From conception to global business in nine months: how cloud built one of the world’s largest real estate fund managers
Announced by two well-known and trusted global fund managers, TIAA-CREF and Henderson Global Investors, the launch of TIAA Henderson Real Estate (TH Real Estate) combined more than 90 years of global real estate knowledge and innovative real estate investment solutions. With an ambitious aim of becoming fully operational in just nine months, the new company wanted to achieve the status of being one of the world’s largest real estate funds, operating in 19 countries. In order to commence trading from April 1 2014, TH Real Estate needed a full business and technology suite built from scratch, including a global wide area network, private cloud facilities in Europe and Asia, virtual desktops and high quality unified communications tools across the world. Choosing a vendor that understood the timelines and was willing to partner in not only the delivery but also the vision was therefore essential. TH Real Estate selected Telstra, drawing on the telecommunications solutions provider’s global capabilities, resources and flexibility to quickly implement a new infrastructure from the ground up. Through provision of Managed Network, IaaS and Unified Communication services, Telstra helped TH Real Estate launch its business and lay the foundation for strategic growth and business success.
The establishment of a global entity from a standing start and with very tight deadlines presents a number of challenges, particularly when up against the traditionally long lead times which come with networks and equipment.
TH Real Estate also had a very specific technology strategy they wanted to incorporate for the new business in order to underpin business operations, cater for growth and provide a great user experience.
The areas of focus included:
- Effective operation across 19 countries with the ability to easily increase capacity, in Asia or Europe, according to business demand and grow easily into new global markets.
- Information security and regulatory compliance across various markets.
- Sustainability and a reduced environmental footprint through best of breed technology.
- Staff flexibility and productivity.
To realise its business objectives and achieve the desired growth, TH Real Estate underwent a series of phases to select its technology partner and solution, including competitive bidding, technical design, contracting and implementation.
Telstra adopted an ‘agile infrastructure’ approach to allow TH Real Estate to commence building key elements of the global network and hosting, which enabled the model to be built according to a design that was still forming.
TH Real Estate’s corporate core business applications and data are now housed within Telstra’s secure IaaS facilities, located in Asia and Europe. Other critical applications are hosted externally but are integrated into the core, allowing for flexibility to add or take away applications to support the business as well as support a distributed business recovery model which sets it apart.
This innovative solution overcame TH Real Estate’s key concerns, such as security, disaster recovery and compliance, while also minimising the internal resourcing required to manage these systems. The ability to easily increase capacity as the business grows has also been achieved.
Telstra’s Managed Network using MPLS provides connectivity to all of TH Real Estate’s worldwide offices, along with a Managed Cisco Unified Communication suite. The Cisco Telephony, Messaging and Telepresence Video Conferencing services provide staff with collaboration tools to enhance their productivity and reduce the need for business travel between countries, enabling TH Real Estate to reduce its environmental footprint.