Yardi, Vice President of Commercial Sales Todd Huebsch sat down with Connected Real Estate Magazine at last week’s Realcomm/IBcon conference in Las Vegas to discuss the company’s capabilities, how it can help commercial real estate companies, it’s future plans and more.
Yardi is a software application and technology developer for all avenues of the real estate industry, including multi-family, self-storage and commercial. Most recently the company started working with co-working solutions.
Anant Yardi founded the company 40 years ago and at the time, the software development was geared towards core accounting and property management. It’s grown since then and now the technology works based off of input from customers, industry trends and anything else that is going on in the real estate world.
“The product just continued to grow and morph over a 40-year period,” Huebsch said.
Yardi’s main goal is to make life easier for its real estate industry customers, whether it’s handling information technology (IT) work, marketing properties or property management. It provides investment management solutions for private equity and investment managers, real estate investment trusts (REITs), and building owners and operators looking to consolidate with joint venture partners.
“It’s a complex issue that people have to deal with if it is manual and it’s in spreadsheets,” Huebsch said. “That’s one of our focus areas, investment management and investment accounting.”
For example if multiple real estate companies each own a portion of a building, Yardi helps them from an accounting and tax standpoint keep track of who owns what. This is a key service as ownership stakes can change between companies multiple times during the course of a year, according to Huebsch.
Additionally, major fund managers like JP Morgan use Yardi to help them figure out what exactly their ownership stakes are along with their partners. Other services Yardi provides include property management, construction management, budgeting, forecasting, procurement—anything real estate companies need to do Yardi helps them automate it.
While there are other new real estate consolidating software companies out there, Yardi remains head of the class because it offers an integrated platform. It also offers application program interfaces (API) to integrate with point solution providers if a customer prefers.
“We really provide the best of both worlds, APIs to go integrate,” Huebsch said. “If you want to use a third party tool because you prefer that, you can, but we also have the option of you using Yardi, and it’s all a single, integrated data. No matter how you deal with integration and API’s, you can take data from one place to the other, but having everything in one database, it (makes for) better integrity and it’s easier to report because everything is in one place.”
Yardi’s other strength is its approach to customer service. Rather than tell customers what they need, the company takes time to listen to what they are looking for, offer suggestions and create a solution that’s tailored to the customers’ needs.
“Our approach is to listen first,” Huebsch said. “What are you trying to solve? What are you trying to accomplish? Then we talk about what our experience is and the best way to solve that.”
For real estate companies that don’t want to manage servers or have them in their building, Yardi uses co-location centers and has its systems in its cloud environments. Yardi comprises a large cloud team that handles security and managing infrastructure, disaster recovery and backup, so real estate companies don’t have to.
“Most real estate companies don’t want to deal with that,” Huebsch said. “We just do that as part of our service. For most of our mid-sized customers, we are their IT department. We are managing and dealing with that for them.”
Looking ahead, two other areas Yardi is looking at are co-working spaces and energy. In the co-working space arena, Yardi is working with operators to help them lease out their space to tenants directly whether than working with a co-working company like WeWork. Yardi will teach businesses how to be a co-working space and provide them with the software needed to do so.
“When companies decide, ‘You know what? We want to take 10 percent of our space and put it in the co-working model. We want to take three floors of this building and use co-working because we’ll make more money that way,’ we’ve got the applications and software to automate it and make it all possible,” Huebsch said.
Energy management is another one of Yardi’s big focuses. According to Huebsch, the company has solutions that can reduce building owners’ energy costs by up to 10 or 20 percent per square foot. Yardi uses sensors on temperature settings, HVAC equipment, fans, etc. that can automate energy use and reduce energy consumption.
Finally, the company is working with a suite of products it calls Elevate. These mobile tools are built for people in the field and contain role-based apps for property managers, field technicians and leasing agents to help them complete jobs faster and more efficiently. For example, if a tenant sees a broken window, they can take a picture of it, with their phone and enter a work request. A technician at a property management company will receive the request and go work on the window or order a new one.
Between these new services and Yardi’s technological capabilities, there’s little it can’t do to make life easier for commercial real estate companies.
“Our value is reduced IT complexity, improved visibility to your business through a single platform, integrated platform that addresses all the areas a real estate company needs and helps automated those processes,” Huebsch said. “We have 6,000 employees, 5,000 customers and close to 1,000 people on our development team, so our ability to keep pace with trends in the industry with new technology requirements is unparalleled. That’s going to continue for the next 40 years.”