CoStar Group and Accruent have teamed up to create an integrated product that will provide on-demand access to CoStar's commercial real estate data from within Accruent's software. Customers who can utilize this new offering must already have subscriptions to CoStar's property information services and Accruent's RPM solution.

The new product will supply retailers with the data they need to make better decisions about sites for new store locations with the goal of increasing revenues and lowering costs. It will also help them more effectively manage the lifecycle of their properties and leases. Customers will have access to CoStar's proprietary online database that includes more than 2.2 million commercial properties in the U.S., U.K. and France. The data includes 1.7 million retail tenant locations, which includes the top 5,500 retailers in the U.S., 655,000 shopping centers, general retail properties and parcels of retail-zoned land. Specific pieces of data customers will have access to include space availabilities, properties for sale (including land), sales comparables, store types, tenant rosters, frontage location, individual building photos and 360-degree aerials.

CoStar and Accruent have also pooled their resources to make working with that data even easier for customers. The new solution will automate data entry and site selection processes that are typically done manually. An alert feature, which will inform a retailer in a shopping center know when an anchor tenant closes or if a center's vacancy rate falls beyond a particular occupancy threshold, is one of many features CoStar and Accruent plan to launch down the road.

Even though these new features are yet to come, the product that CoStar and Accruent have launched is definitely a smart offering. This perfect example of 'content meets software' really illustrates what data companies need to do these days. Content is great, but it means a lot more to customers if it's combined with tools that make it more usable. Some data providers find they can add this type of functionality themselves; others choose the route CoStar took in this instance--partnering to acquire such capabilities. Either way, it's an important move for data providers to make. If you can help customers make better use of your data--and help them save money and make money in the process--they'll be customers for a long time.