Read PartI of this interview.

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Oren Rosen is the Toronto-based President and COO of Sydney,Australia-based Cougar Software. The company makes software tofacilitate investment performance measurement, investment reportingand returns forecasting. Here's the second installment of atwo-part interview.

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GlobeSt.com: You say Excel spreadsheets are acceptable forisolated uses. But you also caution that Excel was not designed forcomplex, multifaceted data-centric applications, such as thoseneeded by many fund and asset managers in today's real estateindustry. How does your software overcome thoseweaknesses?

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Rosen: For the volume of data fund and asset managers aredealing with, they need a database--Excel is not a database, Cougaris. Second, one of the biggest weaknesses of Excel is the lack ofaudit-ability and lack of security. Someone can change a cell inExcel that alters the output and you would not know who, when, whator even if anything was changed. Cougar, on the other hand, has afully integrated role-based security system and audit tracking. Soaside from defining who can change what, you can track any change,what it was changed from, when it was changed, and who changed it.Third, integration with other systems is key, because with realestate, you are continually getting data from different sources.Since Excel is not a database or have a chart of accountsstructure, integrating with other systems to produce consolidatedreports is unbelievably time-consuming, Cougar solves this with itsdata consolidation core as we discussed earlier.

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I personally love Excel so I have to say something positiveabout it. One of its major attractions is the ability to make masschanges to data in a grid structure. We recognize this as somethingpeople don't want to lose, so Cougar offers editable scheduleswhich mimic Excel in your ability to make mass changes to data,however the changes are bound by security and changes aretracked.

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GlobeSt.com: What distinguishes Cougar software from itscompetition?

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Rosen: I would say three things: Our forward-lookingfinancial analysis engine; our ability to integrate with othersystems; and the fact that Cougar's product suite is homogeneous.It is built entirely by Cougar. We have the only forward-lookingfinancial analysis engine that combines the known's and any numberof assumptions to enable clients to model every possible futurescenario at the click of a button.

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Cougar identified early on that 90% of the information in Cougarwill come from other systems and accordingly we placed a priorityfocus on our integration capabilities. Today Cougar has establishedintegrations with most real estate point solutions and accountingsystems and has developed the technology and capability for quicklyand easily integrating with new systems.

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Most if not all of our competitors have acquired one or morecompanies or products and band-aided them together to offer whatCougar offers in a single, built from the ground up homogeneoussolution. While at the 100,000-foot level the build throughacquisition model sounds feasible, like everything the devil is inthe details and getting different solutions to work togetherrequires integration of data, security structures, databasedesigns, and user interfaces.

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Most companies only focus on the user interface to make it looklike one product but the reality is it is not--it's like buying aMercedes but with a Ford engine and bicycle tires. With Cougar,you're getting the car, the engine and the tires built by the samecompany and designed for optimal performance together.

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GlobeSt.com: Why is that important?

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Rosen: It's important because we are living in fear aboutwhat the future may bring and we need clarity and perspective.Cougar with its focus on forward-looking analysis delivers clarityand perspective by painting a picture of possible futures betterthan any other solution we know of.

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In today's tumultuous time, people and organizations are frozenin indecision and inaction as their previous sources of knowledgeand predictability--historical information--is all but useless indeciding what to do to go forward. So what do you do? There is onlyone option, look forward...but look forward and explore all likely,possible future scenarios so you can prepare accordingly. This iswhere Cougars forward looking analysis engine comes in.

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This requires a three-step process of bringing all your datatogether in a timely, consistent and accurate format, combining itwith assumptions to generate future scenarios, and analyzing andmaking decisions off the results. Then you can share both theresult and supporting data with key stakeholders. This is whereCougar's experience with integration comes in.

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