Quick access to the right information can make or break a deal in today's technology-driven commercial real estate arena. Since the debut of its Web site (www.ccim.com) in 1995, the leadership of the CCIM Institute has continually stepped up to the plate to offer members technological resources designed to help them maintain a competitive marketplace advantage. In the fall of 1999, CIRE hit a grand slam with the unveiling of the Site To Do Business (STDB), an integrated resource of industry and business information.
The STDB - available only to Certified Commercial Investment Members (CCIMs) and CCIM candidates - may be the first intranet tool of its kind offered to members of a commercial real estate association.
Simply put, users of the STDB will have access to some of the most important analytical data, demographic and mapping reports, financial analysis tools, search engines and business news resources available today. These features will be augmented by CCIM member profiles and property information posted on the CCIMNet Commercial Property Network. And, portions of the site can be tailored to fit the market needs of the individual member. Version 5.2 of the site was rolled out in summer of 2001 and features a fully customized demographic package delivered in a PDF format for any geographic location in the U.S.
A key feature of the site is its ability to provide a central resource of useful information usually available in different locations or only to those commercial practitioners affiliated with large companies. Through the STDB, all CCIMs can save valuable time retrieving data and presentation-quality reports, and those members from small firms or independent brokers now have access to much of the same information available through costly subscription services. Furthermore, using the site is relatively easy.
Requests for market reports and demographic statistics are made through an online form. Answers are delivered instantly to the user's browser in the form of presentation-quality maps and reports. To protect accessibility, the STDB is password protected. To keep the site up to date, new features will be added based on member demand and the availability of more advanced online resources. SRC, LLC, a California-headquartered company, was hired to design, maintain and upgrade the site.
An interactive demonstration and tutorial compact disk on the site was distributed to all CCIM members in mid 2001 to help users navigate and utilize the STDB. And, live help desk support is available during the business day.
Since rapid access to data can be pivotal in commercial real estate, the Site To Do Business should prove to be one of the most valuable benefits offered to CCIMs. Technology alone, of course, will not result in a done deal. Market knowledge, business sense and negotiation skills are still essential for success in commercial real estate. But with the STDB, CCIMs will have another tool that can help them stay on par with the best in the business.
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