Greystar Enterprise Architecture and Development

Summary

Greystar, a global real estate developer and operator, was seeking a software development partner to support their new Enterprise Systems team. HingePoint was selected to develop an Enterprise Architecture Plan to automate and integrate entire business segments that had no enterprise tools, and we stuck working on spreadsheets and email to manage a huge global development platform worth over $20B.

The Challenge

  • Greystar has many existing enterprise systems, and HingePoint had to come up with a road map that will leverage existing infrastructure or develop custom systems where no Out of the Box (OOTB) tool fits the Greystar business.
  • Many systems were not talking so integration and sharing of data and tools needed to be scaled out for North America as well as the growing portfolio of real estate in Europe, Asia, and South America.
  • The business lacked standards on the business processes running on Excel for real estate pipeline modeling, deal flow, committee approval, financial proformas, and asset management and asset forecasting.
  • Even where a system was enterprise-grade, such as Yardi Financials, there were 3 different versions of Yardi, for different regions, and they all needed to be integrated. And 2 regions used Oracle Financials.

The Solutions

Construction Financials Automation – Procore – Yardi – Oracle

Construction management is performed in Procore for 100’s of projects. 8 instances of Procore are used globally, 1 each for a different currency. 3 versions of Yardi financials are used, for 3 regions. 2 versions of Oracle financials are used globally. Dell Boomi is the integration tool of choice at Greystar.

In order to keep Procore financials updated we had to create 3 Integration Processes in Boomi:

  1. Create Budget – this imported and updated project budgets, contracts, and cost codes from estimating software
  2. Modify Budgets – as projects progress, budgets are modified with change orders, contract, and subcontract amendments. We had to automatically unlock, modify, and update the budgets across all projects and Procore systems monthly
  3. Update Costs – to get actual costs into Procore from Yardi and Oracle, we had to automatically update direct and subcontract costs

The solution worked in both Test and Production, fully automated with Dell Boomi to keep all project financials automated and accurate across the globe. We had to standardize the business and data so that cost codes and budgets would align across all projects.

Development Pipeline – Napkin to Sale System

This system has data on all assets from the initial idea sketched on the back of a napkin, through development, construction, turn over, lease-up, and eventual sale of a fully profitable asset. Much of this data was stored and maintained on Excel spreadsheets, including the inventory of deals, budgets, committee approvals, proformas, and financial forecasts. All this information is now part of GoData.

GoData is a custom application because, after years of research, no off the shelf product could accommodate the Greystar process. So HingePoint created cutting edge modern application based on custom app services, SQL as a Service (SaaS) APIs that integrated with Azure functions to process Excel data from 100’s of models. Over 25 reports and dashboards are integrated through PowerBI APIs. Data flows and is shared across the enterprise data warehouse (EDW). Property Photography is in Azure Blob storage. Security is handled with Greystar Single Sign-On (SSO) and Azure Active Directory for roles-based security. An agile development process is leveraging DevOps and continuous improvement and continuous integration (CICD) for push-button deployments from Dev, Test, Staging, and Production. We can deploy code in minutes and release features in hours and days, not weeks and months. Weekly sprints are used to bring value to the business every single week.

Map App Mobile for iPhone, Android, and iPads

Developers are very mobile and working from the road and home, so they use mobile devices and tablets. So GoData needed to work well on mobile. While it is responsive, we needed to use maps to show properties in a city, state, or region. HingePoint helped develop mobile apps:

  • Leveraging over 75% of code reuse from GoData
  • Map App is the first mobile app released at Greystar and it leverages the Zamrin mobile framework
  • Single Sign-On (SSO) for mobile via Apple and Android
  • Reuse of the same CICD pipeline
  • Bing Maps APIs is used to bring custom designed maps of properties in the pipeline.
  • Apple Enterprise deployment tools are used to get the Apps to the Users.

SharePoint Brand Standards

As Greystar expands globally the need for regional standards would help bring best practices for development, asset management, construction, and operations of assets. Leveraging enterprise SharePoint for document management HingePoint helped with custom SharePoint to build a GoPortal to access brand documents. To improve custom document search and metadata taxonomy we created custom Web Parts and custom Search Results to make it very easy for users to find documents in 4 simple approaches:

  • Search
  • Navigation
  • A filtered document by metadata configurations
  • Training videos in Stream

Salesforce – Integration and Migration

In 2020 Greystar acquired another company with over 750 properties under management. Many of the processes to market, sell, and transition properties to Greystar are executed on Salesforce tools. Greystar needed to merge all the salesforce data from the Alliance company to Greystar and HingePoint helped with the following migrations:

  • Benchmark and define all 4 custom modules at Alliance Salesforce
  • Benchmark all Greystar salesforce data objects and workflows
  • Map data from Alliance to Greystar
  • Develop over 500 custom objects, with screens and flows
  • Migrate data from Alliance to Greystar
  • Transition users from one system to another
  • Develop reporting for 100’s of end-users across 5 Divisions – Marketing, Operations, Transitions, and Business Development and Compliance

 

Ongoing Benefits:

  • Reduced development costs by using agile teams that are highly efficient, blending experts from Greystar and HingePoint and other partners
  • The first use of CICD and enterprise SSO for push-button deployment
  • Established the enterprise standard for DevOps
  • Fist Mobile application and mobile framework that will deploy many mobile apps in the future
  • Reduced use of Excel and standardized data formats across all phases of development
  • The first use of modern Service Oriented Architecture
  • First expansive use of PowerBI APIs for custom reporting and dashboards
  • data redundancy by 100%, while managing 100% of document security.
  • Enterprise IT got the technical expertise they needed to do the development and integration of many systems and tools required to empower Greystar
  • Greystar is now the largest multi-family develop with over 2600 assets
  • Integrated global financials to Procore using Dell Boomi

 

Who Was Helped:

IT, Design, Engineering, Construction Management, and Asset Management teams.

  • Platform Investment Committee (PIC) was responsible for initiatives that would help Greystar scale into their global leadership status.
  • Newly created enterprise systems team – VP, Sr. Director
  • VP of Development
  • VP of International Development
  • VP of Asset Finance
  • Director of Property Transitions
  • VP of Compliance and Risk
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Construction Management
  • CapEx Development for Owned Assets
  • Renovation of existing assets

 

Systems Integrated:

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