Product: FASER 2000 Function: Utility bill management Target User: Facility and energy managers

FASER 2000 is a utility bill management software tool that assists organizations in managing and analyzing their energy usage and cost information. The PC-based package helps users spot billing errors and recover overcharges; pick the most economical rate schedule; create and track energy cost budgets; cut bill-processing labor costs; and prepare users for the money-saving opportunities of deregulation.

"Energy usage represents a huge portion of facility cost," reports Michael Haslet, marketing specialist for OmniComp. "Our product helps shopping centers manage their utility bills, analyze consumption and make adjustments to get the best rates available. This ability is especially critical in a deregulated market: Users of FASER 2000 can shop smarter by accurately comparing cost trends by building or vendor and preparing energy requests for proposals to make the most of deregulation's opportunities."

PlanData Headquarters: Huntington, N.Y. Phone: 516-427-9300 Website: Product Name: SpaceMan Function: Space management Target User: Commercial property owners and managers

SpaceMan (named for its space-management function) "turns floor plans into business graphics," says Ronald Beattie, executive vice president of PlanData. "The software takes the property management data that owners and managers are tracking today, ties it to space plans, and re-formats it either as a color-coded floor plan -- for example, by sales per square foot, rentable area calculations, or lease expiration dates -- or as business graphics."

Beattie says the power of the system lies in its relational database structure, which enables users to attach virtually any information to a floor plan. In addition to its flexible relational database, other key features of the system include its ease of use; its ability to group information by standard or custom data sets; and its electronic picture capability, with which stored images referenced in a data set may be displayed. Examples of graphic information that could be referenced and pictured are: the space itself, view from the space, artwork, picture of the occupant, furniture, mechanical equipment and other details.

SS&C Technologies Inc. Headquarters: Windsor, Conn. Phone: 800-464-3982, ext. 5359 Website: Product Name: SKYLINE-REMS Enterprise Function: Real estate property and asset management Target User: Developers/owners/managers of more than 3 million sq. ft. of commercial retail space

SKYLINE-REMS Enterprise is a completely integrated Microsoft SQL server-based system containing the following components: real estate financials, general ledger, accounts payable and cash management, registry data management and analytics, and accounts receivable and billing.

The Real Estate Financials portion contains 99 different bases of accounting; 60-character, user-definable account numbers; complex consolidations; and intercompany allocation processing. Registry Data Management is comprehensive relational database software for tracking and viewing real estate assets and feeding that information into the system's other components. Registry Analytics is a conglomeration of integrated tools that allow graphical stacking plans, mapping and graphical performance reporting within the Registry database.

"SKYLINE-REMS Enterprise is specially designed for the more sophisticated real estate owner," reports Scott Tavolacci, SS&C's director of real estate products. "We've redeveloped the system from the ground up to address the needs created by consolidation and securitization in the industry. The system allows users to track and integrate all information about a real estate enterprise with onedatabase, and disperse that information across the entire enterprise."

Spatial Insights Headquarters: Vienna, Va. Phone: 800-347-5291 Website: Primary Product: TrendMap Function: Trade area analysis and demographic profiling Target User: Owners/managers/retailers/other industry professionals desiring trade-area analysis

TrendMap analyzes trade areas from customer-based, point-of-sale data. It helps users better understand the geographic distribution of their customers, providing a valuable mechanism for defining trade areas, understanding target demographic profiles, evaluating site suitability, quantifying trade-area overlap, and delineating market opportunities.

TrendMap defines accurate trade areas by modeling the geographic distribution of customer concentration or revenue. Among other applications, customer data from multiple sites can be used to identify and characterize trade-area overlap and quantify the effects of cannibalism. Specific data can be subset and summarized according to the actual customer trade area to derive accurate demographic profiles.

"For understanding the extent and characteristics of a trade area, and for market-gap analysis, site selection and merchandising, TrendMap is a very effective and desirable tool," says Don Segal, president of Spatial Insights. "To our knowledge, no other package on the market provides TrendMap's capabilities."

Timberline Software Corp. Headquarters: Beaverton, Ore. Phone: 800-628-6583 Website: Product Name: Gold Collection for Property Management Function: Property management Target User: Property management companies/owners/developers/fee managers

Gold Collection for Property Management is a fully integrated lease administration and ac-counting package comprising several different modules designed to provide a well-rounded solution to property management. It seamlessly integrates applications such as lease administration, accounts receivable and payable, and general ledger, allowing multiple leases per tenant, multiple tenants per lease, and multiple units per lease. It runs in a 32-bit multitasking environment for Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT.

According to Liz Lausmann, product marketing specialist for Timberline, Gold Collection software is based around the lease itself, which results in a data structure that is more sophisticated and adaptable to any lease agreement. With the lease at the center of the system, rather than the tenant, the software can streamline escalation and recoveries, CPI increases and management fee calculations, she says. "Throughout the system, features such as custom descriptions, fields and drop-down lists, along with file attachments, online notes and extensive tracking capabilities let users fit the package to the way their businesses work."

She adds, "Specifically to shopping centers, the system's advanced retail functionality is very sophisticated, allowing the tracking of sales in multiple sales categories and types; percentage rent billings; automatic scheduled breakpoints increases; efficient audited re-calculation processes; and more. For developers, the addition of job costing and estimating functionalities further streamlines Gold Collection for a particular need."

Visual Lease LLC Headquarters: Woodbridge, N.J. Phone: 888-876-6500 Website: Product Name: Visual Lease Function: Lease management Target User: Managers of 50 or more properties and leases

This client/server, process-driven solution is extremely powerful, user-friendly and flexible, striking a balance between usable and excessive information, and adapting to a company's unique needs and work patterns, according to Marc Betesh, president of Visual Lease. The Visual Lease software product follows a logical lease-management workflow, manages scanned images of leases, renders sophisticated reports (all formatted through either Microsoft Word or Excel), and easily shares information with other databases and systems, he says.

"The three legs we stand on are ease of use, flexibility and power," says Betesh. "We designed this lease administration package from scratch, working with lease managers from major companies to produce a functional tool that produces both standard and ad-hoc reports, with the ability to output virtually all information contained within the database via Word or Excel."

Yardi Systems Headquarters: Santa Barbara, Calif. Phone: 800-866-1144 Website: Product Name: Yardi Property Management Function: Property and financial management Target User: Property managers/owners/developers/corporate and institutional investors

The Yardi Property Management software system caters to all property types and their management issues. It is seamlessly integrated with Yardi's Asset Management system, which provides performance and proforma analysis by property, lease, investor, fund and portfolio, and supports both NCREIF and AIMR standards. The integration of the property and asset-management applications eliminates the traditional duplication of effort experienced when using disparate systems. Yardi's Windows and Internet-based product lines offer a variety of features and system options to reach all business sizes and their organizational structures. Solutions range from single user to Oracle- and SQL-based client/server platforms.

"More and more, companies need to integrate information from different systems into a single view," explains Karen Edgar, director of marketing for Yardi. "With Yardi Property Management, users can combine information from our system as well as others to create a customized view of their entire portfolios."

Edgar reports that how a software product's features are delivered is as important as the features themselves. She says many packages satisfy similar requirements, but it is the technology they offer that makes the difference. Client/server technology is becoming more important for the integration of information and application features, especially as industry mergers continue and portfolios expand.

She notes a trend toward web-enabled applications that allow users within a single organization to access a centralized system and its database information remotely. In addition, the same technology is being offered by Yardi to its clients' clients. Monthly reports are being posted on a website, where tenants not only have reports waiting for them but can run their own reports on past and current monthly billings, as well as other important reports. This capability allows Yardi's clients to be more competitive with the services they offer to their customer base.

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