In 2017, we strengthened our market position in line with our strategy of international growth. Our overarching aim is to position Aareon as a trailblazing partner for digitalisation in the property sector and related industries. Key areas of growth include digital solutions, ERP systems and the tapping of new markets connected to the property industry.
Ongoing expansion of Aareon Smart World
We continued driving the digitalisation of the property industry last year, adding new solutions to the Aareon Smart World digital ecosystem, including the CRM app launched in Germany. All told, some 200 customers in Germany have already opted for mobile solutions from Aareon. Another point of focus last year was on harnessing the potential to move into related industries. That includes the new Aareon change management solution, which links up housing companies, energy suppliers and heat metering services. Aareon Smart World allows our customers and partners to benefit from an integrated portfolio of solutions, in which new digital solutions – including those of our prop-tech partners – have been seamlessly integrated alongside our ERP systems. In this way, we have created a network via which property companies can connect not only with their employees, customers and business partners, but also with the technical devices and appliances in their buildings.
When developing our solutions, we take a customer-centric approach. In this context, we conducted an international tenants survey in 2017 in order to gain an even better understanding of the wishes and requirements of the people in our various national markets. The design thinking approach we introduced in 2016 for the development of new solutions continues to meet with positive feedback from our customers, and our design thinking experts organised numerous customer workshops in the year under review.
Adding value through prop-tech
In order to add even more value for our customers, we have forged new partnerships with prop-tech companies. These include the partnership with Immomio – which offers a web-based tenant acquisition management solution and in which we have also acquired a 12.94 % stake – and the Group-wide alliance with Intent Technologies, a French company. The ability to integrate the Intent platform will support further networking of Aareon Smart World solutions with software from service providers of Aareon customers. In January 2018, Aareon France launched a partnership with YesPark, a prop-tech company that offers a national network of underground car parks owned by housing companies. Aareon France is integrating its customers’ ERP solution in the YesPark platform. As part of our partnership with KIWI.KI that started in 2016, we realised the technical integration of its solution in the Mareon service portal. As a strategic partner of blackprint PropTech Booster, we are in a constant dialogue with the prop-tech scene, an ideal environment in which both start-ups and established enterprises can profit from one another.
ERP solutions – the core of
Aareon Smart World
ERP systems form the linchpin of Aareon Smart World, where they are linked to digital solutions and are constantly being evolved. In 2017, the main focus was on Wodis Sigma and SAP® solutions and Blue Eagle in Germany and on Tobias AX in the Netherlands. In addition, the Scandinavian ERP solution Incit Xpand was equipped with additional functionalities for use in the commercial real estate sector, while the British ERP solution QL was migrated to QL.net. Our colleagues in France are working hard on development of a new version of their PortalImmo Habitat ERP solution. Demand for ERP solutions was strong, particularly in Germany, France and the Netherlands. Since the launch of the Wodis Sigma ERP solution, a total of some 950 customers in Germany have opted for this product. Business with SAP® solutions and Blue Eagle remains stable.
Acquisitions strengthen presence in the commercial real estate market
Over and above this, we strengthened our presence in the international commercial real estate market with key acquisitions. On 1 April 2017, Aareon Nederland B.V. acquired 100 % of the shares in Kalshoven Groep B.V., Amsterdam. In 2017, Aareon used acquisitions to consolidate its footprint in this market segment in Germany and also gain access to the Austrian market: On 1 October 2017, Aareon acquired all of the shares in the sales companies of mse Augsburg GmbH (Augsburg) and mse Immobiliensoftware GmbH (Hamburg) as well as the development company mse RELion GmbH (Augsburg). mse’s certified ERP software RELion, an industry solution based on Microsoft Dynamics® NAV, is used by more than 130 clients to manage over 900,000 units.
Revenues up; earnings maintained at high level of previous year
The Aareon Group’s revenues rose 5.0 % to € 221.3 million (previous year: € 210.7 million). As in the prior year, the International Business segment accounted for 36.3 % of consolidated revenues. At € 33.9 million, EBIT was on a par with the high level of 2016 (€ 34.2 million) and in line with our expectations. Capital expenditure on research and development amounted to € 9.3 million and focused on the refinement and evolution of ERP systems and the development of new digital solutions.
Digital working environment –
work4future project launched
We take a holistic approach to the digital transformation. Many years ago, we began gearing our working environment and corporate culture to the transformation, building on our life-phase-oriented personnel policy. Although digitalisation is to a large degree technology-driven, ultimately it will only be a success if people participate in it. This was the premise on which we launched our work4future project in 2017. We will deploy new digital tools to continue promoting Group-wide networking and collaboration. Even though our working models are already flexible, we want to continue enhancing them with the digital and mobile options available.
The transition period for implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR) ends on 25 May 2018. Aareon ensured early on that its German data centre, which has received multiple certifications, meets the EU-GDPR requirements. A certificate issued by TÜV Rheinland i-sec GmbH, a technical inspection agency, verifies that, especially in the area of order processing, Aareon has effectively put in place technical and organisational measures aimed at protecting personal data and data that could be related to individuals. In addition, we have actively informed our customers, making them fully aware of the consequences of the EU-GDPR.
In Germany, we will begin marketing the new Aareon change management solution, which links up housing companies, energy suppliers and heat metering services. Beyond that, we will continue ramping up our activities in the commercial real estate industry. Another goal will be the ongoing expansion of Aareon Smart World, which will include the integration of our prop-tech partners’ solutions.
In December 2017, Aareon celebrated its 60th anniversary. The Company’s roots stretch back to 1957, when the data centre of Deutsche Bau- und Bodenbank AG commenced operations. Since then, the Company’s hallmarks have been to pursue innovation, make the most of the opportunities technology has to offer and develop ground-breaking solutions for the industry in order to add value. Today, we find ourselves in the midst of an exciting digital transformation process, one that offers us new opportunities, but must also be proactively and professionally managed. Together with our customers, partners and employees, we have already achieved a great deal – and we wish to express our gratitude for that. In 2018, we intend to write the next chapter in our success story, and look forward to making the most of the new opportunities that the digital transformation holds.
Dr. Manfred Alflen
Dr. André Rasquin
Christian M. Schmahl
Dr. Manfred Alflen
Chairman of the Management Board
International Business Development; Human Resources & Organisation; Legal, Risk Management & Compliance; Data Protection & Data Security; Internal Audit; Corporate Marketing & Communications; International Business; Chair of the Supervisory Boards of Aareon Deutschland GmbH and BauSecura GmbH
Chief Operating Officer
Aareon ERP systems (Wodis Sigma, SAP® Solutions and Blue Eagle, GES) and Aareon Smart World Digital Solutions; Data, Hosting and IT Services; Consulting Organisation incl. phi-Consulting GmbH
Dr. André Rasquin
Chief Sales Officer
Central Sales; Regional Sales; Solution Sales & Sales Management; Advisory Board work; Strategic Product Marketing for the BauSecura product; mse companies (RELion product)
Christian M. Schmahl
Chief Financial Officer
International Finance; Controlling; Accounting; Contract & Receivables Management; Central Purchasing; Facility Management