Over the last 15 years, Digital Realty built the largest global platform of multi-tenant data center capacity while operating the world’s second largest carrier neutral interconnection platform.
Serving more than 4,000 of the largest and most innovative companies globally, Digital Realty continues to help customers solve complex infrastructure, connectivity, and workload use cases across network peering, hyperscale, low-latency, HPC/big data, and artificial intelligence.
Digital Realty recently was recognized as a leader for data center, colocation, and interconnection services for the second consecutive year in IDC MarketScape.
The recognition underscores the evolution of its global platform, PlatformDIGITAL, over the past 18 months, as the company has emerged as a contender for global enterprise cloud infrastructure deployments with a focus on providing superior, diverse, and flexible solutions.
The San Francisco-based company’s relentless growth in the cloud mirrors what’s happening on the ground. Digital Realty is not just one of the largest data center, colocation, and peering service providers in the world. It’s also the sixth largest publicly traded U.S. real estate investment trust (REIT).
“Digital Realty has grown steadily over the past five years, both organically and via acquisitions, and now offers the industry’s most diverse footprint with over 290 facilities and 47 metros across six continents,” said Courtney Monroe, research vice president, worldwide telecommunications research, IDC.
The entire construction supply chain, from the powerhouse Digital Realty construction group to general contractors and their subcontractors, work together to build the vision.
One tool that ensures excellence in construction is Oracle Textura Payment Management, a secure cloud-based platform that streamlines and automates construction finance processes for accurate billing, prompt payment, and effective compliance management.
To maintain pace with the torrid expansion, Digital Realty manages multiple projects around the world where their trusted general contractors locally work with dozens of subcontractors. They’ve recently completed projects in the European market using Oracle Textura to manage pay applications and approvals.
Cathy Morrison, construction accounting manager at Digital Realty, says her team had to manually track the process, whereas now the Oracle solution handles it automatically, integrating to their accounting software.
“Oracle Textura provides me with peace of mind when it comes to getting everyone paid accurately and on time,” she says. “It’s been a bonus for the European market as well.”
Managing this process manually with spreadsheets and email is simply not an option. The risks to completing projects on time and profitably, meeting compliance and audit requirements, and satisfying local rules and regulations, are too big. Digital Realty knows it’s their name on the building and is fiercely protective of their stellar reputation.
Subcontractors expect payment reliability, which builds trust and enhances the general contractor’s and project owner’s reputation. They've become accustomed to Digital Realty paying out quickly through Oracle Textura.
With so many projects globally and so many people involved in the payment process, having a single global platform that everyone uses and trusts is imperative, whether that’s a subcontractor running a pay application from their truck, the general contractor or project manager at the jobsite, or Digital Realty construction accounting or their auditor thousands of miles away.
Ron Frazier is a senior manager with the accounting firm CohnReznick and has maintained Digital Realty’s construction advisory services for the past eight years. Before Digital Realty implemented the Oracle solution, Frazier faced a litany of challenges because of all the paperwork.
“Our mailroom would have a dolly cart filled with boxes of documents. My team and I would take that cart to a conference room every month and pile through them.”
Scaling the monthly mountain of paperwork has morphed into an exercise in efficiency since introducing the Oracle construction payment management software.
“Oracle Textura has helped immensely with speed and accuracy,” Frazier says.
“It's a centralized, common system of record for everybody involved in a project. That's powerful. As we're trying to problem solve, everyone's looking at the same system of record as far as documentation, numbers, approvals, and support for contract changes. Everything is in the same system and that speeds things up immeasurably.”
Next, managing accelerating growth requires standardized processes for efficiency and productivity gains. Every general contractor and subcontractor uses standard documents with the exact information on pay apps that Digital Realty requires.
The subs simply fill in the information and the solution chooses the right forms, rendering them automatically ready for electronic signature. No human error from picking the wrong form or document.
General contractors also use a standardized schedule of values to set up the projects. The upshot of all this upfront work is a massive acceleration in payment to the general contractor, who in turn can promptly pay their subs.
How massive? Average time to pay the general contractor has been slashed from 65 percent to 75 percent and variability in payment time is virtually eliminated.
Minimizing labor-intensive processes and maximizing automated solutions is a boon to a company’s productivity, and the Oracle tool is unsurpassed when it comes to building efficiencies into the workflow.
With a centralized database of the forms to create a complete and fully signed pay application, Andrea Barney, senior construction accountant for Digital Realty, says Oracle Textura helps her do her job faster.
“The signature workflow makes it seamless to know when an invoice is ready to be reviewed and to track what signatures are pending,” she says. “This makes for quicker approvals and faster payments. Gone is all the manual entry into spreadsheets.”
Another benefit that’s hard to quantify but impossible to ignore is that relationships with general contractors have never been stronger. A lot of trust builds when they’re paid like clockwork.
Construction giant HITT Contracting has worked on numerous Digital Realty projects globally, including a retrofit of the iconic Toronto Star newspaper’s 750,000-square-foot pressroom into a modernized data center. A consistent workflow on such massive jobs is crucial to general contractors tracking the invoice approval process in real time and projecting pay dates, which keeps precious cash flowing for them and their subcontractors.
“Oracle Textura is one of the few, if not only, solutions that I have dealt with as a general contractor that streamlines the sub and owner billing process,” says Mark Rainey, HITT senior project manager.
“Typically, we have to take an AIA and input it manually into our accounting software’s schedule of values. Oracle Textura takes the guesswork and mistakes out of that process.”
Finally, going beyond the solution itself is the relationship between Digital Realty and Oracle, and how Oracle can support Digital Realty’s IT strategy, data strategy, and business strategy as the company continues its North American and global expansion.
“We have embarked on a period of rapid growth over the last five years to now become the largest global provider of data center solutions enabling our customers as they scale digital business,” said Erich Sanchack, executive vice president, operations at Digital Realty.
“Streamlining our relationships with our construction partners is critical to our joint success as we grow both organically and through acquisition into new markets. Supporting our strategic global expansions requires all our moving parts, vendors, and systems to be synced in support of our needs. Working with Oracle Textura has empowered the team with clear, easy approval flows.”
Senior Content Marketing Manager Rick Bell contributed to this story.
Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data; empower better decision-making; and synchronize activities across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.
Lucie is an experienced technology marketing professional with a current focus on payment and cost-related products in Oracle's construction and engineering global business unit. At Oracle, her work in product marketing is centered on customer engagement and creating the right content to support our customers.
She has over 20 years experience in engineering, product management, marketing, project management, and sales. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and can be found most nights at the dance studio, prepping for her next ballroom competition.