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For Mark Friedman, CEO of Santa Monica, CA-based Accruent, technology has come a long way in less than two decades. But then again, even Friedman acknowledges the bar was fairly low when he formed the company in 1995.

“The person in charge of real estate at one of the largest corporations in the world was still managing his company’s worldwide holdings by filing copies of each lease in a three-ring binder on a shelf behind his desk back then,” Friedman explains.

He says he formed Accruent, a provider of Real Estate Performance Management (RPM) solutions, to give companies a more efficient option to coordinate lease negotiations, construction schedules and a host of other related tasks. “Most companies deal with single pain points. They determine a problem or a pain point and then address it. However, the solution may not integrate with the solutions they select for other pain points,” Friedman says. “The solutions aren’t integrated. Our focus is streamlining the solutions into a unified suite.”

Early this month, the firm came one step closer to its goal when it completed an all-cash acquisition of Irvine, CA-based Famis Software Inc., a developer of Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS).

Combined, company executives boast, Accruent and Famis can provide comprehensive software solutions that span the full real estate and facilities management lifecycle–from site selection and market planning to administration and operational management. For clients, that could mean greater efficiency and savings of both time and money, they predict.

Without integrated solutions, one division of a firm’s real estate operations may not know what another is doing, potentially duplicating or overlapping projects or creating conflicting strategies. Friedman cites a big box home improvement store, which recently spent more than $5 million to remodel a store. “That group didn’t realize plans were in place to close that location when a new one opened less than a mile away,” Friedman says.

The combined companies have a total customer base of more than 400, ranging from retail and corporate users to universities and public sector entities. Accruent markets integrated alternatives to multiple real estate management solutions. Through the acquisition of Famis, Friedman says the firm gained the scale, resources and expertise to provide services that are even more comprehensive.

“The market is searching for a partner that can deliver not just software but a proven capability to deliver an effective end-to-end solution. Customers want to sweep away the fragmented systems and processes that stand between them and clear visibility of these critical operations,” he explains.

Accruent was one of the first companies to apply information technology to the decision-making and operational processes around acquiring and managing real estate, one of the largest capital investments and operating expenses for many organizations. The company reports 20% of the Fortune 500 and nearly half of the nation’s top 100 retailers use its RPM solutions.

IWMS, a more mature software sector, enables organizations to optimize use of their property portfolio. The software is used for facilities management, including space planning and optimization, especially in higher education.

Despite the acquisition, Accruent will retain the Famis brand and Mike Ellis will remain as president. “There will be no change in the Famis team or product roadmap,” Peter West, Accruent’s VP of marketing explains.

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