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End-User Benefits of a Strategic Partnership between Corporate Service Providers and SaaS Companies

By Mitchell Wickland, CIO, Occupier Services

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Technology is a critical component of any business with a stake in the digital landscape. Service providers are constantly looking for new ways to improve upon existing technologies and leverage new ones as they try to position themselves as industry and technology innovators.  The end goal is to deliver an exceptional product that will benefit the end-user client.

Service providers are aspiring to become true partners to their clients and there are many benefits that come as a result:

Client-Centricity

Proprietary technology has formerly been seen as a way to tie a client into a long -term contract with a service provider.   Conversely, partnerships allow the service provider to provide the best service while keeping the clients’ best interests and needs at the forefront.

Cushman & Wakefield’s client-first mentality fueled the firm’s strategic decision to divest its IWMS platform, BIGCenter, and partner with Accruent on its ongoing development. Cushman & Wakefield believes that both clients and the firm benefit from a more mature software provider driving roadmap, operations and client support in order for BIGCenter to reach its fullest potential. By letting a great product flourish in more independent hands clients, the service provider and the software provider all win through broader vision, enhanced abilities to execute, and deeper client support.

Focus on What Matters Most

Another benefit of a strategic partnership is the clear separation of responsibilities that are required to improve the end product. This allows service providers to focus on their technology vision and strategy, while letting technology partners focus on market/client needs, product strategy, and differentiation.

Cushman & Wakefield chose Accruent because of their expertise, resources and proven model for successfully acquiring and strengthening software businesses, in turn benefiting clients of both companies. The BIGCenter disposition is one of many technology and business intelligence decisions that Cushman & Wakefield will undertake as part of the evolution of its technology strategy to provide smart, innovative and more analytically capable real estate solutions to their clients.

Combined Knowledge and Ability to Execute

Whether designing a product, onboarding new clients, strengthening capabilities, or maintaining excellent customer service, partnerships allow both sides to focus on what they do best.  Combining a service provider with deep industry knowledge and a technology provider with a proven ability to execute can provide a highly differentiated product to the marketplace.

With more than 20 years’ experience as a market leading provider and proven aggregator of technology products in the real estate industry, Accruent brings the approach and skills necessary to realize BIGCenter’s true product potential while immediately augmenting client experience.  Combining Accruent’s track record of product development with Cushman & Wakefield’s full understanding of client needs can only lead to a stronger, more thoughtful, and more aligned delivery to clients.

Depth and Maturity

Software companies are primarily providers of products that others use to generate value.  This focus on technical product management and support greatly differs from a primarily service oriented approach.  One mindset or philosophy applied to the other does not often generate sustained success.

Cushman & Wakefield recognizes that Accruent is more adept at fostering a software product to its fullest potential.  Through a partnership approach, clients immediately benefit from Accruent managing the ongoing development of a market-leading product, and most importantly, meeting the specific needs of the industry through ongoing product support.

Faster Product Updates & Better Product Quality

Product development is guided with greater technical focus, enhancements receive more expert critique and adaptation.  Feedback cycles move faster and updates are issued more quickly.   Through this evolution, the partnership is strengthened by mutual benefit.

Cushman & Wakefield is proud of what they have accomplished with BIGCenter through an internal partnership over the last 15 years.  As the pace of improvement accelerates within the industry and differentiation among a tightening circle of products becomes more acute, a strategic move is necessary to not just maintain but grow BIGCenter’s success.  Accruent serves as the catalyst for growth by moving faster through development, and more refined daily operations.

In conclusion, service and product provider partnerships are the future of a robust, market-leading technology strategy allowing both sides to remain more clearly focused on their core business and strategic client base.  As some competitors move towards the acquisition of competing products and the continued development of proprietary solutions, Cushman & Wakefield sees the opportunity differently.  Through the right partnerships, Cushman & Wakefield can maximize value to clients, increase delivery speed, and provide flexible long-term solutions. Cushman & Wakefield focuses on what they do best- providing sustainable value-added services and expert guidance on key real estate decisions.

wickland-mitchWith over 20 years of experience, Mitchell has been helping commercial real estate organizations become better businesses by effectively applying the right technologies. He has experience in most real estate process including acquisition and disposition, asset and property management, facility operations, corporate space planning and management and sustainability and environmental management.

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