Tricon American Homes

Tricon American Homes (TAH) is the fourth largest publicly-owned single family rental company in the U.S. Founded in 2012, the company has a portfolio of over 16,800 homes in 18 metropolitan areas and nine states. Tricon has gained its competitive advantage by offering highly responsive, personalized service and translating it into profitable long-term customer relationships.

Over the last several years, the company has focused on simplifying and streamlining its business model by capturing property-level efficiencies and enhancing its operating scale in vertical markets. This includes building robust IT platforms resilient enough to support its continued growth. Tricon has partnered with Five Talent since 2016 to support this strategic objective, implementing best practices for its cloud solutions and software development.

Most recently, the company asked the Five Talent team to address the scalability, reliability, and maintainability of its Home Rental Application (HRA) process after a transformative acquisition in early 2017 doubled its rental home portfolio size.

Calibrating company innovation with responsive, fast to market solutions

Tricon’s sudden portfolio expansion accelerated their need to calibrate company innovation with development processes that took into account the need to deliver superior customer service through fast to market solution deployment. Through focused collaboration and streamlined processes, Five Talent documented requirements, developed code, performed automated tests and deployed quickly on a cadence that aligned with Tricon’s innovative product cycles.

Given intensifying customer demand and its growth, Tricon needed a cost-effective, responsive HRA solution with a fast time to market strategy. Its highest priority was ensuring rental customers could submit rental applications for properties securely, easily and reliably, with a user experience that would prevent user attrition. In addition, the new system had to support quick turnaround times on feature rollouts and bug fixes.

Accelerating development to adapt to customer demand

When Tricon initially engaged Five Talent, the company was clear it needed solutions architects who could integrate their business requirements with the DevOps expertise and experience to leverage evolving Amazon Web Services (AWS) solutions. Having a proven team working on the project was paramount to developing a reliable solution quickly.

Tricon’s primary goals for the project included the aggregation of multiple data sets into one operational application from which their employees could work with customers. This included a dashboard of property metrics for quick visibility into property status with search capability to manage property specific information gathered from multiple data sources. In addition, the company needed a single source of truth for all property information used for operations. Above all, Tricon wanted a property data management platform architected for a highly secure, reliable and functionality iterative code base.

Implementing the DevOps practices below has significantly improved Tricon’s business outcomes:

Continuous Integration – Continous Deployment (CI/CD)

  • Created a CI/CD stack to facilitate independent deployments and logical separation from the preexisting internal client application, resulting in faster time to market deployments, more reliable releases and a secure environment.
  • Created a CI/CD pipeline using CodeCommit, CodeBuild, and CodePipeline that aligned new iterative feature requests from ideation to deployment in real two-week sprint cycles that previously took months
  • With many ongoing applications and services under development, our team configured and now manages all repositories hosted on CodeCommit as the base for our custom development (we also manage access to these repositories using IAM users and SSH credentials)

Performance & Functionality at the Edge

  • Designed front end to be hosted on S3 with CloudFront as our CDN, reducing AWS costs and increasing scalability
  • Built a lightweight, static website within S3 backed by Tricon’s internal management application for a performant dashboard, caching files in CloudFront
  • Leveraged some of CloudFront’s advanced behavior settings such as the Protocol Policy to force users from HTTP to HTTPS, enabling object compression and reducing the data transfer amount
  • Deployed Stripe for application payments and Core Logic for applicant background screening to streamline application payments from potential home renters
  • For security, set up an Origin Access Identity with access to the content hosted in S3

Monitoring & Logging

  • Integrated all aspects of the custom applications with CloudWatch to improve monitoring and troubleshooting
  • Managed user identities through Cognito, leveraging unique identifiers in combination with email addresses to create Applicants within the system (and tracked them within Tricon’s internal application)

Applying fundamental DevOps principles and best practices, Five Talent delivered a reliable, easy to use customer application that has delivered on Tricon’s primary goal of leveraging one operational application from which their employees can work and grow with customers.

In addition, the extra development time it took Five Talent to create a static website and configure CloudFront distribution was simple and well worth the effort in terms of cost savings and performance. Since the time of deployment, users have created over 20,000 accounts. The platform has been so successful that Tricon is currently scoping out additional functionality.

Last, incorporating secure and manageable CI/CD processes has improved Tricon’s ability to respond to its marketplace and increased its bottom line profitability.