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CUSTOMERS ❯ RXR
RXR is a large commercial real estate investment and development firm based in New York City. With a portfolio spanning 73 properties and investments, the firm owns and operates a staggering number of Class-A properties from Times Square to Park Avenue and beyond.
While the firm has always shown a proclivity for innovation in many areas of business, like leading a number of sustainability initiatives, they were struggling to modernize dated data management practices that relied heavily on manual work from their lean operational teams.
Today, with their entire office and retail portfolio digitized in Prophia, RXR is able to perform complex managerial tasks in a matter of minutes, accessing highly important portfolio variables and cross-referencing key documents with ease. This, in turn, has increased the speed of their business intelligence, giving them a discernible competitive edge in the market.
REJECTING STATUS QUO AND EMBRACING INNOVATION
When RXR first started looking for a data management solution, they had grown aware of the fact that “should-be” simple tasks were unnecessarily time-consuming. For instance, the team had a very difficult time locating critical portfolio lease documents thanks to a cumbersome shared drive.
“...the genesis came from conversations with the leasing and investment management teams about the manual effort required to find documents and our often counterintuitive internal file structure.. It was challenging for the team to get any insight into the portfolio and look at any cross-portfolio or cross-tenant trends.”
— Joe DiSalvo, SVP, Corporate Controller at RXR
They also struggled to share those documents among one another. Team members frequently lost access to documents at critical negotiation phases, and the siloed and unstructured nature of data put pressure on individuals to be the keepers of key information. This led to questions about that data’s accuracy and gaps in knowledge.
“Ultimately, I always trust a lease more than an abstract and experience has taught me to always double check. With Prophia, that layer of doubt and uncertainty is eliminated, because the information is always linked back to the original document.”
— Alexandra Bedell, VP of Leasing at RXR
The RXR team needed a powerful digital solution to regain confidence in the accuracy of their data and supply them with decision-ready information. And this specific criteria led them to quickly eliminate certain solutions that their peers and competitors were using for their own data processes.
PROCESS OF ELIMINATION
Once the team had completed the internal assessment of their data management challenges, they went to the marketplace - researching a wide range of potential solutions and conversing with other industry leading CRE peers for advice.
While data organization was top-of-mind initially, their research uncovered the need for a more dynamic solution that would allow them to do more with their data than simply store and share it. This allowed them to quickly eliminate two other products they were considering.
They also considered an MRI product, and a lease management tool as they narrowed down the pool. But ultimately found that these solutions fell short on the complex lease-reading and abstraction component that would be critical for holistically improving data management.
“We also looked at some options with advanced search functionalities, but the benefit of Prophia is that it's tailored for commercial real estate. Having the stacking plan, the abstracting tool, and the search tool housed in one place made everything so much easier.”
— Brett Meisel, Leasing Analyst at RXR
RXR branched out again, and connected with Prophia’s CEO, Cameron Steele. Prophia’s verticalized AI and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities held strong promise in its ability to seamlessly identify, annotate, and recommend key terms within tenant lease documents. Additionally, with Prophia, RXR would be able to create a system of record with structured and tethered portfolio data - addressing previous issues of losing critical information at key phases of negotiations.
“Many tools we looked at didn’t have the cataloging functionality. The other platforms we researched also didn’t offer the same attributes or, at that point, weren’t as smart on the lease-reading piece as Prophia.”
BUILDING THE PARTNERSHIP & TESTING PROPHIA'S STRENGTHS
To formally test Prophia, RXR assembled a tech committee to act as a sounding board throughout the trial on-boarding. In addition to giving feedback, this team, composed of leaders from different departments, tracked various KPIs and cataloged their experience.
The RXR team chose five of their most challenging leases for Prophia to abstract. These 300 documents were siloed, spanning multiple buildings and decades. The documents for 237 Park Avenue, and the New York Presbyterian Hospital, alone, contained 3,902 total pages with amendments and rights that dated back to the 1970s.
Prophia quickly turned around this work, onboarding each document and creating an abstract of the unstructured legacy data.
This onboarding effectively demonstrated to the RXR team Prophia’s ability to successfully organize and connect data across different assets—even different eras—and accurately capture every expansion, contraction, and change along the way. This was the accuracy the RXR team needed to support and streamline many of the firm’s day-to-day operations, empowering their team members to effectively work within their data no matter when or where it came from.
“...if you look at a building like 1285 that you all have abstracted for us, there are only 3 tenants in the building but each of them is between 300,000 and 800,000 SF. So they’re really large, and the documentation that goes along with those leases is extensive.”
— Alex Bedell, VP of Leasing at RXR
ABSTRACTING NEARLY 7,000 PAGES IN RXR'S PORTFOLIO
The results of the initial test and partnership instilled in RXR enough confidence to graduate Prophia to the pilot period which included onboarding some of the firm’s most difficult assets. These five assets contained 256 leases, some of them very complex. In addition to lease abstracting, there were other criteria the tech team assembled internally to measure Prophia’s value.
“... we had a pretty robust checklist, 96 questions that our tech team put together outlining elements of the control - security, infrastructure and on-going training and support. Once reviewed, we pursued a trial with one of our properties and found the product to be as advertised with minimal exceptions.”
— Joe DiSalvo, SVP, Corporate Controller at RXR
At this time, RXR formally brought in other key players from various teams in the organization to observe Prophia in action. In order to adopt new tech, it needed to provide value to every team member who worked with a critical component of the nearly 7,000 pages of documentation.
Joe DiSalvo, RXR’s Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller, remembers hearing from the leasing team about Prophia’s ease of use throughout the trial period and the speed with which the team was able to dig into the portfolio’s data and use those insights to speed up everyday tasks, “When I started getting positive feedback from Brett, one of our key users, I knew we had found something powerful.”
Within 30 days of implementation, the consensus was clear. Leasing, property management, finance, and brokerage teams all recognized Prophia’s capabilities and were eager to scale it to the rest of the commercial portfolio.
Today, RXR has transformed their portfolio data from siloed and disorganized to orderly and insightful, thanks to Prophia. Every leasing document within their office and retail portfolio is now integrated into the platform, situating critical data at the fingertips of leasing, finance, asset, and property management teams. It’s like a “Swiss Army Knife of functions,” RXR Leasing Analyst, Brett Meisel, remarked about the platform, “When someone from leasing asks me a question about options, instead of taking 10-15 minutes to find an answer, it takes seconds.”
For executives like Joe DiSavlo, watching team members spend more time on strategy than administrative tasks due to better data management ultimately convinced him of Prophia’s value, “Prophia quickly changed from a nice-to-have, to a must-have for RXR”.