NEW YORK CITY-Project Octane will not only launch the publicized transaction platform it is developing by the end of the first quarter next year, it plans to roll out a shared-services ASP by the end of the third quarter in 2002. Octane, comprised of New York-based Insignia Financial Group Inc., Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis, Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. and London and Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, already has its procurement platform underway. Trammell’s president of e-commerce and corporate development, James Groch, reported the plans at yesterday’s PACT conference in the Waldorf Hotel.

Groch was one of several representatives of Project Octane there. As a panelist in the session, “Joined-at-the-Hips Corporate Ventures: A Defensive Strategy or Growth Opportunity?” he outlined Octane’s plans to delve into transaction platforms. “Communications are a little chaotic,” but Octane believes it can use its upcoming platform to “reduce cost, cycle time, increase transparency and eliminate redundancy.”

“The shared services ASP is an information aggregate and process efficiency tool,” Groch explained. “The benefits will be to reduce costs, integrate systems, enhance reporting, manage applications remotely and provide access to real-time data.” This would be the final step in its “three primary initiatives.”

Joe Fitzpatrick, executive vice president of strategic initiatives for CB Richard Ellis Global, also spoke about Octane in an earlier panel moderated by Real Estate Forum editor Cynthia Hoffman. “End users are demanding lower costs and improved time efficiency on transactions. Fortune 1000 companies and large institutional owners are requesting and developing Web-based tools to streamline and reduce the cost of the transaction process. A number of on-line competitors are focused on automating the transaction management process. A shakeout is eminent.”

With 1.45 billion sf of managed property in the US, 30,000 employees, 250,000 vendors, 12,000 customers and $6 billion available to spend on goods and services (excluding construction), Groch says he is confident in Octane’s ability to weather the storm. The company, formed in March of this year, “is not looking for loads of investors,” but rather to “focus on a few strategic partners.” According to press releases issued at the time of the alliance’s launch, Project Octane is a temporary name, but there was no word from Fitzpatrick, Groch or any other Ocatane representative as to a new one.

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