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Reset across the board? The digital property sector

Apps are just the beginning. It's connectivity – and an always-online infrastructure – that will lead to profound transformation in the property sector.

An unstoppable transformation

Revolution or evolution? Opinions differ. One thing is absolutely clear: digitalisation is not only fundamentally changing value creation chains, organisational structures and operational processes, but also business models, companies and sectors. It's displacing long-standing service portfolios. It is altering our behaviour and needs, confronting our company cultures with new challenges and increasingly determining our day-to-day professional and private lives.

The question is not whether, but rather when, disruptive processes will develop in individual sectors. In many sectors, these change processes have already taken place or are underway now. In others they are yet to come.

Digitalisation is without a doubt a tremendous challenge. Companies must take a critical look at themselves, and be prepared to unsentimentally exit business divisions and segments which once were successful. For companies with a fast, innovative and customer-oriented structure, it offers a wealth of growth potential and new avenues to explore. Programming apps does not even begin to scratch the surface of these opportunities, as is evident in sectors that are highly digitalised. It's connectivity – and an always-online infrastructure – that will lead to profound transformation in the property sector in the years to come.

Numerous digitalisation initiatives

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Aareal Bank Group's aim is to accompany and advise our property and energy sector clients in their use of new digital opportunities, to provide pioneering solutions, tailor-made to their needs, and to shape the future – together with our clients. "For us, constant technological change presents an opportunity to create additional value for our clients, while at the same time achieving new revenue potential," said Hermann J. Merkens, Chairman of the Management Board of Aareal Bank Group. "In order to achieve this goal, we have developed a digital roadmap that sets out the development of new, digital, financial and payment solutions, the expansion of our existing product portfolio and the optimisation of organisational performance."

One of the focal points in the development of new digital solutions is the CRM, SRM and BRM solutions offering within the Aareon Smart World:

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Modern customer relationship management

From an online tenant portal to a smartphone app or call centre operations, Aareon offers innovative services for the housing sector that tenants can use anywhere, flexibly and at any time. Tenant feedback and digital data analysis provide housing sector companies with the opportunity to truly orientate themselves on their clients' needs and continuously improve how they manage relationships with clients.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

Better relationships with service provider partners

The economic success of a property company depends directly on working seamlessly with tradesmen, utility companies and other service providers. With the help of Aareon Smart World's digital solutions, housing companies can do things like instruct tradesmen efficiently and provide them with all the information they need on site through their mobile devices. Online portals and digital billing services also make it possible to coordinate instruction or accounting issues with service partners – paperlessly, efficiently and transparently.

Building Relationship Management (BRM)

Professional building management

Managing properties means a tremendous amount of data and information, and this will only increase over the next several years as the development of smart homes continues. When analysed intelligently, this data holds a lot of added value. Aareon Smart Worlds BRM solutions allow all the information to be collected and analysed in a goal-oriented and systematic way.

The Structured Property Financing business segment is also seeing an increase in digitalisation initiatives. One example is the market:data project. The project's aim is to create a central, structured and consistent database for property market analyses. The challenge is that there tend to be large swathes of unstructured data about markets and properties that are not linked, saved in different places, and which are inconsistent with one another. With market:data, Aareal Bank Group has succeeded in developing a high-performance tool that all affected employees can access that offers them stable, valid and consistent data so they can perform their various duties. The key feature is that because all property data has a geographical reference point, the database has a geo front-end configuration. The geo front-end gives the user an overview of the property's area and a comparison with neighbouring properties at the same time, as part of the analysis.

market:data – central data base for property market analysis

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To offer their clients optimum solutions, Aareal Bank Group is seeking out strategic partnerships with startups. "Startup companies often deliver unconventional ideas because they have a different perspective and take a different approach when developing new ideas," said Henning Zander, coordinator of the startup programme at Aareal Bank Group. "Our experience in working with fintech and proptech companies has been very positive. For example, our partnerships with KIWI.KI, IntentTechnologies and Immomio proved to be very fruitful for both sides. We are in close discussions with roughly half a dozen other startup companies, and have launched some pilot projects."

As part of the programme, Aareal Bank Group implemented a structured process to select startup companies. Startups are analysed on an ongoing basis and assessed through the lens of the Group's strategy. The positive experiences gained in working with startups led Aareal Bank Group, through Aareon, to support “blackprint PropTech Booster”, the first German proptech accelerator, and enter into a gold partnership with Frankfurt's TechQuartier. "The startup programme is a key component of our 'Aareal 2020' programme for the future. Our successes to date show that we are headed in the right direction with our startup programme," said Zander.

Objectives of Aareal Bank Group's start-up programme

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Start-up-Team Aareal Bank Group

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