Tech Investment Jun10

Tech Investment

Millions of Canadians count on the social housing sector to provide them with accessible housing resources and services. Organizations like the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) and Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) work closely with local providers to advocate for and assist this underserved population, despite working within tight budgets. This sector’s resiliency has been the driver for great innovation over the last 12 months. In many cases this involved collaborating with technology providers to map out how the future of social housing can be simplified for staff, residents and suppliers. Deciding when and how to digitize social housing workflows depends on answers to question such as: is there an immediate factor that can be resolved to improve how your office functions? Are your applicants, residents and staff increasingly requesting new digital access to processes you’ve normally conducted in-person, on the phone or via mail? Can your team quickly access the data it needs to make informed decisions, while staying compliant? Once you make the decision to invest, benefits will follow. Benefit #1: Empower Staff through Streamlined Processes Technology built for social housing can reduce “touch points” that live within your day-to-day processes. Think of a touch point as a desk or computer screen that a file has to be delivered to in order for it to move one step closer to completion. The goal of reducing those touch points is not to lessen oversight, but rather to automate access to information so that those stops or “touch points” can be fewer and faster. The Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation  (Durham Housing), for example, recently self-evaluated their high-volume tasks to measure their efficiency. They wondered how they could reduce the number of times their team had to touch paperwork associated with those tasks,...

One Team, One Dream

When Yardi expanded to the Asia Pacific (APAC) market 15 years ago, it entered uncharted territory. Supporting a new team more than 11,000 miles away from the Santa Barbara headquarters required creativity, cultural savvy, a bold sense of exploration—and of course, technology. Since then, the Yardi Systems Pty Ltd. has established itself as a trusted leader in proptech. That trust has developed in part due to the marketing team which consists of three members serving from Sydney and Singapore. The team builds association relationships and develops the Yardi profile as trusted partners to and supporters of the real estate industry. This is done through content-rich materials such as white papers, articles, online events and APAC’s biggest initiative, the APAC-wide PropTech survey. The team is also responsible for translating Yardi’s global identity to the local markets. This includes marketing materials dedicated to the APAC region as well as sales and service materials. Big fish, growing pond Marketing manager Nina Feldman began her career with Yardi APAC five years ago. She was intrigued by working with a global organization that was relatively new to the region. “I get to work in the most awesome corporate environment that also functions like a startup – this gives me a whole heap of challenges but lots of fun, too,” says Feldman. Nina Feldman The APAC marketing team shifts through diverse workflows to accommodate the needs of the region’s sales and services teams. She finds it challenging to balance local agility with the unique demands of a global organization. It’s a challenge she tackles each day with the help of communication. “Communication, communication, communication. I’m a firm believer in one team, one dream. We’re all working for the same outcome. Whilst the ideal process never exists, I will always keep everyone in the loop so they feel informed and comfortable with whatever is happening or the timelines involved,” she says. Get in-depth insights on local best practices at the Mingtiandi Asia Logistics Real Estate Forum, sponsored by Yardi. Building cohesion while working thousands of miles apart Sasha Shatilova and Ian Khoo are marketing associates in the APAC team. Though both virtually joined Yardi during the pandemic, they felt welcomed and engaged from day one. Ian Khoo Sasha Shatilova “A highlight is definitely the first team lunch with Nina and Ian where each of us made a short PowerPoint presentation about ourselves. Very geeky, I know, but we have really bonded as a team through that activity,” says Shatilova. Khoo adds, “It has been a complete work-from-home environment which eliminates that warmth you get when you are in an office. Thankfully, my marketing team has been really warm and supportive and daily video calls with them has generated that sense of camaraderie that you’d get over office lunches.” Both associates were pleasantly surprised by corporate culture at Yardi. “There is an incredible support system here at Yardi,” says Shatilova. “Despite it being a very large company, the culture is surprisingly flat. You really feel that your ideas are being respected and your voice heard.” Khoo agrees. “I am able to feel a sense of community. Nobody shies away from extending a helping hand wherever possible, be it across the world in the U.K. or even locally in a separate department. There is a strong sense of collaboration within each project where everyone feels heard and feel like they are able to contribute their own ideas.” Interested in becoming a Yardi team member? Explore opportunities in your...

Informed Decisions, Better Results

The most successful companies are those that utilize data and analytics as a supporting tool to adapt to rapid market changes, but how can you simplify Big Data to improve daily decision making? How can online services help you stay connected while safely doing business miles apart? There are innovative solutions that offer a combination of tools that boost profitability, efficiency, communication and even security. Read on to discover four ways asset intelligence (AI) technology can help CRE operators understand how to navigate market shifts and emerge with a competitive edge. 1. Use data to enhance asset performance On average, more North American organizations have been using big data for benchmarking and prescriptive analytics over the past few years. In fact, according to KMPG’s 2020 CEO Outlook, 92% of Canadian CEOs fast-tracked their transformation to meet COVID-19 challenges, with 76% believing that investments in tech tools such as automation, artificial intelligence and cloud systems are critical to unlocking long-term growth. As a result of the tech adoption, the CRE industry is seeing AI enable teams to identify patterns and recognize trends by easily visualizing broader pools of data that influence KPIs, all within a customizable dashboard. With the assistance of automation and machine learning, the data becomes more refined over time facilitating more informed decisions on everything from marketing spend to concessions and leasing velocity. Having ongoing access to distilled real-time reporting encourages team collaboration, a data driven culture and empowers departments to stay on track of projects – it can even give individuals the latitude to go beyond their day-to-day responsibilities. During challenging times, this refined data also gives operators better insight into deals and key early wins that can reassure and even excite stakeholders. 2. Forge a clearer pathway to success with cloud-based data management Cloud-based asset management platforms offer key insights into portfolio health including revenues, debt, risk, occupancy and sales. Such data helps asset managers make more strategic decisions and set stakeholder expectations. Benefits also abound at the property level. Today’s asset management software seamlessly integrates with site-specific tools. Integrated, cloud-based technology supports facility and construction managers, leasing agents and property-level users. From online rent payments to digital procurement, users save time, decrease redundancies and improve accuracy within a single integrated system. With site staff connected to a single point of truth, they can efficiently make better day-to-day decisions. Structured dashboards enhance the value and practicality of data. “[Commercial clients] want a solution that’s designed for them and which connects them to the central data system with mobile applications and dashboards. That’s why we created a connected ecosystem for the operations side with Yardi Elevate,” explains Brian Sutherland, vice president, sales commercial at Yardi. He continues, “Expanding data access to the back office is tied to the larger issue of data management. The challenge is dissecting data and making it actionable for informed decisions. That’s the importance of role-based dashboards that remove guesswork for building operations people who need to control costs and work more efficiently.” Modern asset management technology platforms assimilate data at the property and portfolio levels and make it universally available. With a complete set of information, asset managers can evaluate pipelines, connect investors with appropriate deals and create an effective management plan. More strategic deal execution paves the way to increased revenues and overall success. 3. Gain greater efficiency and convenience throughout your organization with online services The cloud offers a unique opportunity to work with live data from anywhere with an internet connection. Executives can review reports, approve expenses and authorize payments when and where it’s convenient for them. Asset managers virtually present live reports to stakeholders with real-time data that is consistent throughout reporting systems. Whether in the office or a remote work environment, leaders across the organization achieve greater accuracy and efficiency with online services. At the property level, online portals make it easy to process rent payments,...

APAC Insights May06

APAC Insights

Australia and New Zealand were “underperformers” in Asia Pacific’s real estate market last year, with Sydney’s commercial transaction volumes down by 52%, Melbourne’s by 35% and Auckland’s remaining stagnant. But the countries’ overperformance in their handling of the pandemic could set them up for future success. Last week Yardi called in the experts to find out more. David Green-Morgan, Managing Director of Real Capital Analytics in Asia Pacific, Dr Sarah Hunter, BIS Oxford Economics’ Chief Economist for Australia and New Zealand, and Yardi’s Regional Director, Bernie Devine, joined us for the latest instalment in Yardi’s Executive Briefing Series for 2021. And their insights might surprise you. The pandemic hasn’t been a financial disaster While the world has witnessed the biggest economic downturn on record, the Australia and New Zealand experience was far from the “double digit” declines felt in some markets, Hunter said. This was thanks to “good luck and good policy”. Geographic isolation played its part, but both governments were also “aggressive leaders” in lockdown stringency, tracking, tracing, testing and other public health responses. Controlling the pandemic has allowed both countries “to normalise economic performance,” Hunter noted. Central banks have thrown the “kitchen sink” at the pandemic, with quantitative easing and a lower cash rate making it easier for people to borrow. Emergency support measures “have more than compensated” for loss of income from wage freezes, lower dividends or job cuts. On an “aggregate level” the pandemic “has not been a financial disaster,” Hunter observed. A “wave” of investment in infrastructure projects bodes well for the property industry, she added. Investment volumes took us back to 2016 Australia and New Zealand were “slight underperformers” in 2020, Green-Morgan said. Asia Pacific investment volumes, while down on the “record year” of 2019, were far from...

Market Insights Apr30

Market Insights

Last year was a tough one for commercial real estate in Singapore and Malaysia. But with record-breaking transaction volumes rounding out 2020 and Covid-19 vaccines rolling out at speed, there’s hope on the horizon. Yardi recently brought together some of the region’s brightest economic brains to unpack the data and unearth the trends. Here are their top five insights to help guide investment decisions in 2021 and beyond. Both markets are on the move Oxford Economics is predicting a GDP growth rebound of 7.1% in Singapore and 5.4% in Malaysia. Singapore is likely to return to pre-Covid levels in the second quarter and Malaysia in the fourth. But “growth recovery is dependent on health success” and is tied to each country’s efforts to contain Covid infections, warned Oxford Economics’ lead economist for Asia, Sian Fenner. The vaccine rollout is key to recovery, Fenner emphasised. In Singapore, just under 24% of the population has received its first dose. A 80% vaccination rate – and with it herd immunity – will be achieved in Singapore by the third quarter. While just 2-3% of Malaysians are currently vaccinated, 70% of the population will be fully vaccinated by the end of the year, Fenner said. Economic scars will take time to heal Rebound and recovery in both nations will be influenced by “economic scarring,” Fenner told Yardi’s engaged audience of property professionals. It will take time for businesses to repair their balance sheets and for the labour market to address skills mismatches, she explained. Singapore has followed a V-shaped recovery after an historic fall in GDP. “Singapore has almost recouped its loss in output and its GDP is now close to its pre-pandemic level,” Fenner’s colleague and Oxford Economics economist Sung-Eun Jung said. But this headline figure masks...

YASC Makes a Virtual Return

The Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference, which began as two annual events in the U.S. and expanded to encompass six events on four continents, will soon continue its two-decade tradition of helping clients maximize the value of their Yardi software. ”The reason I enjoy YASC is to see new product developments and to understand how other corporations are using the platform,” said Katerina Urquhart of London-based M&G Real Estate, who attended YASC Europe in 2019. “I was able to take classes on the newest products, ask questions on topics I didn’t fully understand and dig into things that interest me,” Marcie Trivette of Fore Property in Las Vegas said last year. “No matter how big or small, every client has a voice with Yardi, and these sessions are great ways to reinforce that,” an executive director with Laramar Communities LLC of Greenwood Village, Colo., noted back in 2010. Last year’s presentations were different, of course. All YASC events were combined into YASC Digital and YASC Global, virtual experiences with a full slate of free on-demand classes, social activities and gala entertainment. YASC Global in October drew more than 20,000 attendees and featured an exclusive performance from internationally acclaimed Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men. With every view triggering a donation from Yardi, the event earned $75,000 for charities. A two-time Grammy Award-winning performer is on tap for the May conference and Yardi again will make a donation for every attendee viewing the show. The next edition of YASC Global happens May 18-20, with 280-plus classes on the latest software innovations for property owners, asset managers, real estate investment managers and others working in commercial, residential, PHA, senior living and other real estate markets. Live chat support will also be available. YASC Global participants can also look forward to social media interaction, daily giveaways, networking opportunities and entertainment. All Yardi clients are automatically enrolled in the conference. “This is the era of continuous connection. But in the world of business, continuous connection hasn’t fully come to fruition. Our goal is to make that happen and provide the tools and technologies that you need,” company president and founder Anant Yardi told 2,500 Yardi clients and staff members who gathered in San Diego for YASC in 2019. Two years later, in vastly different circumstances, that remains the purpose of YASC. Learn more about the benefits Yardi’s global client base gains from this...

Hong Kong real estate Apr15

Hong Kong real estate

Is Hong Kong is poised for a real estate resurgence? Two years ago, Hong Kong was the world’s third largest real estate market, trailing only New York and London. The twin challenges of protests and a pandemic have taken their toll. So last week, Yardi called in the experts for their take on Hong Kong’s future. David Green-Morgan, managing director at Real Capital Analytics in Asia Pacific, Tommy Wu, lead economist for Oxford Economics in Asia, and Yardi regional director, Bernie Devine gathered for the first instalment of Yardi’s 2021 Executive Briefing Series. Here’s why they think Hong Kong real estate is ready to bounce back. The macro indicators are positive Political unrest had already damaged Hong Kong’s economy prior to Covid-19, and a 6% contraction followed in 2020, Wu told Yardi’s engaged audience. But Oxford Economics is forecasting a strong recovery, with 4% growth in 2021, and then 2.5% annually out to 2025. All the macro indicators bode well, Devine added, pointing to the vaccine rollout, slowly improving retail performance and unemployment rate, as well as the city’s strong financial governance framework, which remains a source of competitive advantage. Office’s bumpy ride is over Political protests had a greater impact on Hong Kong’s commercial office sector than the global pandemic, Wu highlighted. Office prices fell during the protests, but the market is “bottoming out” and demand is returning. Green-Morgan agreed, pointing to recent deals struck at the 73-storey skyscraper at 99 Queens Road, The Center, which were “more or less on par” with 2018 prices. “Quite a few multinationals have been shifting business functions to other key cities in Asia – like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur – but they are still keeping their offices in Hong Kong,” Wu added. Oxford Economics expects the financial sector “to continue to thrive” and the tech sector, while small, will be a powerful engine for growth. Hong Kong remains “the gateway in and out of China”. Residential remains resilient While Covid-19 hurt the labour market, and unemployment currently sits at 7%, this has not affected housing demand, Wu said. Why is this? Most participants in the housing market are in the financial and other high-paying sectors, and these weren’t hit hardest by Covid. “The real impact on Hong Kong was the protests. In fact, Covid has had hardly any impact on property prices, when you take a high-level view,” Devine observed. Will migration, especially from those who hold British National Overseas passports, affect the housing market? Wu pointed out that the bulk of these migrants are young and footloose, but not asset-rich and were unlikely to be in the market for housing. Meanwhile land supply will remain “tight – at least over the next few years,” Wu added. Risk and rewards in restructured retail Retail could take some time to recover, and Oxford Economics does not expect to see a repeat performance of the bounce back in 2003, following SARS. This marked a golden decade for retail and China’s emergence as a “major force” in tourism. “This won’t happen again,” Wu warned. More than 80% of inbound tourists hail from China, but the falling price of luxury goods in China has eroded Hong Kong’s appeal as a shopping destination. Tourism is now at a “crossroads,” Wu added. Recovery in tourist arrivals will lag other nearby cities, and this will lead to “structural change” in retail. While Hong Kong has some of the highest rents in the world, and while yields have been “incredibly low” in recent years, some investors are beginning to take a punt on the return of Chinese tourism. “This is the big unknown,” but prices are now low enough “that people are willing to take a bet,” Green-Morgan added. Hong Kong stays strong “The last two years have been a real challenge for Hong Kong, but overall investor sentiment towards the city is becoming more positive,” Green-Morgan said. Despite...

GREEN on the Go

GREEN Real Estate is in the process of building a best in class organization that supports the entrepreneurship, growth and development of the company. One of the pillars of such an organization is continuous insight in data availability of business information. In this context creating more seamless leasing processes was a goal for GREEN Real Estate, a real estate investor and developer with numerous projects in urban areas of the Netherlands. Being able to access current transaction activity, company communication and approval workflows from an electrical car outside the property? Well, that’s just a cool bonus. We recently caught up with Steven van Ginkel, Manager of Finance and Control for GREEN Real Estate, who says that use of mobile-friendly Yardi solutions for the company has been a game changer. The GREEN team works continuously to improve the combination of living, working, mobility and shopping in the Netherlands. They have used the Yardi platform since April 2015. Yardi was selected to improve data accuracy and transparency, simplify workflows, provide executive oversight and access to information from any online device. Earning and approving new deals Yardi Deal Manager, the most dynamic leasing solution on the market, enables asset managers and their internal and external brokers to reduce unit turnover, improve communication, work with prospects and provide managers and executives with all the real-time insight they need. It also makes it very easy to submit available lease options to potential new tenants. “Proposals to prospective tenants are literally one mouse click. This creates time to improve quality to the offer and communication between leads and the asset managers,” van Ginkel said. Changes are also faster when made within the system. We save between 30 to 60 minutes each time we make any contractual change when using Deal...

Improving real estate decisions Mar12

Improving real estate decisions

The human brain is capable of tremendous achievements. But what are its limitations in business transactions, specifically those involving property and real estate investment management? At what point do machine data-based systems make more accurate decisions than intuition? Human intuition certainly has its place. As Deloitte researchers Surabhi Kejriwal and Saurabh Mahajan have noted, “The [real estate investment and management] industry has long thrived on relationships, which is how many investors have traditionally gained access to unique information. Traditionally, most investors have combined this information with their gut instincts to make investment decisions.” But although intuition can be a useful tool, Harvard Business School Online writer Tim Stobierski cautions that “it would be a mistake to base all decisions around a mere gut feeling. While intuition can provide a hunch or spark that starts you down a particular path, it’s through data that you verify, understand, and quantify.” A team of McKinsey experts echoes this sentiment, noting that complex decision-making requires analysts to “sift through tens of millions of records or data points to discern clear patterns and place their bets with few supporting tools to help glean insights from that material.” By the time the data needed to determine a course of action is collected, compiled and processed, they note, “the best opportunities are gone.” There’s also the problem of “cognitive biases” that misguide decisions with information drawn from the wrong sources. Fortunately, Stobierski notes, “it’s never been easier for businesses of all sizes to collect, analyze, and interpret data into real, actionable insights” into portfolio health measurements such as revenues, debt, risk, occupancy and sales, along with property-level operations like energy consumption and accounts receivable. Ronald D. Marten, CCIM, writing in Forbes, adds that “CRE brokers who can tap into today’s sophisticated data tools can differentiate themselves and their core value proposition to clients. Knowing everything about a building by using flood maps, demographics reports, traffic counts, tenants and retailers … and more gives a potential buyer an accurate idea of what their ROI is going to be on day one.” What do machine learning algorithms in the real estate realm consist of? One example is combined macro and local forecasts that identify areas with the highest demand for residential housing. On another front, retail mall investors can combine operational data at the property level with sales data from mobile sensors, social media and physical store sales, then use machine learning algorithms to analyze consumer buying behavior. Similarly, commercial property tenants can compare rent rates across various markets to make more informed decisions and get into spaces faster. Data compiled from multiple disparate systems is complicated and prone to error. As a result, sophisticated software applications capable of collecting, processing and using data across the asset management lifecycle have been developed and brought to market. This technology, complemented by machine learning recommended actions, enable management of deals, budgeting, investor reporting and more in a single connected system. Developers seeking new parcels, for example, can use advanced analytics to assess the properties’ potential, property uses and even pricing, among other things. Asset managers can evaluate pipelines and match deals with investors, benchmark their properties’ rent against others in the area, tie capital calls to investment lifecycle data and generate reports. Property-level data collected within a centralized location enables everything from online tenant payments to reduced heating, cooling and ventilation costs and better oversight of construction projects. Kejriwal and Mahajan point out that “investors and managers can leverage analytics and AI across key steps in the investment life cycle, from deal sourcing to portfolio management to risk management. In addition, these technologies can help increase efficiency and effectiveness of operational processes, such as information integration, investment accounting, and reporting.” Real estate software technology holds massive potential to shift decisions from humans to machines. Assimilating all asset management information at the property and portfolio levels and makes it universally available can preempt...

Asia Tech Outlook

Real estate companies in Asia have ramped up investment in technology in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, finds a recent survey of major real estate firms by independent news source Mingtiandi. The research, which was conducted in collaboration with global real estate technology provider Yardi®, finds 70 percent of real estate companies are scaling up investment in property technology (proptech). The results of the survey, Tech Adoption in Asian Real Estate, builds on a similar report from Mingtiandi in 2017. “Our latest survey results unearth a major shift towards proptech adoption in our region,” says Bernie Devine, regional director of APAC sales for Yardi. “Change was underway well before 2020, but COVID-19 has heightened the urgency and amplified the risks of inaction.” Proptech, innovative technology that improves core processes and business models, is turning real estate on its head. Metaprop, one of the world’s largest early-stage proptech venture capital firms, predicts that proptech innovation will deliver $205 billion of new value to the global real estate industry over the next five years. “Real estate leaders are rolling out technology to support more frequent and accurate reporting, deeper data analysis, and technology that underpins safety and efficiency,” explains Devine. A total of 180 real estate specialists – more than a third with assets valued at over US$1 billion – took part in the survey in August 2020. Thirty-nine percent of respondents were from Hong Kong, 26 percent from Singapore and 12 percent from China. Among the key findings, 35 percent of companies said Asia was still trailing the West in terms of tech adoption, down from 56 percent in 2017. Thirty percent said the region was leading the way – up from 12 percent three years ago. “There’s a growing perception that Asia is closing...

Normalizing Mental Health Feb08

Normalizing Mental Health

Did you know that 38% of Canadians say their mental health has declined due to COVID-19? The data, reported by the Canadian Mental Health Association, highlights the importance of mental health resources. Bell Let’s Talk encourages conversation and awareness around mental health. Its campaigns, such as Bell Let’s Talk Day, aim to decrease the stigma around mental health while raising funds for supportive initiatives. Your voice and experiences are valuable to your community Bell Let’s Talk and similar initiatives are important for community wellness. They create safe spaces where individuals can give and receive support and share resources. By sharing our experiences and providing a compassionate listening ear, we can promote communities that are healthier inside and out. Safe spaces are incredibly important: 65% of the 3,000 survey participants reported adverse mental health impacts related to COVID-19 in May, yet only 2% reported accessing online mental health resources such as apps and websites not involving direct contact with a mental health care provider. Supportive spaces can be a catalyst to or supplement to speaking with a clinician. Online conversations do not replace the need for guidance from a health care professional. By initiating conversations on mental wellness, you can make a difference. In a recent survey conducted by Nielsen Consumer Insights, 83% of Canadians now say they are comfortable speaking with others about mental health, compared to only 42% in 2012. Stay involved with Bell Let’s Talk On January 28, Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donated five cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, call, social media post or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk. A donation was also made for every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Within 24 hours, Canadians and participants worldwide set new records for engagement with mental health conversations. Participants shared 159,173,435 messages and raised $7,958,671.75! Yardi employees were proud supporters of the event. Since its first fundraiser in 2010, Bell has raised over $121 million to support mental health organizations throughout Canada. Support for Yardi Canada employees Yardi was proud to join the 11th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day to promote social awareness and proactive measures regarding mental health. “It was an honour to support Bell Let’s Talk Day. At Yardi, we will continue to do our part to support mental health awareness and programming. Both are so very important, and we must keep these conversations going year round,” says Marla Mayes, human resources director, Yardi Canada. You can help keep the conversations going throughout the year. Below are five simple ways to help end stigma surrounding mental health as recommended by Dr. Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma research chair at Queen’s University: Language matters: notice the words that you use when you refer to your mental health and the mental health of others. Educate yourself: take time to learn the facts and myths regarding mental health. Be kind: let others know that you are there for them with simple acts of kindness. Listen and ask: listen to hear rather than to respond, and ask how you can help. Talk about it: mental illness touches many people personally or through family and friends. Recovery is possible, and it often begins by just talking about...

Smart Guide to Proptech Software

So, you’ve decided to invest in innovative property management software to navigate the challenges of remote work and our changing economy. One look around the proptech marketplace reveals that there are dozens of options available. Many seem to offer similar services. With so many options on the market, how do you know what’s right for you? Below are five key features to look for when choosing property management software. Seamless integration with the ancillary software There are plenty of property management solutions that are compatible with ancillary software. There are, however, a few problems with integration between different platforms: Primarily, there is no guarantee of long-term integration. When you’re dealing with two separate companies, there are opportunities for acquisitions and other changes that may affect long-term compatibility and availability of either product. Secondly, there are two software systems that need regular updates. That means more maintenance and headaches for your staff. When one system receives an update, you can only hope for the best with the other. If they’re not in sync, you may experience delays, lose functionality or accuracy. That’s wasted time for your staff and costly errors for you. Seamless integration occurs when both the property management software and ancillary products function on a single platform by a single provider. Such integration ensures optimal efficiency and accuracy in the long-term because there is less work to keep products and data in sync. Mobile-ready and browser agnostic A web-based property management solution is essential as remote work environments become more commonplace. Web-based and mobile-ready software allows you and your team to work without being tethered to the leasing office. When working from home, out in the field or travelling, you can securely access the information you need. Your office staff will be empowered to complete rent payments and procurement online –checks, money orders, debit and credit cards, and even cash—without prolonged processing times, fewer in-person meetings and zero trips to the bank. Additionally, browser agnostic software (easily accessible with any major web browser) increases user flexibility. You can get the job done on any operating system including Android, iOS and Windows and with any browser such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Automated tools that promote efficiency Both remote and in-office employees benefit from tools that help them focus on what’s important and bypass tedious tasks. Fortunately, today’s property management software offers impressive automation tools. In marketing, customizable automation tools deliver targeted messages to prospects, send follow-up correspondences, handle appointment and tour scheduling and even update your ILS. Once your prospect becomes a resident, systems can automatically transfer prospect data to a resident file without redundant data entry. Staff can automate workflows including leasing, move-ins and move-outs, work orders, purchase orders and check writing. Those features are just a sample of the automated services available through modern property management software and add-ons. Automation frees up time for staff members to focus on building relationships, closing sales and earning loyalty. Scalability Is the software prepared to grow with you? Property management software is a powerful, long-term investment. Consider a solution that will grow with you through pandemic recovery and beyond. Protect your investment by choosing a platform that is configurable to your current needs and scalable to your future. Innovative solutions make it easy to add and integrate marketing, customer relationship management, procurement, facilities management, energy management and business intelligence solutions as needed. Save time by skipping new core product evaluations and training as your organization and needs grow. Built-in enterprise management and accounting all in realtime When it comes to accounting and property data, few things matter more than safety, consistency, accuracy and transparency. Seek property management software with built-in accounting that meets all applicable accounting standards and regulatory requirements. With cloud services, accounting and property data can produce real-time reports with a single source of truth for more informed decision making. Get 8 questions to ask before choosing...

Navigating + Embracing Change

Two catalysts prompted drastic changes in the real estate industry in 2020: COVID-19 and remote work environments. During REALPAC 2020, Anant Yardi, president and founder of Yardi, was joined by Robert Courteau, CEO Altus Group for the session “Emerging and Relevant Proptech in a new COVID-19 World Future of the Canadian and Global Economy.” The leaders dove into the impacts of the pandemic and remote work to explore the latest trends, lessons learn, and projections for the future. Digital services, accelerated In the past eight months, proptech has entered a point of inflection. These occur when new technology enters and permanently alters an industry. Proptech leaders such as Yardi are exploring the applications of AI, big data and IoT in real estate. From building automation to chatbots, those three components pressed the industry forward through the pandemic and the transition to remote work. “Of the hundreds of tech companies that have been started in real estate, their success or demise will be accelerated by the pandemic,” said Mr. Yardi. “It’s a very exciting period to study these technologies and bring them to the market for the benefit of the industry.” The research and innovation needed to bring technologies to market are moving at a faster clip. Panel participants observed that the industry has changed from a push model to a pull model. Real estate owners now approach proptech innovators in search of tools and solutions. Owners are seeking and investing in technology rather than waiting to be convinced of its value. Trending tools are showing permanence Since the onset of the pandemic, owners are implementing technologies that convert transactions and communication to paperless and automated systems. Touchless, client-facing solutions have also experienced a surge in interest and implementation. In the US and soon in Canada, Yardi Chat IQ offers 24/7 chatbot services with natural language processing. Prospects can learn more about the property and receive details on available units. Once interested, prospects can schedule a self-guided tour via the automated system. Smart home tools permit self-guided tours with enhanced security features. Once a prospect schedules a tour online, they can arrive at the unit and complete a tour on their own: the system verifies their ID and receives driver’s license information. It can validate their identity using a “selfie” image. The system then issues a unique digital key that permits the prospect to enter. Sensors verify that the tour is complete and lock the door once the prospect has left the unit. Leasing agents have access to all tour data through their dashboards. They can see when the door was unlocked, by whom, and when the person exited. That data connects to CRM functions so leasing agents can follow-up after the tour. “These tech advances are so fascinating,” said Mr. Yardi. “The capacity to work with the industry, this very vibrant industry, is very promising.” Digital technology that was once viewed as a luxury is now seen as essential for safe and efficient properties, observed the panel. Mindful adoption of technology Not all tech tools are equal in value to real estate professionals. Discerning which tools to adopt and which to forego is a delicate balance. “Proptech is a vision and a spirit. The spirit of proptech is to understand new technologies and how best to apply them in real life problems. In that spirit, there are new opportunities that will surface,” said Mr. Yardi. “The vision of proptech is about how best to run real estate operations, taking into account tech transformations,” he continued. “My counsel to industrial practitioners is to keep an eye on proptech but everything they do has to be based on a clear value proposition and that has to be influenced by any of the following key elements: increase revenues, reduce cost, increase customer satisfaction and reduce risk.” He added, “These drivers don’t change. These driving principles are key in the world of business....

Simple, Streamlined Procurement

Efficient, automated procurement and single-point supplier management are within reach. Through Yardi Marketplace, HD Supply Canada offers tools of the trade for multifamily, hospitality and healthcare property managers. It is a collaboration that empowers clients to work with greater simplicity, efficiency and savings. For Munawar Quraishi, general manager for HD Supply Canada Inc., teaming up with Yardi was a merging of interests. Both organizations emphasize caring for employees, clients and the community. Quraishi says, “Improving our people’s lives is at the core of everything we do. We know that having engaged, successful people within our business will drive the success of the organization.” He continues, “We look at the right balance of people, profit and processes.” To enhance its processes, HD Supply Canada sought a collaborator with similar perspectives on innovative technology. Together, Yardi and HD Supply Canada aim to advance the future of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) buying and distribution. HD Supply, Canadian market leaders HD Supply Canada is the leading supplier of MRO products for multifamily living, hotels and long-term retirement care in the nation. Its pick, pack and distribute business model offers next day shipment. Product availability constantly grows: currently, HD Supply Canada offers 14,000 SKUs. Within the next several years, the goal is to get over 100,000. The process includes consulting subject matter experts on new products so that clients can rest assured they’re getting high quality and value. “Our sales team engages with vendors and peers to research and give our customers the best solution,” says Quraishi. Getting quality products into the hands of clients has involved process innovation at HD Supply Canada. The supplier was determined to implement digital solutions that streamline processes for its staff and its clients. HD Supply Canada + Yardi Marketplace add value for clients “Yardi Marketplace helps us act as solution providers for our customers, not just transaction executors. Having one platform for orders, payment and analytics will give our customers a previously unattained degree of visibility and help improve their productivity,” explains Quraishi. Previous transactions occurred via fax, email, phone and website. This approach resulted in unnecessary time delays and errors. “Yardi’s integration takes away the ambiguity of purchase order development before it gets to us, whether that’s a price change, error or issue with the print catalogues,” says Quraishi. An online marketplace also allows property technicians to maximize their time by using a mobile-ready service to place orders while they’re in the field. Clients note that site-level productivity has improved once operating on Marketplace. Additionally, HD Supply Canada conducts enterprise resource planning (ERP) through Marketplace. This allows the customer to make better decisions around budget and pricing. “This technology was a big play for us: it allowed property owners to understand how they’re spending dollars, especially in a time like today with COVID-19 where budgets and working capital become more important,” Quraishi says. “Such budget and capital insights allow clients better visibility than they had in the past.” Pouring (not trickling) the savings to clients Improved efficiencies within HD Supply Canada have a resounding impact on clients. HD Supply Canada reports that Yardi Marketplace has facilitated fewer price discrepancies, fewer errors with purchase orders and better visibility into approvals and budgeting. The organization now picks, packs and ships without completing the approval process via disparate systems and methods. The streamlined approach expedites business at multiple levels. The future of technology in MRO buying + distribution  Quraishi and his team collaborate with technology companies like Yardi to usher the distribution industry into the future. “We believe technology is the solution to help us grow and we will grow with it,” says Quraishi. “Our investment in technology allows us to enhance the customer experience. We believe our system will pull information quickly and provide superior data to our clients. Those resources will help customers understand what they are buying, standardize those purchases and realize cost savings in the...

BoKlok Oct29

BoKlok

In the States, we’ve imported several great things from Sweden. Flat-pack furniture makes our rentals feel like home, and True Blood wouldn’t be the same without Alexander Skarsgård. But if you haven’t considered how Swedish imports could improve the quality and availability of subsidized housing, now is the time. The value of inexpensive housing Per a recent survey of 200 metros around the world, 90% of cities are considered “unaffordable.” Average housing prices are more than three-times median incomes in most neighborhoods. In the U.S. alone, The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies reveals that 38.9 million households are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on housing. For low income households, affordable rentals are hard to obtain. In the U.S., there are roughly 36 available affordable units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports a shortage of 7 million affordable rentals. The National Multifamily Housing Council and National Apartment Association (NAA) express a need for a more conservative 4.6 million new units by 2030. As city planners seek development and housing strategies that offer efficiency, quality and returns, they may find inspiration in Sweden. The BoKlok method could bridge the gap between what cities need, what cities can afford and what low-income renters can pay. Affordable housing, Ikea style BoKlok, a joint venture of Ikea and Swedish construction company Skanska, has successfully completed 11,000 homes throughout Sweden, Finland and Norway. The portfolio includes a senior housing collaboration with Queen Silvia of Sweden. BoKlok brings the IKEA model to senior and affordable housing. The company keeps prices low by focusing on high volume and complete supply chain management: it controls land acquisition, product development and manufacturing. Large volumes and ample repetition facilitate fast turnarounds and low production costs. The venture also controls...

Digital Services Oct07

Digital Services

Residential property investors speeding up digitalisation due to the corona pandemic is a positive development, says Terrence Wong, Yardi regional manager for Europe. However, the main reason for going online is that very soon, potential tenants will expect and demand digital services. ‘The result is happy tenants, more efficient business processes and greater profitability.’ Wong was one of those taking part in the Yardi roundtable on the use and the necessity of the further digitalisation of clients’ journeys. In the Netherlands, the leasing cycle is frequently still very laborious, says Wong. ‘Tenants don’t meet their property managers until the leasing cycle starts. Property managers are often hard to get hold of. The perception of a potential client who spends 20 minutes in the queue, is not put through and has to call back a few days later is obviously far from positive. The new tenant subsequently has to print out lots of documents to be signed, then has to pass by to view the property, and then again to sign the contract. And all this exclusively during office hours.’ Moving faster Digitalising the whole leasing cycle, both for the tenant and our own organisation, cuts out a lot of the red tape. ‘See it as a service to the tenant. Tenants want to do it all themselves through a smart app, without being tied to office hours or the property manager’s agenda. And property managers, too, want to move fast. Having tenants submit all their details digitally and allowing them to take care of many of their affairs themselves requires fewer internal employees. Furthermore, complaints can be processed and dealt with quickly, with ongoing automatic updates. This leads to happy, well-informed tenants and an efficient internal completion procedure.’ High tech and high touch According...

Outstanding service Sep11

Outstanding service

These days it might be easy, perhaps even understandable, for those in commercial real estate to downplay the relationship of tenant interaction to asset performance. After all, the COVID-19 pandemic has largely evicted workers from their offices while retail continues to endure e-commerce’s expanding presence. But property owners shouldn’t lose sight of how important ongoing communication between owners and their tenants is for attracting prospects, retaining tenants and operating efficiently. Erin Wicomb of San Diego real estate investor Mavrik Investing has noted that “customer retention is often an underestimated factor in real estate success and not given nearly enough attention. Plenty of effort is spent finding and marketing to new tenants, but investors and landlords often neglect to take care of existing customers and make them happy.” Focusing on the residential market, the U.S. National Multifamily Housing Council noted in a 2018 report titled Disruption: How Demographics, Psychographics and Technology Are Bringing Multifamily to the Brink of a Design Revolution that “tomorrow’s renters’ needs and wants are shaping up to be so very different in any number of ways that the industry must begin thinking about how to adapt or risk facing a disconnect with their future customers.” In a similar vein, a commercial property leasing guide published by Colliers International declared that “the number one reason that an owner’s relationship with his or tenant falls apart is lack of communication – and this is often the responsibility of the property manager,” adding, “You can have the best customer service on the planet, but when property management breaks down through lack of foresight or poor communication, that one action can strike a fatal blow against all the goodwill you had built up.” Residential tech demonstrates success How do residential property owners avoid that fatal blow and take care of their residents, maintain communication and build goodwill? Many have embraced portals as the answer. They are a valuable tool for connecting residential community members to the services they might need any time of day or night. Seamless access to contact, lead, lease, resident and property data lets staff focus their attention on higher-value operations. Advanced property management technology platforms host portals as part of an end-to-end system that performs all prospect and resident services in the rental lifecycle, from initial contact to move-in, lease renewal and move-out, as well as timely communication. New advantages for commercial real estate Commercial real estate operators might want to consider emulating their residential counterparts by implementing portals and apps that deliver tenant services much more efficiently than is possible with telephones and emails. Property managers, for example, can easily dispatch announcements, emergency plans and other vital information through a portal. Tenants, for their part, can record maintenance requests and attach audio and photo documentation. Although millennials seeking cutting-edge amenities in their living spaces are the most visible advocates of property technology innovations, commercial real estate is undergoing its own generational shift. The younger workers among the sector’s cohort similarly expect the convenience of online and mobile self-services such as document access, electronic payments, maintenance requests, retail sales data entry and concierge services. Ideally, portals are built into a property management and accounting platform that centralizes financials, operations, leasing, maintenance management and other operations in a cloud-hosted database. Relieved of manual tasks such as the recording of tasks, property owners can concentrate on closing leases, maximizing rental income, increasing conversions and renewals, and ultimately enhancing their assets’ value. Some property management platforms leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and chatbots to combine historical unit-level performance data with market outlooks. The resulting portfolio-wide data and prescriptive recommendations help managers make informed decisions that cut costs and elevate asset performance. Portal technology offers a human touch that contributes measurably to tenant satisfaction, a key element of retention and a property’s reputation in the marketplace. As Mavrik Investing’s Wicomb advises, “From the start, develop and provide channels of open...

Fostering Leadership

Like many engineering students, Neharika Jha wasn’t completely sure about her concentration. At the time, she chose computer science engineering. “Not paying too much attention to computer courses taught in school didn’t help initially,” she laughs. But with time, Neharika realized how computer science solved a variety of real-life consumer and business problems. “I realized the positive impact I could have with my learned skills,” she says. “A smartphone today is a million times faster and more efficient than the computers used for the Apollo 11 mission, enabling our first step onto the surface of the moon. This thought of connecting present with past and wondering where it would take us in the future keeps me very excited about the path ahead.” Her knowledge of the computer sciences helped her land a job, but her leadership skills have helped her forge a career and create a legacy at Yardi. Helping clients prepare for the future Neharika joined Yardi immediately after receiving her degree from Pune University. It was 2008, the peak of the financial crisis, and she considered herself fortunate to secure employment. A software company that hired during a recession bode well for her and the organization. “I believed that the company must have very sound fundamentals to be recruiting in those times,” she recalls. “And 11 years later, I can’t thank Yardi enough for the opportunity to join this wonderful organization and be a part of its growth both as a contributor and a beneficiary.” Neharika is currently a manager for an International Practice Global Solutions team. The unit builds, manages and strengthens Yardi’s relationship with some of its biggest clients including Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE and Prologis to name a few. “As a team, we promote the continuity of the clients’...

Dementia Care Reimagined Sep02

Dementia Care Reimagined...

Two unlikely forces are improving dementia care in Sweden. A member of the royal family is collaborating with a ready-to-assemble home supply store. Together, they’ve reimagined senior housing development in a way that is affordable, sustainable and chic. The collaboration couldn’t have come at a better time. By 2040, nearly one in four Swedes will be 65 years or older. While long life expectancy is a good problem to have, the government desperately seeks affordable ways to fund care for its aging population. Queen Silvia has taken a personal interest in the nation’s senior care. After losing her mother to Alzheimer’s, she became more involved in dementia care initiatives. BoKlok, an affordable and sustainable housing partnership between Ikea and Skanska, captured her attention. The three powers began a multi-decade endeavor to develop an affordable approach to housing the nation’s elderly while keeping quality and sustainability at the forefront of their efforts. SilviaBo: affordable, sustainable housing Together, BoKlok and Queen Silvia created SilviaBo, senior housing developments that rose to the demands of affordability, quality and comfort. They are designed to allow seniors to age in place rather than nursing homes. “To take care of elderly people, that cost is exploding,” BoKlok CEO Jonas Spangenberg told CNN Business. “It’s much cheaper for society and the public to give them service back home.” To date, SilviaBo includes 11,000 prefab homes with communities in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Their success has relied on the Ikea model for mass production. To keep costs low, the homes are produced in high volumes in warehouses, succinctly packed and then shipped to the site. Ikea and Skanska also took responsibility for the supply chain from start to finish: land acquisition, production, assembly, marketing and leasing all take place under the BoKlok umbrella....

Yardi Opens Paris Office Sep01

Yardi Opens Paris Office...

Developing investment and property management software since 1984, Yardi, world leader in the real estate technology sector, has entered the French market with the opening of a Paris office. Richard Gerritsen, regional director for Europe, explains what the company intends to bring to the French real estate sector in this interview, which was first published in Business Immo Europe. Business Immo: What is Yardi proposing to the French real estate sector? Richard Gerritsen: We don’t consider ourselves a software company anymore, but a technology partner that provides solutions and services to support the activities of investment and asset managers. We provide the dashboards, the reports and the data that our clients need to make their decisions, which means we provide more than just software. Where we traditionally focused on the back-office activities, we are now completely focused on providing insight on the performance and the health of the portfolio, whether it is more on the day-to-day asset management functions such as lease or vacancy levels, or at a higher strategic level, on the performance of the assets. BI: Yardi has opened an office in Paris. What is your plan for France? RG: Our clients have properties in 29 countries across Europe, where we have seen an increased interest in high-quality modern technology helping asset managers. Over the last two years, we have spent a lot of time in France, which is now the fastest-growing country on the continent for the adoption of Yardi technology. Because we have high expectations for the continued growth of Yardi in France, we feel the time is right to open an office in Paris. BI: How does Yardi differentiate itself from its competitors in France? RG: Traditionally, the French real estate market has been served with software firms that...