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Bruce Millar, chief executive officer of Cougar Software, describes the property market as “too slow in its uptake of technology. The industry is nowhere near making enough use of technology. It has always lagged behind other asset classes.” Millar has been working to change that since 1992, the year he founded Sydney, Australia-based Cougar. The firm’s sole focus is the real estate industry. Its software is designed to facilitate investment performance measurement, investment reporting and returns forecasting. The firm mainly targets professional investors with more than $1 billion under management. GlobeSt.com caught up with Oren Rosen, Cougar’s Toronto-based President and COO, to find out more about the company’s mission. Here’s the first part of a two part interview.

GlobeSt.com: Cougar Software has offices and representatives in Sydney, New York, London, Cape Town and Singapore. Does having such a widely scattered global presence help the company grow its business or make it harder to develop the brand?

Rosen: Globalization is a reality of everything we do. As a technology company, if you do not or cannot operate in the global marketplace, you’re in trouble. Cougar is fortunate to have gone global early in its growth to support of some of its key clients. Macquarie, for instance, began investing in foreign markets because investment grade real estate dried up in Australia. While it is technically more difficult and expensive to develop and maintain a global brand, the pros far outweigh the cons. For example, we had to address the complexities of operating in different regions a long time ago. So foundational elements like multicurrency, multilanguage and multimeasurement are core to our products, and we’ve even addressed more complex issues such as valuation formulates, tax structures and reporting standards. Strategically, these now represent significant barriers to entry for our competitors–building brand is easy.

GlobeSt.com: Cougar boasts that it “implements solutions to radically improve procedures, reduce reporting cycles and manage risk.” What products do you offer to help clients reach those objectives?

Rosen: The core of our product suite is a data consolidation engine, which brings together data from all sources, any system and at any time, that is historical, actual or forecast. The data consolidation engine allows data to be stored in its native chart of accounts structure at any level of detail. Then it can be mapped to a master corporate chart of accounts structure to promote consolidated reporting, consolidated analysis–consider this the data core. Off the core, Cougar has a series of modules supporting key real estate operations at all entity levels–properties, portfolios, holding companies and funds. Specifically, property, portfolio and fund budgeting and forecasting, scenario modeling (developments, acquisitions, and dispositions), sensitivity analysis, complex partner rollups, investor returns calculations, and other types of investor reporting. Cougar’s mission is to provide everything you need to optimize the performance of your real estate investments.

GlobeSt.com: How many Cougar implementations are there worldwide?

Rosen: We have over 300 implementations worldwide.

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