Have you heard about Composer, our new report writing and content publishing tool for commercial real estate? Duke Long invited our CEO and Co-Founder Wes Snow to learn more about the tool. Listen to the podcast to learn the story of Composer, how it can help brokers, how it differs from existing real estate brochure software and what to expect in the near future.
Duke: And welcome again today to the Duke Long commercial real estate podcast. And today we have Wes Snow. Wes is the CEO of Ascendix Technologies. How are you doing today, Wes?
Wes: Doing great. Thanks for asking, Sir. Thanks for having me.
Duke: Ok. Wes, we’ve known each other for quite a while. I certainly know a little bit about your products and certainly a lot of your company. Give me an idea, give me kind of introduction of Ascendix and what they do.
Wes: Yeah, thank you. So, Ascendix has been around for twenty-two years, all of which is being in a CRM space. And the last thirteen of which have been focused on commercial real estate products on top of commercially available CRM tools like Microsoft Dynamics and what we’ll be focusing on today which is Salesforce.com platform. We are based in Dallas, just under hundred people employed and that’s a good snapshot of Ascendix.
Duke: First of all, I’ve been in your office in Dallas, and I remember having seen amazing barbecue. Thank you for that.
Wes: You bet.
Duke: And again when you and I like to talk a lot we always talk about some of the different things CRM which I think is a very highly interesting product, especially in commercial real estate. And we had some discussions you should make a high-level demo of what you are kinda putting up, and now it is Composer. Can you provide for some people watching and listening of this podcast what Composer is and how you think it is kinda positioned in the daily lives of some of people in commercial real estate like a professional people in commercial real estate?
Wes: Thank you. So. You know, I consider talking about it, but obviously, we agreed to have a visual aid, and I think a picture is worth a thousand words so let me share the story of Composer with a brief demo and use cases.
Duke: Sure, we talk about technology. Let’s use it.
Wes: Let’s embrace it. So, ultimately as you can see on the top of this particular screen there are a number of different types of records that we tracking: accounts, contacts, deals, properties, availabilities.
We found that in order for a broker to really make sense of it and capitalize on all the data that is resident in our solution, there need to be some really rich searching tools that weren’t available, and so we created what we call Ascendix Search to help the end user with effectively fill in the blank exercise to go there and interrogate and mine your data.
And so as we were going down this road we decided that in addition to just having this template-based searching capability starting incorporate things like maps which are even more of an enrichment a process for searching data.
Ultimately, going through the process of how we got the results set what we would do with this data?
And that’s where we created this tool, this extension if you will is called Composer that is an adjunct to the Ascendix Search tool.
So let me show you some couple use cases that will drive the point home.
Let’s imagine that we are a tenant rep broker and we want to generate a couple of tour books and with the data that we have in the system.
So I am gonna drill in a little bit closer to the map and just imagine having selected a collection of properties or availabilities using this map searching capability.
So we hone in on a collection of these availabilities and from this results set we can go in there and grab some that we want to push in to, say a property tour book.
So I gonna grab three different availabilities across two different properties and using the Composer integration we’re now able to take that data and select an appropriate template, in this case, the ‘Property Availabilities’ template.
We see the availabilities we’ve selected, and then we can go and download that as a result set you have in your screen which we’ll do or send them as a link or as an attachment via an email.
So I click on the Download result, click on Create. Now the broker has a self-sufficient method by which to first and foremost going and subselect availabilites based on criteria of the tenant, but then push those selected records into something they can hand off to the prospective tenant in the way of a tour book.
So here is just an example of what we see a map object that shows the legend of the properties. As we scroll down further, we got a high-level overview of the first property and the corresponding availabilities and so on.
So, and that is an example of how we marry the really rich set of data inside of AscendixRE with elegant report writing and publication tools.
Another one, we to put our landlord rep head on and let’s say that we are working on a listing. We can go to the listings here of the Ascendix Search and let’s just imagine for a minute we are going to go and do a search on a particular listing for Merit Tower.
I select that particular property name, and it provides me with the Merit Tower lease listing.
At this point what we are trying to do is report back to the owner what all we’ve done engagement wise with this listing since we took it over.
What inquiries or assigned calls have we had, what deals have transpired or been created based on those inquiries and what is the overall volume of activity around the property and a listing.
So, the Composer tool once again gets selected, and it passes the Merit Tower lease listing property records or lease listing records to that property listing template. Same options are available here. We’ll click on the Download result, and now we click the Create button. And we gonna get the summarization if you will that we could very readily handoff to the owner. And what we’ve found is that this particular process is often times done in Word templates or Excel files and done very manually whereas if you would harness all these data inside of the central repository like this, you’ve got the opportunity to put this property listing report in front of them with couple of clicks of the button.
Now we see the Merit Tower property, the name of it, and we got some graphics, visuals if you will of the property, and those space inquiries I spoke of here, assigned calls and then the deals we generated along with activities.
So this is an example of a couple of use cases of how Composer comes to life and really brings this data that have been centralized to life for outside constituents. Hopefully, that helps you.
Duke: So, when I look at something like this, Wes, I see a lot of stuff, and it kinda reminds me a little bit of a Buildout and as everybody knows I am a huge fan of Buildout. I love what they do, I love the team, everybody is great. You know again, and this is only one example, but how is your tool Composer is kinda similar and maybe even perhaps a little bit different than some of what these oftens I come familiar with?
Wes: Yes, so. A couple of things I would say. First and foremost, it is integrated. You are one-stop shopping here. Instead of having to have an integration story, you got a centralized CRM system that was built for commercial real estate, and now we’ve added this publication tool that allows for all the data inside of that to be immediate without any kind of integration efforts be pushed to these very attractive templates. So that’s one thing in the integration story. It has already baked in.
Secondly, is that this is not just a tool that allows for the creation of brochures and flyers and things that are kinda marketing-oriented. This can also be harnessed as a reporting facility. I’ll give you another example here. Imagining, having selected a handful of accounts here that you wanna go and create a summary file for it. This is not what I characterize as a customer-facing brochure or flyer, but rather a report that summarises the data related to an account. I would say that our tool is multifaceted. Yes, it can create flyers, brochures and things that are more marketing-oriented, but also can timid to be both a report writer and a document generator. This is just one example of that.
Integration and multifaceted nature of this are where we find ourselves differentiated.
Don’t get me wrong. Buildout is a great tool, and I would never want to compete with them head to head. What we have it is not exactly that, but Composer is integrated and multifaceted. Hopefully, that helps.
Duke: Yeah, at the beginning you kinda mentioned something about providing AscendixRE on a Salesforce platform, so I kinda have a question because I am Salesforce-aware. Does some need to be a customer of Ascendix to benefit from this basic application that you have?
Wes: Yeah, thank you for asking that. The bottom line is no. When we started building the AscendixRE solution this was a component of it that we thought, you know, others can benefit from this. What if we were to extract this and sell this to anybody who is Salesforce sales or service cloud subscriber. And so, four months ago, we finally kinda put a finishing touch on there and eventually launched this out to the AppExchange on the heading Ascendix Search. And now it is out there for anybody who is a subscriber to the Salesforce’s sales or service cloud. So you do not have to be an AscendixRE customer to get this tool.
Duke: What kind of resting. You know, there were some very specific examples of what Composer can generate, you know, from the report-point of your perspective, what other forms of that can Composer generate?
Wes: I guess, I touched on that a little bit earlier. Let’s elaborate a little bit and not only talk about what’s today, but also what is the future roadmap item. So, the traditional property flyers and tour books, owner reports and things of that nature to summarization of the account and contact records in both PDF, PowerPoint, Excel, and in a future, Word. But one of the future outputs is going to be microsites and so allowing this data to be out there and available via a temporary microsite that allows for someone to consume that as an HTML content as it opposed to a PDF or PowerPoint or Word document. So that gives you a sense for not only what we have today, but where we are going with that.
Duke: All right, I gonna ask you a question that you might don’t want to answer, but I gonna ask it anyway. I know I usually ask that, but tell me what kind of pricing is on this topic, as everybody asks me about that. How about this product, how are they priced, is that tier, what’s going on? So, will you answer this question for me?
Wes: I’ll answer. So, Ascendix Search, and ultimately we have to provide pricing out there if you are AppExchange app. The Ascendix Search tool is a $15 per user per month price. And it does not have to match all the end users that you have in your Salesforce Org. If, however, you want to bundle the Composer tool with Ascendix Search which is how we are packaging it, it moves that price point from $15 to $25. It is a bundle price of $25 per user per month with no minimum users to speak of. So, that’s how we are pricing it. We are still playing around a few models, but that’s our the shot price point.
Duke: Ok, Is it available for some people who are not subscribed to Salesforce?
Wes: At this point, this is really a Salesforce only solution. We do have aspirations to have this harnessed and hooked up to other CRM tools, but today this is really a Salesforce only solution.
Duke: Ok, when will this be ready? I mean is it ready now? Can I go and get it now?
Wes: Not yet. I would say that we are looking at a target date March 1st. So that’s just round the corner. We are principally complete with the development and hardening. The integration is great, the template library needs to be continued to build out. While we probably have integration there in an around March first, there is an ever-growing library of templates that we are going to be putting together. So it will be a rolling expansion. Look for the first part of March.
Duke: Well, that’s just around the corner. Wes, first of all, overall you help me so much. You helped me to understand the product; you did a great presentation. I really can understand what’s going on. I think what you guys are doing is fantastic. You really do a lot of things to help a lot of people to make a lot of money. Let’s put this that way. I mean you got a CRM, I am a huge fan of that. I appreciate you are coming today to this podcast and showing everybody this awesome stuff. So everybody who is listening, please look at the links and thanks so much, Wes.
Wes: Thank you, Duke, appreciate it.
Do you think this Composer can be useful for you? What reports would you like to create thanks to it? We want to hear your feedback! Please share your thoughts in the comments.