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Aareon closes fiscal 2017 on a successful footing

Founded on a strategy of international growth, Aareon has succeeded in reinforcing its position as a leading IT service provider for digitalisation in the property industry and adjacent markets.

Aareon closes fiscal 2017 on a successful footing

Mainz, 18 April 2018 – Aareon AG, Europe’s leading provider of systems and consulting services for the property industry, increased its revenues in fiscal 2017 by 5% to € 221.3 million (previous year: € 210.7 million). As in the previous year, international business accounted for 36.3% of consolidated revenues. At € 33.9 million, EBIT was near on the previous year’s level (2016: € 34.2 million). Capital expenditure on research and development amounted to € 9.3 million (2016: 9,6 Mio. €) and focused on the refinement and evolution of ERP systems and the development of new digital solutions. The number of employees in the Aareon Group reached 1,559 at year-end (previous year: 1,400).

Aareon Smart World expanded – robust demand for digital solutions

Aareon continued to drive the process of digitalisation in the property industry and succeeded in further expanding its digital ecosystem Aareon Smart World. Aareon Smart World is a network for connecting property companies and their employees, customers and business partners, and also technical devices and appliances in their buildings. Processes are optimised, transparency increased, and the service provided to tenants and owners enhanced.

Interest in digital solutions remains high. Business volume in this segment developed as planned, with demand stimulated in part by ERP solution migration business. With regard to digital solutions, the Mareon service portal (organising appointments with tradesmen), Aareon Archiv kompakt, Aareon CRM (portal for tenants and owners), Aareon Immoblue Pro (management of prospective tenants) and Mobile Services (apartment management, safety, contracts) were in particularly high demand. Already widely deployed in France, the tenant app was piloted in a productive environment with a customer in Germany in 2017. This CRM (customer relationship management) app helps housing companies to put the customer dialogue process on a modern footing. The app enables tenants and owners alike to view documents (rental contracts, for example) or submit a damage report at any time from any location. Some 200 customers in Germany have now opted to use mobile solutions from Aareon. Using the mobile apartment management system, for example, field workers can initiate a repair job directly from their mobile devices during handover of a rental unit. And since the mobile solution is fully integrated into the ERP system, all company employees can access the latest data quickly.

Aareon has also been exploiting the potential for interfacing with neighbouring sectors. In a bid to link up housing companies, energy suppliers and heat metering services, the new Aareon vacancy management solution for digitalising the processes involved in a change of residence was developed and piloted on schedule.

According to Dr Manfred Alflen, CEO of Aareon AG: “Aareon has been applying the design thinking approach since 2016 in projects to develop new, digital and, above all, benefit-oriented solutions. This user-centric method of solving problems has met with a positive response from housing companies. Our design thinking experts have already organised numerous successful workshops with customers.” Design thinking focuses on a change of perspective that puts the customer’s/user’s requirements at the heart of all considerations.

2017 also saw Aareon conduct an international survey of 1,900 tenants and owners in order to gauge demand for additional services in the various national markets. The results showed that there is considerable interest in additional services that can be implemented via apps; this opens up new business opportunities.

Growth in the ERP segment

ERP business posted positive growth across the entire Group. ERP systems form the linchpin of Aareon Smart World, where they are linked to digital solutions and are constantly being evolved. Since its introduction, some 950 customers have opted for the Wodis Sigma ERP solution, the market leader in Germany – including, as intended, many former GES customers. As anticipated, customers prefer to use Wodis Sigma as a service from the exclusive Aareon Cloud. We are still implementing a large number of migration projects, all of which are going according to plan. 2017 saw a total of 109 customers go live. Business with SAP® solutions and Blue Eagle developed as planned, remaining on a stable footing.

New partnerships with PropTechs

Dr Alflen: “We have entered into several new cooperation agreements with international PropTech companies with an eye to generating even more added value for our customers.” These include the collaboration with Immomio on development of a web-based solution for managing prospective customers and subsequent purchase of a 12.94% stake in that company, plus a Group-wide cooperation initiative with the French PropTech Intent Technologies. 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 France, the groundwork for the cooperation agreement with YesPark was concluded and the contract signed in January 2018. This PropTech company 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 Germany in 2016, we realised the technical integration of its solution in the Mareon service portal. As a strategic partner of blackprint PropTech Booster, Aareon maintains a dialogue with the PropTech scene, an environment in which both start-ups and established enterprises can profit from one another.

Further acquisitions

2017 saw Aareon complete several acquisitions with the aim of bolstering its international presence in the commercial property market. On 1 April 2017, Aareon Nederland B.V. acquired 100% of the shares in Kalshoven Automation B.V. (formerly Kalshoven Groep B.V.), Amsterdam. In 2017, Aareon consolidated its footprint in this market segment in Germany and also gained access to the Austrian market with the acquisition on 1 October 2017 of all of the shares in the sales companies 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.

Outlook for 2018

The transition period for implementation of the EU 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 and is used by around 1,000 customers throughout the Group, meets the EU-GDPR requirements. The certificate issued by TÜV Rheinland i-sec GmbH, a technical inspection agency, on 1 August 2016 verifies that, particularly 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, customers were notified and made fully aware of the implications of the EU-GDPR.

Dr Alflen: “We intend to press ahead with our international growth strategy. Key areas of growth include digital solutions, ERP systems and the tapping of new markets connected to the property industry. In Germany, we will begin marketing the new Aareon vacancy management solution, which links up housing companies, energy suppliers and heat metering services. Beyond that, we will continue to ramp up our activities in the commercial property industry. Another goal will be the ongoing expansion of Aareon Smart World, which will include the integration of our PropTech partners’ solutions.”

Aareon Annual Report for 2017 published

The Aareon Annual Report 2017 entitled “Next level evolution” examines our efforts to link up relevant stakeholders and industries and launch cooperation initiatives aimed at generating added value. Case stories demonstrate how Aareon is driving digitalisation in the property industry.

Aareon headquarters in Mainz

Aareon headquarters in Mainz

Mobile handover process

Mobile handover process

Aareon DesignLab

Aareon DesignLab: With an agile design thinking approach to user-oriented problem solving

Dr Manfred Alflen

Dr Manfred Alflen

Chief Executive Officer (Picture Credits: Stefan Freund, Frankfurt)

Aareon Smart World, the digital ecosystem for the property industry

Aareon Smart World

The digital ecosystem for the property industry


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