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How Berkadia is modernizing commercial real estate through data

VP of Data Architecture Patrick Neborg shares the firm’s data-centric vision for the future of CRE.

Berkadia leaders presenting at the 2023 Developers Conference. (Photo by Torian Studios)

This article is sponsored by Berkadia and was reviewed before publication.

Today, competitive companies in nearly every industry have one thing in common: They use data to make informed business decisions. But Patrick Neborg, the VP of data architecture at commercial real estate (CRE) firm Berkadia, isn’t stopping there. He’s tapping into Berkadia’s wealth of data capabilities to help build proprietary technology that he believes will not only benefit the firm’s commercial clients, but change the industry at large.

One example is Neborg’s ongoing effort to create an industry standard for categorizing commercial properties, similar to the retail real estate industry’s multiple listing services (think Zillow or Trulia) — something that currently does not exist but could streamline the client experience across the entire industry.

“Berkadia has been developing a proprietary methodology to efficiently integrate multiple sources of complex data for several years,” Neborg said. “Our efforts to continuously iterate our data strategy has enabled us to simplify the user experiences for our clients and producers. We expect this success to translate externally through expanded adoption within the commercial real estate industry. It is this external adoption that will be the next challenge for us to overcome on this journey.”

Since its founding in 2009, Berkadia — a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group — has positioned itself as a tech-forward commercial real estate firm invested in building data-based tools and applications that offer actionable insights to help clients maximize returns on their investments. The firm helps clients finance, sell and service all types of commercial properties, including multifamily, retail, office, industrial, hotels, senior housing and student housing. It is the largest non-bank commercial mortgage servicer in the country, specializing in mortgage banking, investment sales and loan servicing.

On its mission to build and expand industry-changing technology, Berkadia has delivered a proprietary platform that enables clients to manage their commercial real estate transaction data from listing to closing. It also offers a customized suite of capabilities that provides clients with macro market trends, property-level data and the ability to quote for capital funding needs.

“I’m always working to identify where we can improve our footprint and how to intelligently break down the data in both its historical and present state.”Patrick Neborg Berkadia

“This intel originates from streams of data across multiple data domains that require diligent data governance to meet data quality, performance and market comprehensive goals,” Neborg said.

When Neborg began his software career in the mid-90s, his focus was on app development. Over the years, he realized the anchor of a successful app was accurate data. He thoughtfully redirected the trajectory of his career to center around data architecture. The culmination of his experiences and expertise have solidified Neborg’s passion for using data to transform the CRE industry.

“Apps can change, but the data must always be consistent,” he said. “It needs to be attended to in a clear and accurate form. I’m always working to identify where we can improve our footprint and how to intelligently break down the data in both its historical and present state.”

Neborg assures interested technologists they don’t have to come in with a comprehensive understanding of the data architecture practice.

“We often collaborate with application delivery teams and engineers by providing consulting, coaching, mentoring and training on Berkadia’s rich ecosystem of data capabilities,” he said.

Headshot photo of Patrick Neborg

Patrick Neborg. (Courtesy photo)

Named one of commercial real estate’s Best Places to Work in 2023 by GlobeSt., Berkadia has a reputation for fostering a positive, development-focused workplace. With over 2,750 team members across 70 locations throughout the US and India, including its Innovation center located in Philadelphia, Berkadia unites its global team through the principles of what it calls the “Berkadia Way”: Employees are valued for who they are, inclusive of their unique needs, challenges and goals.

For those unfamiliar with the commercial real estate business or looking for a new challenge in their tech career, Neborg promises a significant degree of creativity and freedom involved in forming commercial real estate deals. He and his team shape and analyze data to align with each client’s unique deals and requirements, meaning they must not only be creative in the assembly and analysis of data, but do it for multiple deals operating concurrently.

In addition to its proprietary tech solutions, Neborg and his team are also able to leverage new commercial technology to create industry-wide innovation, such as ChatGPT.

“We’re seeing tremendous demand to provide a conversational-style delivery solution via large learning models [LLM] like ChatGPT,” he said. “With our effort to assemble standardized CRE data, we are poised to apply LLM techniques across our data. This could look like our investment sales team tailoring a book or narrative to highlight specific needs of buyers and sellers, guided in-context suggestions for clients across all of Berkadia’s offerings or allow us to seamlessly respond to dynamic shifts in the CRE marketplace.”

In other words, if you are a data enthusiast with an interest in advanced technology, Berkadia is the place to be. Neborg’s team uses everything from artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, heterogeneous cloud services that handle big data volumes and diverse data repositories ranging from relational database management systems to event-driven NoSQL repositories to cloud-enabled repositories such as Salesforce.

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Companies: Berkadia

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