In our latest Members Spotlight Interview, we spoke with Vice President, International at Yardi, Neal Gemassmer. Yardi is dedicated to the design, development, and support of real estate investment management and property management software, offering full business solutions for every real estate market.
Neal discusses how technology has evolved at Yardi as they move towards their fourth decade, exciting insights into their latest innovations and their energy-related initiatives, and predictions on where the industry is headed in 2-5 years…
Q: Yardi started out as a small software start-up. Now, moving towards Yardi’s fourth decade, how have you seen technology evolve?
A: A lot has changed since 1984. Since then, Yardi’s technology roadmap has delivered consistent innovation as we remain focussed on meeting the evolving needs of the real estate industry, and helping our clients serve customers and improve business outcomes.
As one of the earliest property management software start-ups, Yardi was founded on core property management and accounting. Since then, we have greatly expanded our range of products and services.
Being one of the first real estate technology companies to transition to the cloud, our SaaS model has proven to be hugely successful. With a focus on mobility, connectivity and efficiency for users, we now provide a unique role-based ecosystem of solutions and interfaces for key positions in real estate management. Whether you’re an asset manager, investment manager, property manager or marketer, Yardi offers a range of solutions that are intentionally designed to connect teams across the entire real estate lifecycle, while leveraging a single source of data.
Yardi now employs over 7,000 people worldwide and are active in over 80 countries, serving clients that invest in and operate a wide variety of real estate asset classes, from fund and asset management, commercial including office, industrial and retail, coworking and flexible workspace to residential including build to rent, PRS and student.
Q: Can you share any insights into the latest innovations at Yardi? What are you most excited about in the product pipeline?
A: We have creatively consolidated Yardi’s technology solutions into four main principles:
– Fully connected real estate management & accounting: core property management and accounting solutions including Yardi Procure to Pay for paperless invoicing;
– eCommerce: the Café products which are designed to give external users like prospects or vendors a great experience;
– Operational performance: technology that improves business operations such as actionable data insights; and
– Building operations: technology that integrates with IoT and building infrastructure.
Clients adopt the best configuration of Yardi solutions to establish a technology ecosystem that drives satisfaction, revenue and operational and business efficiencies.
It’s pivotal that we enable flexibility in the workplace for clients, whether they’re on-site or working remotely. We continue to invest in mobile app technology to ensure users of our tech have easy, role-based access to their data when they’re on the go. We also offer customer facing apps and portals, and continue to develop them, for example, our resident app can now be white labelled, so our app becomes your app.
One key area of focus recently has been the roll out of our new asset management solution, Yardi Elevate. Yardi Elevate helps teams improve asset performance by lowering costs, balancing risk, and increasing revenue via in-depth operational data and predictive insights with recommended actions. Elevate leverages portfolio data and AI to advance operational performance and has been designed to drive strategic decision making in asset management.
We’ve also recently moved into the coworking and flexible workspace market. Following two acquisitions and the adaptation of the acquired company’s technology, we can now offer comprehensive flexspace management solutions. These new Yardi products are Yardi Kube, a software platform for operators to manage space, members and daily tasks, and Yardi Medusa, resilient Wi-Fi, data and voice solutions technology that delivers member satisfaction and security in connected buildings.
Another exciting innovation we’ve brought to the UK residential market is RENTCafé CRM Flex. The key is in the name – it’s a flexible solution that gives our residential clients the opportunity to switch between different types of residential leases within one platform. Our residential suite is a versatile system for managing any residential property portfolio, from marketing, resident engagement, payments, lease management and maintenance all in one fully connected platform. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our residential technology has been indispensable so that clients can adhere to social distancing measures. Self-guided tours and app notifications are two great examples of this. We have seen resident app usage double in these challenging times.
We’re excited to launch a simpler property management product in the UK soon. This technology will bridge the gap for those smaller property management firms in the UK. The product, Yardi Breeze, has been hugely successful in the States and has seen clients adopt it without any implementation time – it’s so easy to use, that companies can implement straight out of the box!
Q: How does Yardi differ from competitors?
A: What sets us apart in the market is the provision of truly connected and integrated technology, all developed in-house and accessible in real-time from one cloud-based platform.
It’s important to us to communicate with our clients the benefits of using a fully connected system, exceptional data security and a low total cost of ownership. This being said, we do also appreciate that some clients would like the option to continue to use other technologies, which we are happy to help facilitate.
We also provide a comprehensive training platform for our clients, Yardi Aspire, formerly Yardi eLearning. The Aspire platform promotes auditable knowledge sharing, training and personal development within our clients’ teams.
Q: Yardi was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year, can you share more insights into Yardi’s energy-related initiatives?
A: The ENERGY STAR award celebrates companies demonstrating superior leadership, innovation and commitment to environmental protection through energy efficiency. The award is specific to the U.S. market and was awarded to Yardi as a result of Yardi’s energy management suite Yardi Pulse.
Yardi Pulse is a platform that helps our clients manage their utilities and to stay energy efficient. Utility expense management (UEM) and real time metering (RTM) lets building managers drive efficiencies based on the occupancy of the building.
Clients can consolidate energy bills and compare usage trends to learn how energy efficient their portfolio is. Energy Intelligence and energy automation are the two main areas of focus within Yardi Pulse.
Q: Lastly, where do you see the industry headed in the next 2-5 years?
A: We see the demand for supporting IOT technology as a growing priority. Interestingly, Yardi moved to the cloud around 20 years ago, and we have since promoted SaaS and cloud-based technology focused on client needs. But if you look at the implications of IoT and the need for tangible technology, we’re now taking our products back to on-site tech.
The need to integrate with on-premise technology will ensure clients can live in a connected world, whether that’s energy consumption, smart home technology such as Alexa integration (something we now do in the States), keyless door entry etc. In the US, we integrate all of this smart home technology in Yardi’s residential app – something we look forward to bringing to the UK. The more data we collect from these data points, the more intelligent systems will become through machine learning.
Throughout the challenging times that COVID-19 has presented, it’s evident to us that technology is no longer a nice to have, it’s a necessity. We’ve seen the industry forced into an unprecedented situation where the need to embrace technology has become instant and the only way to survive in a competitive world. Offering a great digital experience to stay connected with your prospects, tenants and teams has become just as important as the face-to-face experiences we all know and love and will be the key facilitator in our ‘new normal’ lives.
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