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Q & A with Paladin Realty Partners’ Chief Investment Officer, Randall Loker

3 Jun 2019
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We’re proud to work with one of the world’s foremost institutional real estate fund managers, Paladin Realty Partners. The global firm, founded in 1995, has a vast amount of data coming in from up to 100 active projects at any given time, spanning seven countries and multiple partners. They turned to us to help them process the data from their complex business ventures, which resulted in the birth of our recently launched real estate investment solution, The Brain. We sat down with Randall Loker, Chief Investment Officer for the company, to find out more about how our solution has helped their team succeed.

Q: You approached the team at Pacific Data Science to help you find a solution for managing the data from your investments and development projects. Can you give me some background on why you were looking for help?

A: At Paladin Realty Partners, we have a complex business model with investments all over Latin America. We regularly receive excel files from partners with various data points, including cash flow projections, financial reporting, and more. Each spreadsheet is a bit different and prone to bugs, as well as being interlinked with spreadsheets containing other data points, which posed some significant data integrity issues. Our back office team was spending months checking, double checking and compiling all this data in order to share with our stakeholders.

Q: Sounds like you had some inefficient processes you were trying to overcome. How did The Brain help?

A: Basically, The Brain provided the heavy lifting we needed in order to process our data effectively, efficiently AND accurately. It provides a centralized database that could ingest all of the information we were receiving from various sources and process it. In fact, our team just drags and drops the spreadsheets into The Brain, and the solution lines up the data, tracks line items and exports reports in a matter of seconds, rather than months. We can pull reports at any time as Excel spreadsheets, enabling manual checks and custom ad hoc reporting. It’s so easy to use, it reduces errors automatically and our team can be certain the information is up-to-date since it operates in the cloud.

Q: You mentioned error reduction. Can you tell me more about that?

A: When we receive spreadsheets from all our partners, there are inevitably bugs due to too many files, links and history being perpetrated each time the file is manipulated. These errors were being inherited over and over, and we were spending a lot of time (even at the executive level) finding and correcting those errors. The Brain is intelligent - it finds these errors automatically so that we know our reports have integrity and are correct.

Q: That sounds like a huge benefit. What are some other benefits you’ve seen from using The Brain?

The Brain is a great tool for us to store and process our information - cash flow, valuations, asset management and more - with ease. With this solution, storing and processing our data, we can automate functions that used to take a long, painful time. There was no learning curve for our staff because The Brain is so user-friendly, with a well-designed interface that just makes sense.

We also operate in multiple countries, which means we are dealing with ever-changing currency exchange rates. The process we used before The Brain was clunky and time-consuming. The Brain has direct integration with foreign exchange rate feeds - currencies are seamlessly converted so projects spanning multiple countries can have consolidated fund-level reports in dollars with detailed drilldowns.

Q: What are the biggest benefits you’ve seen at Paladin Realty Partners as a result of using this system?

The biggest overall benefit is that the numbers are more trustworthy because The Brain automatically identifies anomalies and corrects them. The Brain also processes incoming data instantaneously, freeing up our staff to focus on their highest and best use rather than mind-numbing manual spreadsheet processing. We’ve actually seen a whopping 85 percent reduction in time for preparing asset management reports, plus a huge reduction in errors. I’m not sure how we did it before The Brain!

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