In our “Thought Leader Interviews” series interviews all important Thought Leaders from the IWMS industry. In our ninth interview we have interviewed Jack Thompson CEO of Tango Management Consulting, LLC.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers

jthompson My name is Jack Thompson. I am the President and CEO of Tango Management Consulting (TMC). Tango Management Consulting is a full-service management consultancy providing innovative technology solutions for retail, commercial, and corporate real estate clients. Formed in 2008, TMC boasts a Senior Leadership team with deep roots in retail and corporate real estate, as well as significant Big-4 consulting backgrounds. Our specialized focus in this area, allows us to provide greater client value than the much more broadly focused global systems integrators.

2. Can you explain a bit about your background and your career?

After receiving an undergraduate degree in Economics from Illinois State University in 1984, I worked as a construction project manager and as owner/manager of a marina until 1990.

In 1990 I joined Taco Bell as an Associate Real Estate Manager. Taco Bell was very forward thinking and they were aggressively rolling out multiple concepts. I received a bag phone and a laptop with a custom application that kept track of all of the sites I was working on and generated site packages automatically through integrations with Microsoft Word, Excel and Project. I ended up becoming the beta tester for the future releases of the application because I broke it more than anyone else!

We used DeLorme Maps and bitmap dots in a Word document for our new “state-of-the-art” market plans, hoping to get off of sticky dots and compass circles on paper Rand McNally maps. During this period I received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

From 1992 to 1994 I worked for a startup called Boston Market. They had National Decision Systems and ESRI geo-demographic systems that I started playing with. This grew into a role of managing all of the market planning and site analysis. Fairly quickly, this morphed into a position as Director of Real Estate IT.

As our development pace reached a store opening per day, we quickly realized how important store opening information was to the entire organization. We ended up building a Lotus Notes application to manage the site approval, project management and store opening pipeline reporting. Some organizations are still using Notes to manage this process.

From 1994 to 1997 I managed the Market Planning function within McDonald’s. It was here that I started getting heavily involved in building Sales Forecasting models and custom MapInfo market planning applications. From1997 to 2002 I was a Senior Manager at Deloitte in the Real Estate Operations and Systems Consulting practice. I was fortunate to be able to serve a wide range of corporate, commercial and real estate industry clients.

In addition, starting in 1999, we began serving clients in retail real estate departments. This became a corner stone of our practice as I moved to Ernst & Young as a Principal, later to BearingPoint as a Managing Director and then ultimately as we formed Tango Management Consulting.

3. Can you elaborate a bit more about your company? What makes your company unique?

Tango Management Consulting boasts a Senior Leadership team with deep roots in retail and corporate real estate, as well as significant Big-4 consulting backgrounds. Our specialized focus in this area, allows us to provide greater client value than the much more broadly focused global systems integrators. Tango Management Consulting provides unique value to clients in the following ways:

  • Depth of Solution Experience – TMC staff members have implemented all of the leading solutions throughout the course of their careers.
  • Experienced Project Teams – TMC staffs its projects in an experienced senior leadership diamond model and takes a “hands on” approach throughout the entire implementation process, thus ensuring end user satisfaction and an on time, on budget result.
  • Unbiased Approach – Our understanding of the capabilities of each of the software solutions allows us to provide unbiased counsel to our clients. We know the capabilities and limitations of each solution and how each can be configured and integrated for optimal results.
  • Thought Leadership – TMC’s leadership has worked with all of the major solution providers over the last 15 years to develop and enhance software products that meet the needs of retail, corporate, and commercial real estate.
  • Competitive Billing Rates – Unlike the Big-4, our low overhead business model allows for highly competitive billing rates across all levels of our staff.
  • Innovative Solutions – TMC has developed a number of innovative applications and extensions to COTS IWMS and ERP solutions that enhance client value and fill in gaps in product functionality including: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analytics, mobile handheld applications, and integration templates.

4. What motivates you as a person?

I am passionate about the entire lifecycle of real estate. I have been fortunate to have worked in many high performing real estate environments, and I have always been one to push the envelope applying the latest technologies to support the real estate function.

Delivering results that provide a competitive advantage through an organization’s real estate and facilities operations is truly what motivates me.

5. How do you want to be seen by your employees, the competition and independent business analysts?

  • Loyalty – to my team and to our clients.
  • Integrity – Sometimes our role in advising clients has not made us popular with the software vendors. Yet, in every case where we have managed a selection project, we have worked with the teams that did not win to help them understand where their product fell short. We have seen over the years each of the vendors take that feedback and fill in the gaps that have existed in their product functionality. We feel that our integrity in representing our client’s interests and our integrity in our vendor alliances has benefitted the IWMS industry overall and is what sets us apart.
  • Trusted Advisor – We take very seriously our role as Trusted Advisor. We have clients that we have served over 10 years and four different organizations. This can only happen by providing the right counsel, exceeding expectations and delivering on-time in-budget projects.
  • Tough to Beat – Tango Management Consulting plays to win. Whether it is through our strategic vision, our thought leadership, or our execution at the client level, we have been and will continue to be – Tough to Beat.

6. What does the term Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) mean to you?

Unfortunately, I feel that the term Integrated Workplace Management System is a misnomer of sorts. Gartner lumps both Retail Corporate and Traditional Corporate together.

Anyone who knows both knows that the solutions while similar at the very highest level are quite different from the industry perspective. Retailers want to open a lot of good locations fast and corporations want to manage facilities, occupancy costs, and move/adds/changes.

We have had discussions with Gartner about splitting these out and hope to see that happen in a future edition of the Magic Quadrant. In the meantime, we have published Tango Management Consulting’s “Retail Store Lifecycle Reality Radar” that addresses the specific IWMS needs of retail.

7. What do you think of the Credit Crunch? What impact does it have on FM and RE?

  • The current economic environment will put increased pressure on driving cost reductions. As layoffs occur, more and more vacant space will need to be managed and disposed of, requiring more retail-like deal management functionality to support. Unfortunately, in Traditional Corporate environments CRE is too often mistakenly thought of as “not strategic” and a necessary cost evil. This will without a doubt put near term pressures on software sales in this space.
  • In Retail, while you are also seeing many chains close locations, there is also another interesting dynamic occurring. Many of the more savvy retailers are looking at this as the time to crank up the growth engine. With lease rates being depressed, they consider the next few years the “buying opportunity of a lifetime”. We have signed a number of new clients already this year in retail that are building the infrastructures to ramp up growth or building the analytics required to reposition their portfolios and maximize ROIC.

8. What is your opinion about Sustainability and IWMS?

This is a HUGE growth area. The problem is getting it started. While Sustainability is a multi-faceted complex problem, one area that many organizations struggle with is the basic task of how to begin to assess their current portfolio assets.

Many of the solutions in the market place are simple forms and don’t support the hard task of collecting asset information in the field. This is why we have focused a significant portion of our R&D budget this year to developing solutions to this problem. When it becomes efficient to collect current asset information, the adoption of IWMS solutions for Sustainability will increase.

It is clear that significant cost saving can be achieved through focusing on sustainability. Therefore the ‘low hanging fruit’ for companies will be to focus on those items generating immediate ROI.

9. How do you see IWMS in the year 2015?

Major consolidation! If you study the growth of any industry, you will see the early years characterized by fragmented, thinly capitalized, entrepreneurial companies. As these industries mature, capital flows in and M&A activity occurs, eventually leading to clear market leaders.

Once clear leadership occurs, capital flows out of the smaller companies and market dominance is achieved. All one needs to do is look at the waste management industry, the video industry or the ERP industry as proof. In my opinion, the major ERP players will more than likely get in the game in the end and take out the last men standing.

10. What would be your Million Dollar Tip for our readers?

Read our recently published white paper, “Boutique or Big-4 – The Future of Corporate Real Estate Technology Consulting.” It could literally save you a Million Dollars on your next project.

Next interview

In our “Thought Leader Interviews” Bruce Forbes, CEO and Founder of Archibus, will be interviewed next week.